Moving to Google Analytics 4 as Universal Analytics ends
- Published on April 26, 2022
Google has announced the end of data collection for the version of Google Analytics that has been in operation for the past decade, known as Universal Analytics (UA). On July 1, 2023 Google Analytics will stop collecting data if you are using Universal Analytics. This means that anyone who has set up Google Analytics data collection and reporting more than one year ago will need to switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
Google Analytics 4 data is both collected differently and reported differently. You will need to update the way that data is collected, and in most cases will need to update the tracking code used in Google Analytics. You will also need to become familiar with a new set of reporting data and a new reporting interface, as different data is collected and the reports are not compatible with the currently collected Universal Analytics data.
You can start collecting Google Analytics 4 data today, while continuing to collect Universal Analytics Data. Do this by adding GA4 tracking to your site today, while continuing to collect Universal Analytics data. This will provide you with historical data in Google Analytics 4 when the forced changeover occurs in mid-2023.
If you are tracking using Google Analytics, it makes little sense to continue to add any new tracking or tags using Universal Analytics. Any current investment in the Universal Analytics data collection and reporting structure will have a very short lifespan, and a limited return on investment (ROI), as it will not be reusable in GA4 reporting. Any investments made in analytics should be in the GA4 platform and reporting. Any work for the current Universal Analytics reporting should be limited to essential items.
If you are using a Google Analytics plug-in or module for your website, such as those offered on WordPress or Drupal, check with the developer to make certain they plan to offer a Google Analytics 4 upgrade and install this when available. This also includes any e-commerce systems that report Google Analytics data. You’ll want to confirm their upgrade plans to make sure data gets reported.
If you are using Google Tag manager, adding the Google Analytics 4 tag is straightforward, and can coexist with the Universal Analytics tag. Any on-page actions that are tagged using Universal Analytics will need to be re-tagged for GA4 event tracking.
Here are some resources to help with Google Analyitcs 4 migration:
About the author
Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute. He is the co-author of Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies and more than 10 other books on design and digital publishing. He also served as publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which has sold more than one million books. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers designers, and large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he also delivers Google Analytics classes along with workshops on digital marketing topics. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.