Everything You Need to Know About the Upcoming Move to Google Analytics 4

July 11, 2022

You may have heard that Google is phasing out its standard analytics setup, known for years as Universal Analytics, and replacing it with a new platform called Google Analytics 4. Here's a quick look at what's happening, why, and what it will mean for users.

Why is Google Switching to Google Analytics 4?

Per Google: "In today's measurement landscape, businesses need to navigate new challenges to understand the complex, multi-platform journeys of their customers — all while prioritizing user privacy. Two and a half years ago, we introduced Google Analytics 4 to address these evolving measurement standards and help businesses succeed. Google Analytics 4 has the flexibility to measure many different kinds of data, delivering a strong analytics experience that’s designed for the future. It allows businesses to see unified user journeys across their websites and apps, use Google’s machine learning technology to surface and predict new insights, and most importantly, it’s built to keep up with a changing ecosystem. Without a modern measurement solution, you leave essential insights on the table that can impact your business. So now is the time to make Google Analytics 4 your cross-platform Analytics solution.”  

In short, this new platform can better measure mobile traffic, IoT interactions and other metrics on a user by user basis. Since Google Analytics 4 does not rely exclusively on cookies like the last generation did its data model can deliver more specific, user-centric measurement than ever before without sacrificing privacy.

Worth noting: Google Analytics will also no longer store IP addresses, which is especially necessary in today’s international data privacy landscape, where users are increasingly expecting more privacy protections and control over their data.

When Will the Switch to Google Analytics 4 Happen?

Google will begin sunsetting Universal Analytics — the previous generation of Analytics — next year. All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023.

Google Analytics 4 vs Google Universal Analytics

  • Understand your customers beyond just the website. Get a complete view of the customer lifecycle with an event-based measurement model that isn’t fragmented by platform or organized into independent sessions.
  • Improve ROI with data-driven attribution. Analyze the full impact of your marketing across the customer journey. It assigns attribution credit to more than just the last click using your Analytics data, and helps you understand how your marketing activities collectively influence your conversions.
  • Ensure data compliance. With new country-level privacy controls, you can manage and minimize the collection of user-level data — like cookies and metadata — while preserving key measurement functionality.
  • Get greater value from your data. Machine learning generates sophisticated predictive insights about user behavior and conversions, creates new audiences of users likely to purchase or churn and automatically surfaces critical insights to improve your marketing.
  • Turn insights into action. Expanded integrations with other Google products, like Google Ads, work across your combined web and app data, making it easy to use Analytics insights to optimize your campaigns.

What Do You Have to Do to Switch to Google Analytics 4?

Our clients don't have to do anything as we have that covered for them. Their accounts will be migrated to Google Analytics 4 by the end of this year and all of their reporting dashboards will be switched over well before the deadline.

For everyone else, Google has put together this handy guide to transitioning to Google Analytics 4, complete with step-by-step instructions.

So that's what's happening. As the Google Analytics platform expands, you can expect to see richer, more in-depth data about your users and their activities than was previously available. Until the next upgrade, of course.

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