This weekend, on Saturday, July 1, 2023, Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) will sunset, no longer processing data. "Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies. This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete," says Russell Ketchum, Director of Product Management for Google Analytics. Google will be switching to their new property, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which will bring improved benefits to business owners, including, but not limited to:
- Collection of both website and app data
- Use of event-based data instead of session-based data
- Privacy controls
- Predictive capabilities
Marketing expert Christie Osborne (Mountainside Media) discussed this upcoming change in an article for Special Events:
“It’s important to note that GA4 is not an upgraded version of Google Analytics but rather an entirely different platform. Unfortunately, you will not be able to transfer current analytics data to the new GA4 platform. When July rolls around, the current system will stop collecting data, and in December 2023, everything will be erased. If you don’t download and back it up now, you will lose all your historical website data.”
If you haven’t already backed up your UA data, be sure to do so this week. Once GA4 launches this Saturday, Google recommends three options for getting started:
- Set up Analytics data for the first time (if you’ve never used Google Analytics before)
- Add Google Analytics 4 to a site with Universal Analytics (which will add a GA4 property alongside your existing UA property)
- Add Google Analytics 4 to a website builder platform or CMS (content management system) (do this if you use a host website like Wix, Squarespace, etc.)
It will be easier to deal with this sooner rather than later, so prioritize this task this week!
*Note: if you use 360 Universal Analytics, you have until July 1, 2024, to transition.
Click here to read Google’s guide to migrating from UA to GA4.