By Anna Fishlock, Co-head of the Digital team
You may have heard the news or seen the notice at the top of your Google Analytics account:, Google’s newest version of analytics, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), is now available and has been for some time. GA4 is the latest version of Google Analytics; a free to use website and application measurement platform provided by Google, which enables you to measure traffic and engagement across all your websites and apps.
By July 1st 2023, Google will no longer be processing data for websites using the existing Google Universal Analytics (UA), all properties will be upgraded to GA4. With an estimated 26 million websites currently using Universal Analytics, this means UA will no longer receive data from your website.
What does this mean for the future of Google Analytics?
GA4 has been developed to better focus on customer privacy data due to the implementation of GDPR and CCPA (California’s Privacy Act). Crucially it now includes privacy controls such as cookieless measurement which is important as Google is phasing out third-party cookies in 2023. GA4 will start reducing the reliance on cookies to record data; therefore, preventing any future gaps in the data.
Events Vs session-based data
A major change in GA4 is the standard usage of events rather than session-based data. Previously in Universal Analytics, you would have to define your custom events through Google Tag Manager for websites and view them in a separate events or conversion reports. The reason this change needs to happen is to gain parity between website and application-based properties so measurement can be combined and viewed in a single Google Analytics property. Also, by focusing on event data we will have a more insightful view into a customer journey on websites; GA4 is capable of tracking what buttons customers click/tap or how far they scroll down a page/screen.
What does it mean for my business?
Not making this move over to GA4 can have a huge impact on your business. After a certain date, which is yet to be confirmed (but it is thought to be either end of 2023 or early 2024), you will no longer be able to access any of your Universal Analytics reports; all properties will be completely unavailable. Therefore, making the move to GA4 as soon as possible allows you to build the necessary historical data that your business needs and you’ll also benefit from its new tracking features too.
What’s the rush?
While it sounds as though we still have a year to prepare for GA4, we’re encouraging our clients to familiarise themselves with the new dashboard and all the new options available to track data. Google currently plans to keep the historical UA data in its own property but we are still helping our clients download historical data so this can be stored safely as a back-up in case Google completely removes all UA properties in future.
How can Aspectus help?
Although it sounds like a daunting move across to GA4, it doesn’t have to be. Our acquisition team is already supporting our clients to make the transition as simple as possible. Feel free to get in touch with one of our acquisition specialists if you would like more information.