GA4 Graphic

Google’s Transfer To GA4 Is Imminent…Is Your Business Ready?

Do you use Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) right now to measure performance on your website and/or app for your business? If you do, you’ve probably noticed the large countdown clock affixed to the top of your analytics dashboard, signaling the end of Universal Analytics and the permanent move to GA4 for businesses. Are you ready for the change? 

What’s going to happen at the switch? 

On July 1, 2023, your Universal analytics accounts will sunset, meaning they will stop collecting data on your website and apps. If you have GA4 already installed correctly on your website with your desired conversion events, etc. before this date, this should be a seamless switch to the new platform and it should automatically already be tracking your website on the new version. If you do not, you will no longer be receiving any signal data from your website to universal analytics, so your data feed will stop after June 30. Note, if your business has a GA360 enterprise account, that will continue collecting data until July, 2024 before the forced change to GA4. Also, data from your Universal Analytics account will need to be exported out of the platform and saved before Google shuts off access to that data in 2024.

Why is Google making the change? 

There are a few reasons for sunsetting Universal Analytics, which has been the standard website tracking software for over a decade. One reason is due to privacy policy changes in the EU, and to continue doing business there and provide measurement, Google had to make some changes in its software. Also, with cookies coming to an end in the near future, Google needed to make sure its platform allowed tracking across websites and apps together with user identity so businesses can track their prospect across site/app seamlessly. 

What Quick Things Do I Need To Know? 

Universal Analytics is not compatible with GA4 in terms of a fluid data stream, so there will be no lookback capabilities from GA4 to UA. Until you get out from a space of comparing performance from time periods that still include times from when your business was using Universal Analytics, you will have to go back and forth between platforms to get the data you need. Also, everything in GA4 is set up as an event and not just an action, so sessions and page views will be counted as events. That means the tracking will not exactly match what you would have seen in Universal Analytics for the same time period as it’s being tracked differently. Also, bounce rate is no longer a metric in the new GA4 system. GA4 moves bounce rate under what’s called engagement rate, in which any session longer than 10 seconds gets referred to as an engaged session and a session under 10 seconds is reported as a disengaged session.

What’s The Learning Curve?

Unfortunately, there’s definitely a learning curve when using the GA4 interface vs. the Universal Analytics platform. The upside is that GA4 allows you to create almost limitless custom reports in the platform, slicing your data in so many different ways that go well beyond the capabilities of Universal Analytics. But GA4’s standard interface is pretty empty before those reports are created. Some of the basic things that Universal Analytics allowed you to just toggle easily for quick information now need to be created as a view before you have the ability to see them easily. So the front-end hours of the transition and early days are paramount in getting your account set up in a way that’s most beneficial for your daily needs.  

Reach Out For Help

Need help navigating GA4 before the deadline or other analytics issues? If you need support for the transition or other data analytics projects for your brand, Brandon can help with all of your analytics needs. Contact us today to get started.

Courtney Olbrich

Courtney Olbrich

Media & Analytics Director

Courtney is our Media & Analytics Director, located in our Myrtle Beach office. She has over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising, with a wide variety of clients. Hailing from Metro Detroit, Michigan, it comes natural that she is an avid sports fan. So much so that all of her pets are named after professional baseball stadiums!

Read more posts from Courtney