Universal Analytics Stops Working on 1 July 2023
Google has officially announced that Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits and will permanently shut down in mid-2023, to make way for the new version of Google Analytics, dubbed GA4, putting many businesses at risk of losing valuable data.
This announcement will lead firms to review how GA4 could fit within their organisation, with many weighing-up the technical as well as regulatory impacts of such a switch.
Barriers to upgrade to GA4
From large enterprises to small businesses, the consensus is that many had previously resisted the change because of the number of implications it presents, in particular:
- Upgrading to GA4 requires creating a whole new property with no history
- Only basic settings from the previous version get copied over to the new one
- Conversions, audiences, and events have to be rebuilt from scratch
- Enhanced measurement is automatically enabled but you must protect user privacy
- GA4 requires familiarity with event-based tracking
The biggest challenge companies that have decided to move to GA4 encounter is the unfamiliarity of the new interface. While similar, the interface has a number of immediately obvious differences from what marketeers are used to using and they have to adapt quickly to maintain the same momentum they had with Universal Analytics.
Moving to GA4 isn’t very straightforward. Google provides tools to assist the migration, but these are not very robust or reliable. A bit of work is needed to maximise utilisation of the new tool.
When should you switch to GA4?
GA4 does not include historical data from Google Analytics. This means businesses that leave the move to GA4 till the last minute, will only have a few days or weeks of new GA4 data and lose all their historical information, unless they manually export each individual report.
The discontinuation of Universal Analytics will impact the way you collect data and advertise in the future, and means businesses have to make the switch to GA4 relatively quickly.
Ideally, you should upgrade from Universal Analytics to GA4 immediately, and run both in parallel. This affords you the time to familiarise yourself with the interface, and GA4 time to collect enough historical data before the forced switch-over.
Will you lose valuable data?
Regardless of what system you decide to continue using, historical Universal Analytics data will be lost. If you need to save certain information beyond the 6-month data-retention grace period offered by Google, you will need to manually download data from every report. We strongly recommend visiting the Analytics Help Centre for the full breakdown of the upgrade.
If you need assistance gathering data and migrating, contact us today.