Universal Analytics was yesterday, the future is Google Analytics 4

Universal Analytics was yesterday, the future is Google Analytics 4

9 May 2022

Still running on Universal Analytics? If the answer to this question is yes, we highly recommend reading this article!

Google just announced the end of its product Universal Analytics. From July 1st, 2023 Universal Analytics will not collect data anymore. “Universal Analytics 360” customers have three more months to switch. Their data is collected until October 1st, 2023.

Google: “Universal Analytics will be going away”

What is the difference between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics?

Universal Analytics is a Google product which was launched more than 15 years ago. The environment has changed and, therefore, the product needs to change as well.

  • Universal Analytics was originally developed for web traffic, whereas Google Analytics 4 collects web and app data.
  • While Universal Analytics’ data model follows a session logic, GA4 is completely based on events. Even page views are events.
  • In addition, there is Enhanced Measurement, which automatically includes scroll tracking, video tracking, outbound links, and file downloads.
  • Looking for raw data exports? Don’t miss this powerful feature: BigQuery export even in the free GA4 version!

What does this mean for companies still using Universal Analytics?

If you are still using Universal Analytics, we recommend setting up Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible, especially if you are working with year-over-year comparison. This way, Google Analytics 4 can start collecting data as soon as possible while products can still run at the same time until Universal Analytics’ sunset.

How do I migrate to Google Analytics 4?

We usually align with our customers on a hard or soft migration. Soft migration means mapping the old setup to the new setup without bigger development efforts on dataLayer configuration. Hard migration means setting up a totally new dataLayer that meets the requirements of Google Analytics 4, or at least adding the required parameters to the existing configuration.

Migration projects are typically divided into:

  1. Definition of requirements (based on current Universal Analytics setup and new requirements)
  2. Creation of the tracking concept
  3. Implementation

Depending on the scope, the process of migration can take a few weeks and up to a couple of months.

What else do I need to consider when migrating to Google Analytics 4?

Depending on your setup, the following tasks are associated with your Google Analytics 4 switch:

  • User trainings
  • Dashboards
  • Big query exports
  • Connection to other systems (e.g., Google Ads, Salesforce)

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

Universal Analytics was yesterday, the future is Google Analytics 4
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