How Google Will Sunset Universal Analytics

30-second summary:

  • Both free and enterprise Universal Analytics properties will be deprecated in 2023
  • Free properties will stop processing hits on July 1st, 2023,
  • Analytics 360 properties will stop processing hits on October 1st, 2023.
  • Now is the time to configure your GA4 properties to take advantage of year-on-year comparisons, and ready your business for GA4
  • As Google’s privacy-first analytics solution, GA4 offers a unique opportunity for brands to rethink their measurement strategy

For many of us, our Universal Analytics (UA) properties have been a source of truth when it comes to executing any data-driven strategy. Unfortunately, UA’s time has come to an end. With the launch and adoption of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), Google has officially announced that Universal Analytics properties will stop collecting data on July 1, 2023, while enterprise 360 properties will have an extra three months, with data collection ceasing on October 1, 2023. Even though data collection will cease, you will still be able to access historical data for at least the next six months.

The push for a privacy-first future

So, why now? With the deprecation of third-party cookies and Google’s push to respect user privacy, GA4 was built to evolve with the ever-changing privacy landscape. Google has transformed how data is collected with GA4, building a solution that delivers holistic measurement across websites and mobile apps that is privacy-centric by design.

How important is it to implement GA4 now?

Implementing GA4 as soon as possible is imperative! The sooner you set up GA4 and start collecting, the longer your historical lookback window will be. This means your property will be ready and available for long-term reporting when Google will sunset Universal Analytics.

Furthermore, the more data collected in your GA4 property, the more training the in-built GA4 ML models and algorithms will have for automated analysis.

If you decide to delay the implementation of GA4, your measurement and reporting capabilities will be severely affected the longer that it is left. Whilst complete adoption isn’t strictly necessary, correctly setting up GA4 properties is a must in order to start collecting data.

A great opportunity to rethink measurement

This is not a time to panic, in fact, we see it as a great opportunity to rethink your current analytics strategy. What is your current measurement model? What key online metrics are your team leveraging to make marketing decisions? Are you collecting data in a privacy-safe way that is respecting user choices?
Start thinking about doing more with your data as GA4 has many key changes to and benefits that include:

  • Improved data modeling, structure, and collection
  • Cross-platform tracking
  • Privacy and data controls
  • No limits to the volume of data that you can send
  • A FREE connection to BigQuery
  • Automated tracking for certain types of events
  • More built-in metrics
  • A DebugView within the reporting interface
  • Smarter insights

Ok, I’m ready for GA4, where do I start?

Firstly, dual-tagging is the best way to approach GA4. Dual tagging simply refers to adding the GA4 tracking tag onto your website(s) in parallel with your existing Universal tracking tag. By doing this you are giving yourself the ability to access more historical data when UA is switched off in 2023, as well as more time to get used to the new UI and features of GA4.

Secondly, properly configure GA4 so that you are collecting the data that is important to you. This will include setting up custom events. Whilst GA4 will automatically collect events without manual tagging, custom events will enable you to have a more meaningful data collection and analysis.

Lastly, once everything is set up and data is starting to flow, start to slowly transition to the GA4. Get familiar with the UI, get a better understanding of all of the new features and they benefit your business. .

For more sophisticated analytics implementations, it’s always best to use a certified Google Analytics partner like XPON to help sunset Universal Analytics. To book a consultation or training session, get in touch with our to help sunset Universal Analytics.

Start preparing for a future with GA4 with XPON

Whilst you still have over 12 months before Google will sunset Universal Analytics, to guarantee a year-on-year comparison, your GA4 property will need to be set up before June 1, 2022, or October 1, 2022, for GA360.

Ensuring your GA4 property is properly implemented is essential for a fully functional and integrated MarTech ecosystem. It will also enable your organisation to prepare for a privacy-first, 1st party data world.

For organisations taking advantage of GA360, XPON can support by developing a clear roadmap towards GA4, with clear milestones for dual tagging, contract transition, and team enablement.

As a full-stack Google Marketing Platform & Google Cloud Partner, XPON Technologies helps make the entire process as smooth as possible and empowers your team to make the most out of GA4 in this ever-changing privacy-first world.

Get in touch with our team of experts today if you have any questions or need support with your GA4 implementation or migration.