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Goodbye, Universal Analytics. Hello, GA4.

What’s Happening To Analytics?

In the constantly changing world of the internet, it’s only a matter of time before some system that you know and love (or love to hate) will go through a major change or overhaul. Google is well known for constantly making changes and updates to their various products, and they’ve got one of their biggest changes for digital marketers coming in 2023. Google Analytics, and more specifically, Universal Analytics, has been the backbone of free website analysis for the past decade, and it’s heading for an early retirement next summer. Don’t panic though, Google has already made the new version of analytics readily available for all of us in the digital world to start using and becoming familiar with before we part with our dear friend. Let’s meet Google Analytics 4, or GA4 for short.

When Will It Happen?

Starting next July, the current version of analytics, Universal Analytics, will be sunset and will no longer gather data on your website. All of your historical data up through June 30th, 2023, will still be available for at least a few months, but you will no longer be able to gather new data. So, what does this mean? It means that it’s important to start converting your website over to the new GA4 platform as soon as possible so that it can begin to collect data, and more importantly, you can figure out how to navigate it.

Why Is This Happening?

You might be asking yourself, “Why is this happening?” The answer is more than just saying “Google likes to make changes” (trust me, they do), but there is actual reasoning behind the switch. With the recent privacy updates and the push to protect user data across the internet, Google needed to transition its analytics to a more secure platform. Without getting too technical, Universal Analytics relied on opt-in privacy features on each website that it was set up on, while GA4 makes privacy controls default options, making tracking more likely to fire consistently.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

Besides privacy, what else is different? The biggest change and hurdle that will need to be overcome is that GA4 isn’t as much of a one-stop shop as Universal Analytics is. The current analytics platform doesn’t require as much outside integration and cooperation with other apps, though it often requires the aid of an experienced web developer to build every little bit of tracking that you need on your site. With GA4, everything on your site is considered an event, and it’s very easy to find and create events with other tools that communicate with GA4 such as Google Tag Manager. For example, in the current Universal Analytics setup— without the use of Tag Manager—, a site would require hard coding for a conversion event such as a form-fill submission or an e-commerce purchase.  With GA4 and Tag Manager, you can easily create an event that fires when those actions take place without the need for extra coding. It may be offering less direct features, and there are some terminology changes, but GA4 does make it easier to record the important events you want to track on your site.

We’re Here To Help!

Still, feeling overwhelmed? Well, then, let us help! wedü is prepared to migrate many of our clients’ Universal Analytics platforms over to GA4. Whether you don’t want to get into the weeds of the change or don’t have the extra time to go through everything, we can help get you set up so that everything is ready to go next year when the switch becomes permanent. Get ready today so that you can have success tomorrow. Contact us here and we’ll set up a time to talk to you about GA4.
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