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Google leaves behind Universal Analytics in favor of Google Analytics 4

Time for marketers to shake off inertia and embrace GA4

Google recently announced that it will deprecate Universal Analytics next year. According to the company, Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new visits on July 1, 2023, and Universal Analytics 360 properties will stop processing new visits on October 1, 2023.

Data previously processed in Universal Analytics will be stored for at least six months after the aforementioned obsolescence dates.

Why this change?

In the words of Russell Ketchum, director of product management at Google, "Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement anchored to the desktop web, standalone sessions and more easily observable cookie data; a methodology that is quickly becoming obsolete."

How is Google Analytics 4 (GA4) different from its predecessor?

GA4 launched in October 2020 with a promise of predictive reporting, deeper integration with Google Ads and cross-device measurement capabilities. 

Since then, the company has made several updates to its new flagship analytics platform, including data-driven attribution, machine learning models, tie-in with Search Console and Search Ads 360 integration, among others.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4), unlike Universal Analytics, works across platforms, does not rely on cookies and uses an event-based data model for measurement. It also does not store IP addresses, which can help brands stay on the right side of privacy regulations.

Why is this change important?

As we have already mentioned, Google Analytics 4 is a more flexible tool than its predecessor, and this implies the possibility of constant improvements and integrations that you need to know and know how to apply: changes in the field of cookies, better identification of users browsing your websites/apps, a data driven attribution model...

But the move from GA3 to GA4 also involves major challenges beyond implementation, with a data structure that differs in many respects from UA. 

In addition, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, the data previously processed in Universal Analytics will be stored for about six months after the obsolescence dates, which means that, once that period has elapsed, companies that have not found an alternative formula to migrate them, would lose that data history irreversibly and irretrievably. This highlights the urgency to start collecting data in GA4 as soon as possible in order to start generating a history, and to find a suitable formula to avoid losing it. 

At this point, it is crucial to rely on an expert partner to find solutions and make the most of the upcoming improvements and integrations.

How do you make sure your brand is ready for these changes? At Rocket Digital, we can help.

If you have not already done so, now is the time to configure your GA4 properties

While there is still more than a year's leeway, doing so now will allow you to familiarize yourself with GA4's interface and capabilities, be better equipped to handle the transition of your brands, and start tracking the metrics that matter to your business so that historical data is there when it needs to be consulted.

Rocket Digital's team has the knowledge and experience to guide you through every step of the UA to GA4 migration process. With the help of our specialists, you will be able to adapt the current measurement to GA4 requirements, and thus ensure a correct configuration of the tool that translates into accurate data collection and adapted to the needs of your business.

If you want Rocket Digital's experts to help you prepare your business' digital strategy for the switch from UA to GA4 do not hesitate to contact us!

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