Marketing in 2022 requires a certain amount of reliance on Google. So when they make an announcement that they will be sunsetting Universal Analytics and moving all users to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), we all need to pay attention. All Universal Analytics installations will stop recording new data on 1 July 2023 and existing Universal Analytics data will be deleted six months later.
Why is Google doing this?
Google wants website owners to move over to the new platform as privacy restrictions including the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) have made tracking users with third-party cookies, more difficult. GA4 has more methods of tracking users other than cookies to track users.
Most website owners and analytics professionals have been reluctant to change over to GA4 for the following reasons:
- GA4's data model is completely different to Universal Analytics, most existing reports and dashboards will have to be built again from scratch.
- The different data model also means that historic data from Universal Analytics cannot be imported into GA4.
- Lack of compatibility with a large portion of third-party marketing and
- Because of the different data models, Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) software will have to be rewritten to work with GA4.
- Universal Analytics was popular because it is intuitive and easy to use, while still giving more advanced options for power users. GA4 is more complex and users will require lots of time to get used to it.
However, there is some good news GA4 will be able to:
- Collect both website and app data to better understand the customer journey.
- Uses Events instead of Session-Based data which measures users' actions as opposed to time on sites.
- Includes privacy controls such as cookie-less measurement, and behavioural and conversion modelling.
- Have predictive capabilities and offer guidance without complex models.
- Have direct integrations to media platforms to help drive actions.
Do I have to do anything now?
There is still a year to go before Google will stop recording data in Universal Analytics, so there is time to move over to GA4 or to investigate alternative platforms. However, we do recommend getting your SEO agency to set up GA4 as soon as possible so you can have historic data if Google does not come up with a way to import the historic data from Universal Analytics.
If you use any software that integrates with Google Analytics on your websites, such as chat software or call tracking, you should check with the provider if the software has been updated to work with GA4.
If you’re not sure where you stand, we can help. Get in touch with email@example.com.
If you want to find out more about how to best use Google Analytics 4, Head of SEO Jamie Stevens will be hosting a webinar in collaboration with the Law Firm Marketing Club on 12 July 2022 at 2pm. Book your space here: https://lawfirmmarketingclub.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iLWIrUyLQ5ijvTN_ZMyGOw