Another one bites the dust (but that’s just kind of the way it goes with Google). Google is sunsetting Universal Analytics in favor of Google Analytics 4 (GA4). The change is slated to take full effect on July 1, 2023 for Universal Analytics and October 1, 2023 for 360 Universal Analytics properties. On those dates, new hits will stop being processed. Here’s what that means—and how to prepare for it.
Why Is Google Dropping Universal Analytics?
Universal Analytics was originally developed for increasingly outdated measurements (independent sessions, cookie data) and rooted in the desktop web. From Google’s perspective, the rapidly changing technological ecosystem has necessitated a transition. And, as things like user privacy have taken center-stage, some of Universal Analytics’ shortcomings have been laid out to bare.
For Google, Google Analytics 4 is the (foreseeable) future for measuring and analyzing data. Universal Analytics is equipped with privacy controls; however, Google Analytics 4 is outfitted for privacy at its foundation. Per Google, GA4 will improve experience for both businesses and their customers: It allows businesses to match user expectations and better meet their shifting needs.
The capstone privacy feature, so to speak, of Google Analytics 4 is its cessation of IP address storage. That, along with improved controls for data gathering and use, is in large part why it’s favored over its outgoing predecessor. For Google, many users are increasingly concerned about their data privacy—and the built-in safeguards GA4 offers serves to assuage these fears and align with prevailing privacy protection expectations.
Where Do We Go from Here?
Google isn’t necessarily leaving businesses out to dry; they’re just not-so-subtly pushing a move to their now-preferred platform, Google Analytics 4. While this can be inconvenient (for both businesses and SEOs), we’re all kind of at the mercy of Google here.
Per Google, Google Analytics 4 still offers first-rate support for businesses. For instance, GA4 offers a robust look at your customer lifecycle with a comprehensive, event-based measurement model that isn’t segmented off into different sessions or by platform.
GA4 also expands insight into which marketing activities have an effect on conversions. This data-driven attribution will, rather conveniently, be able to be exported to Google Ads and other Google Marketing Platform tools to fine-tune campaigns. GA4 is also poised to improve your data’s value, offering predictive insights concerning behavior and conversions and the building of new audiences.
Finally, GA4 is set to help streamline data access. If your business chooses to partner with an ad agency, consulting firm, or other creative, you’ll be able to more readily hand over key assets and information in line with your company policies. And, let’s face facts, help with good data governance is always a plus.
Get the Most Out of Your Business Analytics
Struggling to keep up with all the new changes Google continues to come out with? We hate to break it to you—but, if history is any indication, it isn’t stopping anytime soon. That’s just Google being Google. Contact Uptick Marketing and have our SEO experts help you figure out everything with your Analytics, and how you can best use them to grow your business.