The end of Universal Analytics
Change is stirring at Google. Not only will advertising cookies receive another blow to their capabilities (more on this and a cute dog here), Google recently announced that Universal Analytics will be discontinued as of the first of July 2023. This means that no data will be collected from your website anymore, causing your graphs to flatline. For now, the data you’ve already gathered will remain available – but by next summer you will no longer have insights in the number of visitors of your website, downloads of your content or other kinds of data.
No worries, though! The successor, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is already here. If you are quick to act, you can make the transition with a peace of mind.
2023. What’s the fuss about?
Although this still seems a long way off, it is best to jump into action immediately. Here are a several things to keep in mind:
- Machine learning will become an integral part of the analytics. GA4 will use data of your visitors to convert into valuable insights. The thing is that it requires large amounts of data to make reliable predictions. The more data you already have in your system, the more you can trust GA4’s results.
- There is no indication that Google will allow you to transfer data from UA to GA4, so the fresh account will be completely empty. If you get started today, you’ll have a year’s worth of data to work with next summer.
- GA4 has some handy features baked-in to ensure you can collect data without violating the GDPR legislation. For example, it converts IP addresses into random numbers, making people unidentifiable. This allows you to gain insights in the behaviour of your website’s visitors, even if they don’t accept the cooky policy. Of course, when retargeting, you do need to follow the GDPR rules.
Getting started with Google Analytics 4
Google Analytics 4 is still relatively young, so a lot of features are still in the works. Nonetheless, the platform already has a lot to offer if you get prepared well. Following the next steps, you’re off to a good start:
- Take a look at your current database
Create an overview of what you are measuring on your website today. Examples are events, specific page visits, the use of contact forms etc. Make sure to assess which of these elements are still relevant to track, whether there are new actions to track or if additional information is required. Bundle these elements to keep track of them – a template like this can help you.
- Check the technical requirements
GA4 works a bit differently than Universal Analytics. It offers more features, which also makes it a more complex tool. Make sure to team up with your performance marketeer and development team to understand the actions required to track your goals.
- Organise your data
Once GA4 is collecting your data, you’ll want to get organised. Create your own custom reports or use dashboards to visualise your data (more on this here). Up to you!
- Follow-up on your checklist
Ideally, review your checklist each month. When you start using GA4, you might not be able to measure all the data you need. However, the platform is constantly evolving so keep an eye on it. This way, you’ll always be in possession of the most relevant data.
Need help to start using Google Analytics 4? Be sure to contact us, we’ll gladly help you out!