Paid Media

Google Announcement: Sunsetting Google Universal Analytics

Google has just announced the sunset of Google Universal Analytics.

What does this mean?

  • Both Google Universal Analytics and Google Universal Analytics 360 will be sunset
  • The cutoff date is July 1, 2023 for Google Universal Analytics customers and October 1, 2023 for Google Universal Analytics 360 customers
  • GA4 Analytics 360 is currently in beta through December 31st, 2022

From the dates outlined above, Google will no longer be processing any hits coming from Google Universal Analytics properties and data will drop to zero. Google are encouraging all advertisers to set-up both Universal Analytics and GA4 to provide alternate views, whilst the transition is in progress.

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 started as Firebase Analytics, an app measurement product that Google later positioned as the successor to Google Universal Analytics.

  • It is the acknowledgement of the rise of apps as an integral part of the customer experience (including all app/web data in one view)
  • It is a brand new product with no ties with Google Universal Analytics
  • It gives more latitude to bring Google Analytics to the next level
  • It better integrates with 360 products

Google Analytics 4 brings very exciting features to the table when it comes to audiences, incl. predictive analytics, powerful segmentation abilities and strong deep-dive features in terms of analytics. For data collection, Google relies on one approach only and it brings a significant boost in terms of data quality. On privacy, it comes with better controls and Google will no longer store the IP address. However, it also comes with a gap in terms of ease of use for reporting compared to Google Analytics Universal Analytics. Some reports are missing from the user interface, segments come with limitations for regular reports and marketing channels are no longer customizable. The user interface is also now slightly different, requiring users to learn a new navigation along with Google Analytics 4 new features. Finally, the pricing model is changing too. Whilst Google Analytics 4 retains a free option, for those clients using the 360 version, pricing moves from a fixed price to a variable model based on number of events.

What do you need to do?

Google announcement removes the uncertainty around the two versions of Google Analytics and you can now start working in.

  • Start reviewing your Google Universal Analytics set up: it is time to review your implementation, assess your technical debt and get your data layer up-to-speed
  • Get familiar with Google Analytics 4: Google provides demo accounts for Google Analytics 4, both for web and app. It can help you get a sense of where the differences are and what to expect from this new product.
  • Prepare for a data back-up and think Google Cloud: start exporting all the data that you need before the cutoff date out of Google Universal Analytics. For paid customers, consider activating Google Cloud Data Transfers and it will backfill 13 months of data or 10 billion hits

How VERB can help

This is an excellent time to review your analytics and reporting needs.  Moving to GA4 is a new interface and has a wider scope in terms of what can be reported and insights that can be brought to light.  That said in order for this to work well we need to ensure that all the tags, filters and tracking – our data layer are setup correctly.  So we would start this process with an audit, we can then build out the next steps for either Verb or your internal teams to implement.

In addition to this we can also provide training to your teams, so that they fully understand the new features and how to navigate around GA4.  The good news is actioning this now gives us all plenty of time to get used to GA4 before we have to move away from our current setup next year.

We are full Google Partners. We have a skilled team of in-house data and Google stack experts. Get in touch if you’re interested in speaking more to our team about future proofing your brand.