Google has announced that Google Universal Analytics (UA) will be phased out next year in favor of Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
Starting from July 1, 2023, standard UA properties will stop processing new hits, while Universal Analytics 360 properties will cease tracking hits on October 1 of next year. After those deadlines, previously processed data in Universal Analytics will be kept for at least six months.
What is GA4?
Google introduced GA4 in Q3 2019 in response to rapidly changing measurement needs of businesses in a user privacy- first era marked with multi device & touch-point complex user journey.
Since then, the company has made regular updates regarding its new generation analytics platform:
Simply put, GA4 is a cross-platform analytics solution able to measure different type of data while offering a user-friendly experience (but the interface is different than the standard GA) It offers to businesses a holistic view of the user journey across their app and websites, powered by Google’s machine learning technology offering sophisticated predictive insights.
One of the more distinctive characteristics of GA4 compared to standard UA property is the fact that it doesn’t rely exclusively on cookies and functions on an event-based data model to deliver a new generation user-centric measurement. Another important change, GA4 will no longer store IP addresses to comply with the growing user privacy expectations and regulations.
Country-level privacy controls
With new privacy controls GA4 allows to monitor and customise at country-level the collection of user-level data such as metadata and cookies.
Enterprise measurement needs
New sub and roll-up properties in Analytics 360 addresses data governance needs at property level. This ensures that different parties access the data they need in accordance with your policies. The platform offers higher limits to meet increasing demand - up to 125 custom dimensions, 400 audiences and 50 conversion types per property.
ML - predictive insights
Google’s machine learning algorithms offer high level predictive insights such as user behavior, conversion intent (likeliness to purchase or churn) allowing to build new type of audiences. It is meant to automatically highlight helpful information for marketers.
Data driven attribution allocates the credit to all relevant clicks in the user journey instead of privileging the legacy last click. It helps businesses to have a more accurate picture of the outcome of different marketing activities.
Integrations with products, like Google Ads or GMP give the opportunity to use Analytics data such as conversions or audiences to optimise marketing campaigns.
Google is using this announcement to alert businesses that they need to start moving to GA4 as soon as possible to ensure historical data is available when it is needed in future. We recommend moving to GA4 by the end of June this year at the latest to ensure you continue to benefit from a full 12-month data set.
If you would like some advice on how to get started with GA4, including custom tracking and reporting, please fill in our contact form to arrange a consultation.