The widely-used Google Analytics (Universal Analytics (UA)) has been one of the most used tracking tools among websites and apps used to track down performance, conversion, and website goals. In October 2020 Google introduced the GA 4, a newer version of Google Analytics. However, many marketers do not have a positive impression of this new version of Analytics as many of the main data collection processes have been moved to a new group or even need completely different steps to show the same collected data compared to the previous Universal Analytics. This leads to most websites and apps sticking to the older Universal Analytics.
Despite the pro and cons of GA4 in the marketers’ community, Google recently announced its plan to sunset its Universal Analytics next year, so if you’re using the previous version of Google Analytics you have time until the end of June 2023 to transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
Can I just upgrade universal analytics to GA4?
Unfortunately, you cant simply upgrade your universal analytics property to a GA4. Instead, you will need to set up new GA4 property in parallel to your existing universal analytics property.
Can I move data from Universal analytics to GA4?
Unfortunately, this is also not possible as there is no way to import data from UA to GA4. The best option is to set up GA4 in parallel to your UA.
How this will affect businesses using Universal Analytics?
Since universal analytics will stop working next year, it is critical that you begin planning your move to GA4 to prevent unprecedented misconfiguration in your website or app report and tracking in the future.
What happens after June 2023?
When the time comes, the Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data into a report beginning 1st July 2023, which means showing zero data in your reports. Only historical data will be available, and if you’re using the paid version of google analytics (GA360), then you will have 3 more months to migrate to GA4.
Moreover, Google has informed that you will be able to access your historical data for at least 6 months after the UA stops processing data. This meant you have time until December 2023 to download any historical data and insights. After this time you won’t be able to access any of the reports in UA any longer.
What should I do?
Adding GA4 in parallel with your existing universal analytics property through Google Tag Manager is currently the best method we recommend, as this is the method that we conduct to all of our client sites. We suggest that you also take action as soon as possible to give more time to familiarize yourself with the GA4 interface. It also meant this is the right time to explore and experiment more with the features and custom reports that will work best with your marketing goals. There are some new possibilities available in GA4 which previously unavailable in Universal Analytics such as collecting data from Google Tag Manager tags, for example, numbers of clicks on specific CTA buttons, page scroll depth, etc.
In conclusion, despite different perspectives among practitioners about GA4, it will soon come, and this is the right time to make a move to always stay ahead of the competition by setting the configuration properly.