In October 2020, Google launched Google Analytics 4 (an App and Web property) as the new default. However, many online businesses still use Universal Analytics. If you currently use Universal Analytics, here is what you need to know about the upcoming changes to Google:
What is happening?
As of 1st July 2023, Universal Analytics will no longer process data. It will be replaced by a new version called Google Analytics 4. Until 1st July 2023 users can continue to use and collect new data in UA properties. After 1st July 2023, users can still access all previous process data in UA properties for at least 6 months. However, Google has not provided a set date when previous data will no longer be accessible but when this happens, users will no longer be able to see UA reports in the interface or access UA data. That's why it's important to act sooner rather than later.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a new Google property (reports and data) designed for the future of measurement. It enables businesses to measure engagement and traffic across their websites. As of July next year, new data will only flow in GA4, the old Universal Analytics (UA) will be phased out, and all historical data could end in January 2024.
What are the benefits of Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 includes many valuable features and a customer-centric focus on data. Here are just a couple of benefits:
Better transparency of the customer journey
A significant difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics is how it captures user interactions as events. Instead of grouping interactions into a session, GA4 counts each user interaction as its event. You could link how a user may visit a website on the desktop computer, revisit it on mobile and then purchase via your app.
Enhanced privacy controls
With all the browser changes happening in regards to third-party cookies, GA4 is designed to be more flexible and puts privacy at the forefront. For example, you can exclude certain events from ad personalisation.
Improved visualisations and reporting
You can create charts and reports to simplify cross-dimensional metric reporting from a template gallery. Choose from exploration, funnel analysis and path analysis templates. They help to explain insights and user journeys.
What does the upcoming change mean?
If you've never used analytics before but would like to start, you can set up Google Analytics 4 to collect data from your website, app or even CMS/web builder like WooCommerce, Shopify and Magento. It helps measure how your website and products are performing and understand your buyers' behaviour. GA4 standard is free to use- all you need is a Google account. However, GA4 360 is a paid service with many added tools and benefits.
If you're still using UA, you need to move to GA4 and migrate your data across. Depending on the amount of data your business has in UA, this could be quite a lengthy process and may require additional support. Historic data is very important to help track the effectiveness of campaigns and other digital changes so if you need further support, check out Google's help page.
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