Google universal Analytics is going away ! what you need to know
RIP Google Universal Analytics. Here is what you need to know!
So, here's the tea. Google has announced that one of its most common instances of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) will be deprecated on July 1, 2023.
Google Analytics, since 2005 has been the norm for tracking website and marketing performances. And now, it's time to upgrade to the next generation update in place – Google Analytics 4.
Let's break down the steps you need to take to get with the times.
An Introduction to Google Analytics
Google Analytics (GA), a web analytics service offered by the powerhouse (Google), is a free software that provides insights into how users discover your website and their website activities, giving you the power to make informed decisions about the health of your business. GA processes all of this user data and converts them into reports that can be analysed. Following are the building blocks on which Google Analytics operates:
Acquisition – Where are your online users coming from? Is it organic, a referral, direct or through social media?
Behaviour – What are they doing when they are on your website?
Conversions – When the visitor converts into a lead or performs the desired action in your marketing funnel.
The above data is then obtained through reports that Google Analytics generates.
What drove this move?
This is a big move for Google and even a more enormous change for all marketers dependent on the data that Google Universal Analytics provides. Naturally, everyone is curious to know what inspired this decision.
So, Google has cited multiplatform journeys and user privacy as the main concerns for pulling the plug on Universal Analytics. Russel Ketchum, director, product management at Google, mentioned in a blog post after the announcement, "Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies. This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete. Meanwhile, Google Analytics 4 operates across platforms, does not rely exclusively on cookies and uses an event-based data model to deliver user-centric measurement.
And though Universal Analytics offers a variety of privacy controls, Google Analytics 4 is designed with privacy at its core to provide a better experience for our customers and their users. It helps businesses meet evolving needs and user expectations with more comprehensive and granular controls for data collection and usage. Notably, Google Analytics 4 will also no longer store IP addresses. These solutions and controls are essential in today's international data privacy landscape, where users are increasingly expecting more privacy protections and control over their data."
Since privacy has always been a big concern in the tech industry, Google Analytics 4 does not rely on cookies and does not store IP addresses. Instead, it uses an event-based data model for measuring data, allowing you to see unified user journeys across your website and apps while prioritising user privacy.
Difference between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4
Is Google Analytics 4 Analytics better than Universal Analytics? Is this change for the better? Let's explore the critical differences between the two:
This is a significant difference between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4. While Universal Analytics uses a measurement model based on sessions and pageviews, Google Analytics 4 uses a measurement model based on events and parameters. This means that any interaction will be captured as an event which GA4 has furthered into four categories:
Automatically collected events – These events are automatically logged to your app or web page.
Enhanced Measurement Events – These events are also automatically logged and can be enabled/disabled.
Recommended Events – These events are not automatically logged; these events are recommended for specific business verticals that provide maximum detail in the reports.
Custom Events – These events are customised according to your business requirements.
Monthly Hit Limits
GA4 Analytics limits the number of different events that can be captured. While the free version of Universal Analytics had a monthly limit of 10m hits, GA4 has 500, resulting in clients opting for GA4-first approach to their analytics.
The BigQuery Connect
This feature was only available to Google Analytics 360 customers, allowing large and complex data sets to be queried quickly. But GA4 has a free connection to BigQuery, which takes the data out of GA and enables you to interrogate it without the issue of sampling.
Google Analytics offers cross-device reporting, which Universal Analytics doesn't. Cross-device reporting helps you organise data across multiple devices, which gives you a better understanding of how sessions, interactions and touchpoints are interconnected and what your users do at each step in the conversion process.
Predictive Audience and Metrics
Google Analytics 4 offers a predictive audience and metrics that help you understand which kind of users are successfully converting into your customers. Predictive audience allows you to target ads to users likely to purchase within the next seven days, while predictive metrics will enable you to model future transactions and revenue using machine learning. It also uses machine learning to predict user behaviour when user data is unavailable. This ensures end-user privacy and helps you make informed decisions after analysing the trends.
What you need to do now
Make the switch
Make the switch now to GA4, following which you will be able to gather the data needed for insights. You must set up a Google Analytics 4 property alongside your Universal Analytics property. You can use Google's GA4 Setup assistant to set it up, which also gives you the option to set it up with your existing tagging.
Export Historical reports
Google will let you access your Universal Analytics data six months after July 1, 2023. It is a good idea to export all the critical data to you. It can be done in three ways – exporting individual reports, using the Google Analytics reporting API, and exporting to BigQuery
Rework your tracking for google ads conversion
After your GA4 property is set up completely, you can view analytics data in your google ads account. To avoid duplicates after your Google Analytics conversion tracking is set, import analytics conversions into google ads.
Google Analytics is the new black.
So, to conclude, the sooner you start, the less data you will need to export. Another benefit of starting the shift now would be Google's machine learning predicting insights in your account which will eventually help you make the best decisions for your business.
Good luck! May the data be with you.
Google universal Analytics is going away ! what you need to knowREAD