Google recently announced that they would be officially sunsetting Universal Analytics (UA) in favour of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as of July 2023. Up until recently, Universal Analytics was the standard version of Google Analytics for the majority of users.
For standard Google Analytics customers, UA will stop processing new data from 1st July 2023, whilst Google Analytics 360 customers will be granted an additional three months, up until 1st October 2023. Any previously processed data will remain available on both versions of UA for six months from these dates.
UA uses a session-based data model that relies heavily on cookies for tracking. A session is the group of interactions taken by a user within a set time frame on your website. This has its limitations as the user could then log in later on a different browser or device, which means they’d be tracked as a new user rather than a returning one.
By contrast, GA4 uses an event-based data model which allows “businesses to measure cross platforms and devices using multiple forms of identity”. According to Google:
“Events can collect and send pieces of information that more fully specify the action the user took or add further context to the event or user. This information could include things like the value of purchase, the title of the page a user visited, or the geographic location of the user.”
Google’s key reasoning behind the official switch is that the Universal Analytics model for data collection is becoming obsolete due to privacy restrictions and the multi-platform nature of current web users:
“Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies. This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete.“
GA4 is better equipped to measure data across multiple platforms including websites and apps. It also offers more privacy protection as it doesn’t rely exclusively on cookies or store IP addresses. The platform will use AI insights and predictions powered by machine learning, meaning that Google Analytics will be able to create predictive audiences of potential customers.
For our existing clients, this simply means that the way your data is processed and presented will change. We will migrate your account over to GA4 in the coming months and ensure that all of your existing data is backed up.
If you are looking for support with setting up and running a Google Analytics 4 account for your business, feel free to give us a call on 01992 582 824 or email us at email@example.com.