Analytics and Data | 3 MIN READ
Google announces that all Universal Analytics properties will stop collecting data in 2023. Google is reinforcing GA4 as the recommended analytics solution by sunsetting existing Universal Analytics standard properties on 1 July 2023 and 1 October 2023 for 360 properties.
You’ll need to act fast and fully implement GA4 before 1 July this year to have year-on-year comparisons for all your fundamental interactions when the deadline hits.
Sam Dunkley, Senior Web Analyst
What does this announcement mean for your data?
After the cut-off dates, your Universal Analytics properties will become read-only. At that point, you will still be able to access the data, export it, or make configuration changes (e.g. permissions, changes to custom channel groupings). But from this point on, there is no further data collection.
This announcement comes as somewhat of a surprise, given how legacy iterations of the Google Analytics tracking code for websites have continued to be supported. However, the fact that GA4 is a whole new property type and underlying data model may have influenced the decision to take a different approach.
The announcement is also a significant signal of commitment from Google to iron out current limitations with GA4. It’s hard to imagine that they’re not confident that there will at least be feature parity with all the most essential aspects of Universal Analytics come July next year.
Until now, everyone has been in limbo, trying to work out when to commit to GA4 fully. This announcement tells us that planning and implementing a full GA4 setup is a high priority! On the whole, it’s something that we welcome because it gives all Google Analytics users a definite date to work toward.
What should you do now?
If you haven’t gotten up and running with GA4, you need to start. We (and many others in the industry) have been recommending parallel tracking to build up historical data in anticipation of fully committing to GA4 in the future. This announcement means that you’ll need to act fast and fully implement GA4 before 1 July 2022 to have year-on-year comparisons for all your fundamental interactions when the deadline hits.
Four steps that we’d recommend taking as part of your migration plan:
- Document all your existing tracking in Universal Analytics, so you know what’s currently in place.
- Use this chance to take a step back and think strategically about what you need to measure. At Fresh Egg, we run workshops with our clients to uncover and understand your requirements and then translate those into technical solutions.
- Carefully plan out your event naming taxonomy in GA4. The new data model is more intuitive and flexible than the old event category, action, label structure in Universal Analytics. Don’t fall into the trap of continuing to use that structure. Take the opportunity to leave that behind and make the most of the new data model.
- With all the focus on the technical side of the migration, it would be easy to forget that you and your colleagues need to use GA4. Consider training needs. As an introduction, you can watch our recent training webinar on Google Analytics 4, which includes comparisons with Universal Analytics and a walkthrough of the new UI.