26 Jun 2023
Universal Analytics is being sunset
On July 1st 2023, Universal Analytics will stop collecting data.
Historical Universal Analytics data will continue to be available in the reporting interface, and via the API, until July 1st 2024. After this date, access to historical Universal Analytics data will be permanently removed.
Businesses should consider warehousing critical Universal Analytics data ahead of this date, using a combination of the API and Google BigQuery to permanently store this historical data.
Universal Analytics 360 customers will continue to collect data in their Universal Analytics views until July 1st 2024, whilst Google continues to evolve and develop the 360 version of Google Analytics 4.
Welcome to Google Analytics 4!
From July 1st 2023, Google Analytics 4 will become the go-to tool to measure marketing performance KPIs and analyse user behaviour.
Google Analytics 4 has a new event-based data model, as well as many additional reporting and data features. It also uses a new set of tracking pixels to collect and process data.
Now is the time to ask the question ‘Is your business Google Analytics 4 ready?’
Configuring Google Analytics 4 is not easy
An accurate and robust Google Analytics 4 configuration is critical to understand marketing performance and user behaviour.
Migrating from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 isn’t straightforward. It is important to carry out checks on your configuration, to ensure you are collecting accurate data that will inform robust and meaningful marketing decisions.
In this blog, I share five checks you should be undertaking, to assess if your business is Google Analytics 4 ready.
Five checks to see if your business is Google Analytics 4 ready
#1 – Data retention
By default, Google Analytics 4 sets data retention to two months.
Change the retention window in your admin settings to 14 months, to run year-on-year comparisons using explorations.
#2 – Reporting identity
Google Analytics 4 has three different methods to calculate users within the admin settings.
If your Google Analytics 4 reporting is suffering from data thresholding, and you also have Google Signals enabled, consider switching to the device based calculation method to improve accuracy.
#3 – Audiences
Ensure your Universal Analytics audiences are migrated over to Google Analytics 4, to avoid any disruption in your marketing campaigns.
If eligible, utilise the new ‘predictive audiences’ to unlock new performance opportunities.
#4 – Integrations
Ensure that any integrations with other Google products (e.g. Google Ads, Google Search Console) are migrated across to your Google Analytics 4 property.
Also, consider setting up the BigQuery integration to warehouse the raw Google Analytics 4 dataset and create a backup of your data. This feature is now available to all Google Analytics 4 customers.
#5 – Conversions
Ensure you have key conversion points tracked as events in Google Analytics 4. Remember that goals do not exist in Google Analytics 4, and will need to be tracked using events.
Remember to mark relevant events as conversions, so they are visible in Google Ads and can be distinguished clearly in Google Analytics 4 reporting.