Google Universal Analytics has been the standard analytics solution for tracking website performance and user behavior for over a decade. However, with the changing digital landscape and increasing privacy concerns, Google has announced that Universal Analytics will be retired on July 1st 2023, and GA4 will become the new default analytics solution. This article will discuss why this change is happening, what it means for website owners, and how they can smoothly transition to GA4.
Why is the change happening?
The main reason behind this change is the shift towards user privacy and data protection. With the increasing use of ad-blockers, cookie restrictions, and privacy regulations, Universal Analytics’ reliance on cookies for tracking user behavior has become obsolete. GA4, on the other hand, uses a more advanced tracking mechanism called “Event-Based Tracking,” which doesn’t rely on cookies and provides more accurate data while respecting user privacy.
What’s new in GA4?
GA4 has several new features and improvements that make it a more powerful analytics solution than Universal Analytics. Here are some of the key highlights:
- Cross-device tracking: GA4 allows you to track user behavior across different devices, which was not possible in Universal Analytics.
- Customizable reporting: GA4’s reporting dashboard is more flexible and customizable, allowing you to create reports that match your business needs.
- Predictive insights: GA4 has built-in machine learning capabilities that provide predictive insights and recommendations for improving website performance.
- Streamlined integration: GA4 is designed to work seamlessly with other Google tools, such as Google Ads, Google Tag Manager, and Firebase.
How to make a smooth transition to GA4?
If you’re currently using Universal Analytics, it’s recommended to start planning your migration to GA4 as soon as possible. Here are some tips to help you make a smooth transition:
- Set up a new GA4 property: Create a new GA4 property alongside your existing Universal Analytics property to start collecting data and get familiar with the new features.
- Update your website tracking code: Replace the existing Universal Analytics tracking code with the new GA4 tracking code on all your website pages.
- Configure data streams: GA4 uses data streams to collect data from different sources, such as your website, mobile apps, and other connected devices. Configure your data streams to ensure all your data is being tracked correctly.
- Migrate your historical data: Using the Data Import feature, you can migrate your historical data from Universal Analytics to GA4.
The retirement of Google Universal Analytics and the introduction of GA4 is a significant change in the world of web analytics. However, it’s a change that’s necessary to adapt to the changing digital landscape and provide a more user-friendly and privacy-focused analytics solution. By smoothly transitioning to GA4, website owners can continue tracking their website performance and user behavior while respecting user privacy and complying with privacy regulations.
If your business is currently using Google Universal Analytics, you need to start working on setting up GA4 because on July 1st, Universal Analytics will no longer track any website visitors. If your business needs help with setting up GA4, the team at Viera Digital would be happy to help. Contact us today.