Google to sunset Universal Analytics on July 1, 2023, in favor of Google Analytics 4
It’s time for search marketers to shake off the inertia and adopt Google Analytics 4.
Google will deprecate Universal Analytics next year, the company announced Wednesday. Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023, and Universal Analytics 360 properties will stop processing hits on October 1, 2023.
Previously processed data in Universal Analytics will be stored for at least six months after the deprecation dates listed above.
Why Google is making the switch. “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,” Russell Ketchum, director, product management at Google, said in the announcement. “This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete.”
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) differs from its predecessor in that it operates across platforms, doesn’t rely on cookies and uses an event-based data model for measurement. It also does not store IP addresses, which can help brands stay on the right side of privacy regulations.
A brief history of Google Analytics 4. GA4 was released in October 2020 with the promise of predictive insights, deeper integration with Google Ads and cross-device measurement capabilities. Since then, the company has made the following updates to its new flagship analytics platform:
- Google Analytics 4 updates include data-driven attribution, machine learning models to fill in measurement gaps and a Search Console integration
- You can now link Google Analytics 4 to Google Search Console
- Google launches new Google Analytics 4 home page
- Google rolls out Search Ads 360 integration for Google Analytics 4
Why we care. If you haven’t set up your GA4 properties yet, now is the time. Even though we have well over a year, configuring GA4 now will enable it to start tracking the metrics you care about so that historical data is there when you need to reference it.
This is also something of a wake-up call: Many search marketers have been dragging their heels when it comes to adopting GA4. In just over 15 months from now, that will no longer be an option, so the more familiar you get with GA4’s interface and capabilities, the better equipped you’ll be to handle the transition for your brands.
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