Waving Goodbye to Universal Analytics; Why the Future is GA4…

Last week Google announced the official timeline for the sunsetting of Universal Analytics – the previous generation of analytics – and come July 1st 2023 Standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits. As the new analytics 360 version was introduced recently, Universal Analytics 360 will receive an additional three months of new hit processing before they also end on October 1st. With the end very much in site, now is the time to make Google Analytics 4 your cross-platform Analytics solution.

Kate Jervis

A significant amount of information has been written about Google Analytics and regardless of whether you use it as your source of truth or not, the sunsetting of Universal Analytics will undoubtedly raise some questions – such as the following.

What Exactly have Google Announced?

Google have announced Universal Analytics will sunset from the beginning of July 2023. Standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. Universal Analytics 360 properties will stop processing new hits on October 1, 2023.

 On the dates listed, hits will stop collecting in the tool. You’ll be able to access previously processed data in Universal Analytics for at least six months, and prior to the sunset Google will confirm further available data retention methods.

What Solution Should I Use Instead of Universal Analytics?

Universal Analytics is being deprecated in favor of GA4, Google’s latest version of Google Analytics. In order to minimize disruption to web analytics, Google is encouraging all customers to set-up GA4 ahead of the Universal Analytics sunset. For more information on GA4, have a look at our blog GA4, Why You Can’t Ignore It, or watch our event, The Future of Measurement.

Why is this Change Happening?

Universal Analytics was designed to work with cookies and observable data. As these methods are no longer robust due to privacy legislation, GA4 was built to replace it, with privacy centricity in mind. This change is essential in order to ensure web analytics continues to be effective, actionable and compliant with privacy laws.

Can I Request an Extension for my Universal Analytics Data Collection?

Google have confirmed that no extensions will be granted, other than the 3 month extension already in place for 360 clients.

What Does This Really Mean?

“The recent Google announcement on the sunsetting of Universal Analytics signals an important shift in Google’s approach to measurement.  With Google Analytics 4, Google is providing advertisers with a privacy-centric cross-platform measurement solution that is more future-proof to upcoming industry & customer demands than Universal Analytics. 

However advertisers need to act now in order to preserve their analytics function and build historical data before Universal Analytics stops processing. It is vital that advertisers understand what this change means, and work to incorporate Google Analytics 4 as soon as they can to protect their insights & capitalize on the new opportunities this tool brings” – Leo McIntosh, Head of Ad Tech and Analytics UK

How can Incubeta help?

For more information on what the sunsetting of Universal Analytics means, or for assistance migrating to GA4, please get in touch. At Incubeta, we can support advertisers across all stages of GA4 implementation – from initial discovery, blueprint design, implementation, handover and training – our team of data and analytics experts are on hand to help. Visit our solutions page to find out how Incubeta can support you. 

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