Since 2005, Google Analytics has been the gold standard for tracking website and marketing performance. While over the years, Google has made additions and improvements to the platform, it announced last week that it will be making a removal:
On 1, July 2023, one of its most common instances of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) will be going away.
Now I’ll admit that even though I use Google Analytics every day, I wasn’t sure what any of this meant. Do we use Universal Analytics? What exactly is a “property”? How does Analytics 360 fit into this picture? Assuming I’m not alone in my confusion, I dove in to find out and that’s what I’m sharing today. Read on to learn:
Let’s break this down:
This is the website or app that you are tracking with Google Analytics. If you are currently using Universal Analytics to track your website, this would be called your “Universal Analytics property.” Once you set up GA4, you’ll have a “Google Analytics 4 property” for that same website. Because UA and GA4 are different, different reports are available to you for each property. Learn more about Google Analytics properties here
To understand exactly what GA4 is, a little Google Analytics history lesson is in order.
Google Analytics 4 doesn’t just offer more of what Universal Analytics offers. It’s built differently to align with current and future needs for reporting and privacy. Here are some of the differences and benefits.
You can also read Google’s explanation of UA vs GA4 here.
Google Analytics 4 came out on October 14, 2020 and became the default, so if you created your property after that date, you’re likely using GA4. If you were using analytics prior to that date, you’re likely using UA.
If you’re not sure, you can check your property type by clicking on the down arrow in the top left of your account, next to your property name:
Then look at your property ID:
If you’re currently using Universal Analytics, there are three actions to prioritize:
While you have more than a year before this change takes place, it’s best to make the switch now so your GA4 account can gather the data needed for automated insights.
If you are currently using UA, you’ll want to set up a GA4 property alongside your existing UA property. Use Google’s GA4 Setup Assistant, which gives you the option to set it up with your existing tagging.
If you run Google Ads, have ecustom events, or use other advanced features, refer to Google’s page on how to switch to Google Analytics 4—which breaks the process down into 12 steps with effort levels indicated for each step.
Once your GA 4 property is set up, you’ll be able to view Analytics data in your Google Ads account.
If you have conversion tracking set up, you should import Analytics conversions into Google Ads and remove any UA goals to avoid duplicates.
To import your Analytics conversions, in your Google Ads account, go to Tools & Settings > Conversions > Add new conversion action, and select Import:
There you can select each conversion event you want to import.
Google will allow access to your Universal Analytics data for at least six months after July 1, 2023, during which time you should export the data that is important to you. There are three ways to export:
I already mentioned this but it’s worth mentioning again: Don’t drag your feet with switching over to GA4. The sooner you start, the less historical data you’ll need to export come July and the sooner Google’s machine learning can start surfacing and predicting insights in your account. Stay tuned for more GA4 tips and tricks!
Kristen is the Senior Managing Editor at WordStream, where she helps businesses to make sense of their online marketing and advertising. She specializes in local SEO, copywriting, and conversion optimization, and she finds life to be exponentially more delightful on a bicycle.
See other posts by Kristen McCormick
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