In mid-March, Google made an official announcement that their current iteration of Google Analytics, Universal Analytics, would stop processing data in 2023. The first web analytics operations were created just a few years after the birth of the internet. Alongside rapid website innovations, log analysis needed to grow more complex. Data processing allows companies to track user behavior and use this information to optimize their user experience. As the demand for these analytics grew, new analytics solutions needed to offer to track more than just page views.
What to Expect
New metrics like session playbacks, heatmaps, form analytics, traffic sources, and customer lifetime value allowed companies to create targeted advertising, optimized website copy, improved testing, and more. Google Analytics has been one of the leading analytics tools on the market for over a decade. After acquiring the data processing company Urchin in 2005, Google Analytics became a hosted analytics solution heavily focused on quantitative data. Approximately 28 million active websites use Google Analytics. Alongside website improvements, Google has developed new analytics solutions.
Google introduced Universal Analytics in 2012, allowing businesses to track users across multiple devices and platforms. This feature came alongside the assignment of user IDs. This led to offline behavior monitoring, demographics, and richer customer data. By 2016, Universal Analytics incorporated machine learning for real-time monitoring. Following the announcement made earlier this year about eliminating Universal Analytics and the introduction of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in October of 2020, you may be left with some questions. What will happen to my Universal Analytics data? How do I transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4?
How it Differs From Previous Analytics
GA4 offers new improvements in mobile and web processing, tracking engagement, counting time, cookies & privacy, and predictive analytics. Unlike Universal Analytics which tracks engagement differently across Firebase for mobile, GA4 collects comparable data in the same manner for both web and mobile. Universal Analytics also distinguished hit types, but GA4 considers every event a hit, gathering engagement data instead of just page views automatically. GA4 supports predictive analysis for customer behavior, gathering data to predict purchase probability, churn probability, and revenue expected for the next month.
Universal Analytics is a separate set of properties from Google Analytics 4, so any usage of Universal Analytics will need to be rebuilt. Because they are a separate set, there is no current direct upgrade route from Universal Analytics to GA4 and no direct method to transfer historical data. An analytics partner is essential to help make the shift for your business. You’ll need a team of experts to ensure your analytics transition goes as smoothly as possible. Are you ready to make the move to Google Analytics 4?