Major Changes are Coming to Google Analytics. Are You Ready?

Here’s what you need to know.

Google has announced that on July 1, 2023 it plans to retire its traditional Universal Analytics and replace it with an upgraded version: Google Analytics 4 (GA4). If you are actively monitoring website traffic and tracking visitor behavior using Google’s standard Universal Analytics, you will want to start the transition to GA4 as soon as possible. If not, you’ll risk losing all insights into website traffic after Google flips the switch next July.

Why is Universal Analytics being retired?

Universal Analytics launched nearly a decade ago, making it long past due for an upgrade. The consumer journey has changed significantly since 2012. The days of reliable cookie data are gone, and less than half of consumers are browsing the internet from a desktop computer. GA4 was designed to allow deeper insights into modern consumer behaviors in a “cookie-less world”.

What’s so different about GA4?

GA4 represents a big change for marketers and business owners alike. The new platform looks and feels different because it is fundamentally different. The way we have historically collected, analyzed, and reported on data is changing, and we are entering a new era of advanced data-collection designed with the future of marketing in mind.

A few examples of the differences between Universal Analytics and the new GA4 include:

  • Rather than session focused data collection as with Universal Analytics, GA4 gathers information based on user and event tracking, without relying on cookies.
  • Using machine learning, GA4 offers predictive insights about user behavior and automatically creates new audiences based on data. This enhanced awareness empowers marketers and business owners with a deeper understanding of why, how, and when users are converting.
  • Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 automatically tracks user interactions on websites as events, without needing separate event triggers set-up.

Universal Analytics

Screenshot of Universal Analytics
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Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Screenshot of Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
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What comes next?

It’s important to start learning about the steps you need to take now. With standard Universal Analytics data collection coming to a halt in July of 2023, current users will want to make the transition to GA4 by June of 2022 to prevent a gap in year-over-year data comparisons. This step-by-step guide from Google lays out the transition process to help get you and your team started.

You will need to determine the best way to set up GA4 to meet your current tracking needs. However, GA4 can be set up to run parallel with Universal Analytics. So, it’s worth taking the time now to work through any hiccups to ensure smooth sailing in 2023.

Ready to dive a little deeper?

Check out some of these great resources that can help make your transition to Google Analytics 4 a little more seamless: