GA4. UA. Deadlines. Sunsetting. There’s plenty going on in Google Analytics at the moment.
We use Analytics a lot – we use it to gain insight into clients’ campaigns, for reporting, pinpointing errors, user experience and journey and just because we all do love a data-heavy spreadsheet; however Analytics as we know it is changing. And change isn’t always good.
Google announced the launch of GA4 on 16th March 2022, saying in the announcement:
Google Analytics 4 is our next-generation measurement solution, and it’s replacing Universal Analytics. On July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits. If you still rely on Universal Analytics, we recommend that you prepare to use Google Analytics 4 going forward.
Universal Analytics will no longer process new data in standard properties beginning July 1, 2023. Prepare now by setting up and switching over to a Google Analytics 4 property.
So, as of 1st July 2023, if we want to continue to use web analytics to monitor, track and manage our businesses and clients’ businesses, moving to Google Analytics 4 would be our only option – unless we investigate other tracking methods which would be a timely and complicated objective.
However there are some fundamental issues and problems with GA4 currently, and in my opinion, the full switch over isn’t worth it at the minute, until these issues are ironed out. Troubles with tracking, different metrics to report on…the list goes on.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run them both. In order to capture the data in GA4 and have some historical data available, you can create the account now but continue to use UA as your main reporting/tracking medium whilst issues are sorted, and I would encourage people to do that. Having a play around in GA4 whilst safe in the knowledge you can report using UA is quite a powerful position to be in, whilst still allowing you to capture older data in the new version of Analytics.
Because let’s be honest – change is coming and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. We have been given plenty of notice to get our heads around this, and for Google to sort out these initial issues. Come this time next year, we will all be using GA4 and hopefully, everything will be fine. We are usually early adopters but in this case, we feel it’s best to wait a little, run both accounts and, well, to be honest, hope for the best!