It's time to switch to Google Analytics 4

By Giovanni Napoli - March 22, 2022

If you haven’t already heard, Google has announced the replacement of Universal Analytics with Google Analytics 4. That means it’s time to make the switch and make sure you’re prepared for when Universal Analytics finally gets the boot.

Straight out of the box, GA4’s setup isn’t what most businesses will require. For example, the default data retention period in GA4 is just 2 months, and the max is only 14 - yes, you read that right. 

If you want to retain data beyond 14 months, you’ll require a Google Analytics 360 subscription or another tool to assist in your reporting. So don’t get caught out, and read on to make sure you’re not left behind in the migration to GA4. 

What’s happening to Universal Analytics?

Universal Analytics (UA) has been the predominant tool for tracking website traffic, and it’s about to end. 

From the 1st of July 2023, Google will begin a phase-out to replace UA with a new-generation measurement tool, Google Analytics 4 (GA4.) If you have a premium subscription of Google Analytics 360, this date will be extended until October 1st 2023. 

Google has stated that you will still have access to your previous tracked data and reports for at least a further six months, but it isn’t confirmed exactly how much longer past that.

The predominant reason behind the UA phase-out is the growing standard of measurement solutions to help businesses succeed. UA uses a measurement method that relies on cookies and storing IP addresses, which has quickly become outdated and doesn’t comply with user privacy expectations.


Why Google Analytics 4?

The depreciation of Universal Analytics means you get to opt into the more advanced solution, Google Analytics 4. 

GA4 offers more granular insight into your website tracking, meaning you’ll be able to measure more specific functions, giving you more valuable data. It provides a strong analytics experience through its cross-channel tracking and uses machine learning technology to predict future insights.

In response to recent international data regulations, GA4 was designed as a modern measurement solution with privacy at its core. This means users can expect more control over their data, alleviating their privacy concerns. GA4 is a durable option for the future as it doesn’t rely on cookies or store IP addresses. 

With GA4 and its powerful method of measurement and tracking functionality, there’s no doubt your company won’t reap the benefits. With greater value from your data and being able to understand your customers on a deeper level at every touch-point, you can expect to see a greater return-on-investment with data-driven attribution and decision making.


Transitioning to Google Analytics 4

It’s pivotal to ensure you are up-to-date on advancements that can help your business thrive and remain competitive. While you still have a decent amount of time to prepare for the phase-out of UA, it’s important to begin the change over to GA4 as soon as possible, to supplement a stress-free and seamless transition. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

After July 1st 2023, your Google Analytics tagging will still continue to track data, however, it will not be compatible or synchronised with UA. Therefore, in order to retain historical data, it will need to be exported. 

This will ensure you can continue to access the rich data you need to evaluate patterns and insights over time. Being able to compare analytics on a year by year basis is crucial in order to spot trends that can help you excel in making informed business decisions that augment company growth.


Don’t take uncalculated risks, make investments

It can be tough and stressful to navigate complicated digital transitions on your own.

Having a backlog of data is critical to business decision making, and our team of experts at BlueRock Digital will ensure that you don't get lost in the transition and lose the rich information provided through your historical reports.

If you want to find out more about how we can help your business with the transition to Google Analytics 4, get in touch.

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