Google analytics is moving on. Version 4 has been available for some time now but this month, Google has announced that the previous version (known as Universal Analytics) will be retired from June 30 2023.
We are big Google Analytics users, we install it routinely on our new builds as well as in sites that we manage. Needless to say, we have some work ahead of us!
This article focuses on our own clients and how we intend to help them navigate this change.
Google Analytics has iterated through a number of versions, with the predominant version being ‘Universal Analytics’. This version is the standard that we have been using for some time now. In the past, Google moved from one version to the next and it was relatively seamless. With their latest update Google Analytics 4, this is not the case. It’s a complete shift from one version to another.
There is still one year before Google will disable Universal Analytics, we plan to move our users now so that for the next twelve months data is pushed into both versions of Google Analytics. This means that you will be able to continue to use Universal Analytics to see both your current data and historical data.
July 2023 will see Google stop the flow of new data into Universal Analytics, forcing users to use Google Analytics 4. At this point, if we send data to both systems now, you will have at least the next twelve months of historical data to work with.
It’s not completely clear but we believe users will still be able to access Universal Analytics for some time to view historical data from July 2023.
We know that not all users pore over their analytics data each day ( or even week or month). In the WordPress dashboard we install the Google Analytics reports so even if you just after some casual stats on your website traffic, you can view these directly from the WordPress dashboard.
Nothing will change here. While we are feeding data to both Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4, these dashboard reports will look the same, and allow you to view the same data.
In short: everything. It’s not really an upgrade but a rethink of what the system does. Hence the reason that it’s not a seamless change over. The interface, reporting, all of the tools are very different. Some things like ‘goals’ that have been a commonly used feature are not there at all (these are now handled as events).
This is another benefit of using both systems for the next twelve months. You can view your data in Universal Analytics, the system that you’re familiar with. And when you have time view the same data in Google Analytics 4, to begin to learn how it works.
Here’s is the good news, if you’re a client of ours, we’ll be contacting you regarding these changes very shortly (May 2022). In cases where we have access to your Google Analytics system and you have a webmaster agreement or support tickets we’ll just make the change and you’re done.
If we need access to your Google system we’ll also be contacting you to arrange this.
If you’d like to dive in deeper with this migration, or perhaps learn more about Google Analytics 4 here are some additional resources:
This article from the MonsterInsights blog is a good overview – Universal Analytics Sunset: What it Means & What to Do Now.
From the same article, there is a good video, if you prefer to watch than read right now: