March 2022 was Google’s big announcement.  Is your business ready?

Meet the next generation of Google Analytics

As of October 14, 2020, a Google Analytics 4 property became the default for new analytics accounts. Universal Analytics refers to the previous generation of Analytics.

Google announced in March 2022 that it will sunset Universal Analytics (GA3) beginning on July 1, 2023. This means Universal Analytics will stop processing new hits and your data will be removed by October 2023.

Google states that G4 Analytics is “the new standard” in today’s challenging business environment.

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 of 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.

Google Analytics 4:

  • Has the flexibility to measure different kinds of data
  • Delivers a strong analytics experience that’s designed for the future
  • Allows businesses to see unified customer journeys across their website and apps

All the above seem to be driven by a changing ecosystem that calls for less privacy-invasive ways of collecting data.

Is switching from Universal Analytics to G4 Analytics worth it?

If you like it or not, the future of web analytics will be cookieless. Web Browsers like Firefox and Safari have already blocked third-party cookies, and even Google Chrome announced that it will be phasing out third-party cookies in 2023.

The world is heading in the right direction, and Google reluctantly moves with it, but it’s doing everything to keep its business model alive.

One of the biggest reasons to set up GA4 now is to protect against losing historical data.

Google doesn’t offer tools to migrate data between the two types of properties. At some point, you will lose this data when they sunset those properties.

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.

Business Decisions Using Data

GA3 and GA4 handle important actions taken on your website differently, thus affecting your business decisions.

On GA3 you can set up goal conversions – your visitors complete a specific action you want them to take on your site.  These are important to the success of your business. For example, a form was filled out to access information, or a click-to-call link was clicked to call your business.  These actions tell you that your marketing is either working or not.

While GA3 uses Goal Conversions, GA4 uses Events. They are not 1:1 so GA4 needs to be configured to match your current analytics strategy.

It’s time to change

Many search marketers have been dragging their feet when it comes to adopting GA4. Soon, it 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 business.

To help you make this transition, Edge Digital is offering to set up GA4 on your website for free*.  Our SEO Specialists have set up all our SEO clients already to protect against losing historical data. If you’d like to take advantage of this GA4 Set Up Offer, contact us for details.

Special Offer for GA4 Set up blog