Universal Analytics Sunsetting, or phasing out Universal Analytics and moving to GA4
According to the latest information published on Google’s blog, starting in July 2023. Universal Analytics service will stop working and collecting new data on hits. What does this mean for us and what steps should we take to prepare for these changes?
The phasing out of Universal Analytics (UA) means first of all its replacement by a new service to be launched in 2020. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) service. This means that from July 2023. In UA, we will only have access to and be able to analyze data historically. The exception will be UA – Google Analytics 360 premium services, which will run for an additional 3 months (GA UA 360 will be phased out in October 2023.). So as you can see, Google is ushering in a new era of web analytics based primarily on the GA4 service.
Why Google decided to phase out UA and replace it with GA4?
The answer is dot changes. the issue of privacy and behavior of consumers themselves and creating a new system from scratch adapted to these changes.
Nowadays, consumers make purchasing decisions using multiple devices (cross-device process) and sources of information (multichannel phenomenon), making increasingly informed purchasing decisions. What’s more, users themselves are increasingly focused on the protection of their privacy in the virtual world, which has led many companies, including Google, to withdraw the so-called. 3rd party cookies. UA’s existing service and capabilities are not adapted to these changes, m.in. By limiting the measurement and cross-measurement of data from the application and web environments. Until now, in order to measure traffic from our company’s or our client’s website and applications, we used two Google tools: UA service and Firebase service, with different methodologies of data collection. This creates a data discrepancy because in UA we measure data based on sessions and hits, while in Firebase we measure data based on events (happenings). For these reasons Google decided to create a new system, adjusted to the ongoing changes – GA4, which uses events as a basis for measuring user behavior in both mobile and web environments.
What we gain with GA4?
GA4 combines and – more importantly – standardizes data from both websites and mobile apps while respecting background privacy assumptions.
The key benefits of GA4 include:
Focus on the user – Google Analytics 4 uses unique user IDs (provided by marketers) and Google Signals to unify and deduplicate data, thus providing conditions for more accurate measurement of cross-channel and cross-device activities.
A single tool for WEB measurement & APP – as already mentioned, in GA4 we measure both the web and app environment based on events and parameters, thanks to which we can measure data from different sources and systems comprehensively, in one tool.
Integration with the tools, m.in. DV360 and BigQuery– GA4 gives us even greater and more accurate possibilities of integration with other Google tools, including m.in. from Google Ads or Youtube. Moreover, GA4 in both its basic and premium versions (GA4 360) combines with the Display tool & Video 360 and Google’s cloud solutions (BigQuery) – until now, in the case of UA, such integrations were possible only in the case of the premium version of the tool (GA360). This will allow us to m.in. use audience lists or goals from GA4 in our DV360 programmatic campaigns, even if we only use the basic version of GA4.
Advanced machine learning and forecasting – new Analytics is also more intelligent insights and predictions based on even more advanced machine learning models than UA, thanks to which m.in. it is possible to create a list of recipients with potential behavior such as. shopping on our website.
How to prepare for the transition from Universal Analytics to GA4?
In order to prepare ourselves as much as possible for the upcoming changes, we should already properly plan the whole process of moving from UA to GA4, according to our business goals and the current degree of GA4 configuration in our organization.
Key elements toward a full transition to GA4 will be:
1. Start configuring GA4 service and uploading data to it as soon as possible – GA4 is a completely new GA service to which it is not possible to migrate historical data. Therefore, the sooner we configure and start collecting data in the service, the better. Google continues to evolve GA4 and also this year there are plans to roll out more features in the tool related to m.in. In the course of configuration of GA4, our main source of data and place for analyses should still be UA service.
2. Audit your current UA account setup and plan to further configure and measure data in GA4 – Let’s analyze the current setup and the data collected in the UA service and think about what data we are missing and what data we are not using. Let’s get acquainted with possibilities of collecting additional data in GA4 and on its basis let’s plan further configuration.
3. Full implementation of GA4, preparation of reports and analysis of collected data – after making sure that we have planned to collect all the data we need. Let’s proceed to the further configuration of the GA4 service. After its full implementation, prepare reports for further analysis and check for possible errors or gaps in collected data.
To facilitate the entire process it is also worth taking advantage of the consulting support offered by Salestube. Our specialists will be able to advise not only on the implementation of GA4, but also on the broader area of e-commerce, technology, data analytics and data activation.
What about contracts for Google Analytics 360?
Key information for current and future GA360 users:
– GA4 service, like the UA service, will also be available in a premium version (GA4 360).
– GA4 360 will provide m.in. Higher limits for collecting, reporting, storing and exporting data from GA4 to BigQuery.
Withdrawal of UA service also means withdrawal of Optimize 360 service – in GA4 both in free and 360 version users have access to functionality that was previously available in Optimize tool.
– When the UA service is phased out, contracts for the GA4 360 service should replace existing contracts for Analytics 360.