The bullet is in. As of July 1, 2023, we will only know Google Universal Analytics from the history books. The version of Google Analytics will be succeeded by the Google Analytics 4 (better known as GA4) launched in October 2020. The switch had been on the shelves for some time due to a lack of functionality of the old measurement solution, so now it is finally being replaced.
We have already implemented Google Analytics 4 with as many clients as possible. It is important not to wait until after 1 July 2023, as all historical data can no longer be retrieved. Be ahead of this and convert all your accounts from Universal Analytics to the latest version of Google Analytics.
No more hits as of July 1, 2023
Universal Analytics was Google's measurement solution for many years. The tool accurately noted all visitors, clicks and transactions on your website and made it easy to see. Until 1 July 2023 Universal Analytics will continue to do what it is intended for, but then it really stops. Universal Analytics will no longer receive new hits, which means that no data collection will be made visible. Also, historical data can no longer be exported after 1 July 2023, which means that you will lose a lot of data and will have to start collecting relevant data from scratch again.
Why is Google making this switch?
This switch did not happen overnight. For years Universal Analytics has served as a reliable measurement solution. However, Universal Analytics was increasingly criticized because it simply no longer met the needs and demands of Internet users in the year 2022. Data becomes more important every year and more and more needs to be measured. People are no longer satisfied with just figures on the number of website visitors. A website owner wants to see where visitors come from, how they got to the website, how they eventually arrive at a conversion via the website and much more. Google Analytics 4 was launched with this in mind and there is much more possible there.
What are the differences between Universal Analytics and GA4?
The differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 are already visible at first glance. The interface differs enormously from each other. Furthermore, there are many differences of which we will highlight a few below.
We start with the biggest difference between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4, which is the measurement method. Universal Analytics mainly measures sessions and page views of a website, while Google Analytics 4 measures in events. This means that, for example, sessions and page views, which Universal Analytics thus measures as one, are now measured separately. Events therefore go much deeper into where a visitor comes from and that makes Google Analytics 4 much more exact.
We have already written several blogs about privacy. We are becoming increasingly aware of how important privacy is in 2022. Perhaps because people know more and more about us. Google Analytics 4 has responded to that. One of those changes is that Google Analytics 4 does not store IP addresses. You can also remove data from your website. This was not possible before. Cookies also no longer play a decisive role in Google Analytics 4. It is possible for the measurement tool to store anonymous data without cookies.
Desktop and mobile combined
A big reason for the complaints to Universal Analytics was that the measurement tool was set up too much for desktop websites. With the world becoming increasingly mobile and a mobile first strategy prevailing for many websites, they can no longer afford this one-sided way of measuring. With Google Analytics 4, insight is gained into both web and app data. As a result, you won't miss out on important data.
Switch to Google Analytics 4 now
You're probably reading this blog if you haven't switched yet. In that case we have only one piece of advice: don't wait too long. Universal Analytics only measures up to 1 July 2023, however, the data is still half a year longer to view. After that you will no longer have access to Universal Analytics and the data will be removed permanently. So don't forget to report and save the report with data. By switching to Google Analytics 4 today, you are already building data in this new way, which will allow you to compare it by year later.
Need help? We'll help you convert to GA4
Would you like to transfer your collected data to Google Analytics 4, but do not have the knowledge to do so? Please contact us. We will make sure that all data is transferred to Google Analytics 4 without any problems.