GA4 will replace Google Analytics in 2023
Google UA is dead. Long live GA4! If you own a website and use Google Analytics to measure performance, then this news is huge! New data collection will cease in July 2023 and historical data will disappear after Jan 2024.
On 16th March 2022 Russell Ketchum, Director of Product Management at Google Analytics posted this blog article. Prepare for the future with Google Analytics 4. In it he wrote:
“All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. Given the new Analytics 360 experience was recently introduced, Universal Analytics 360 properties will receive an additional three months of new hit processing, ending on October 1, 2023.”
As a results driven agency and Google Partner, Applied Digital Marketing has used Google Analytics since day one to gather data, measure performance and make informed decisions that deliver success for our clients. Most Applied web development and digital marketing clients are already on GA4 and we’ll be setting up the remaining ones well before July 2023.
Why is Google Analytics being replaced?
Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement of desktop web, independent sessions and easily observable data from cookies. This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete as companies such as Apple increasingly build privacy into their products.
GA4 was introduced two and a half years ago to address evolving measurement standards and to provide a better experience for their customers and users, with privacy at its core. GA4 doesn’t rely exclusively on cookies and uses an event-based data model to deliver user-centric measurement.
How is the digital marketing world reacting to Google Analytics being sunsetted?
The world of web development and digital marketing is innovative and progressive however, there will always be resistance to some forms of change, especially when the new solution appears to be a lesser product. The reaction on Twitter looked like this.
@Andy_Head - CEO Adido
“It's incredibly annoying, unsatisfactory, frustrating and all of that and more. I REALLY hope that we all wake up and look elsewhere for analytics but I doubt it'll happen en masse.”
“This is a shockingly terrible way to move forward @googleanalytics. Nobody I know wants or likes GA4, and surely nobody wants to lose years or even a decade+ of historical data and experience huge interruptions to analytics due to this decision. A colossal mistake.”
Amongst many though, there is a sense of inevitability and willingness to embrace the change.
@Fred_Pike - MD Northwoods
“Lots of panic/excitement about yesterday's GA3 sunsetting announcement. Stepping back a bit, I don’t think it’s bad news.”
@ClariseMalone - Marketer
“The use of data is incredibly powerful... Using BigQuery with Google Analytics 4 will set you ahead of the curve in terms of finding new ways to utilize data.”
What are the main differences between Google Analytics and GA4?
GA4 and UA are almost two different products in terms of data models, infrastructure, capabilities, interface, and user experience. GA4 is using an event-based data collection method whereas UA is using a hit-based one. GA4 is also AI and machine learning powered with more cross device reporting. There are many other benefits of GA4, and we expect there is even more to come in the near future as Google heavily invests in Google Analytics 4.
How can Google Analytics 4 support your business?
- Understand your customers across touchpoints
- Improve ROI with data-driven attribution
- Measure engagement and conversions with business and compliance needs in mind
- Get greater value from your data
- Easily activate your insights.
Does GA4 integrate with Shopify?
A native integration for Shopify Google Analytics 4 doesn't exist at the moment. Unless you’re on a Shopify Plus plan, you can’t fully configure Google GA4, there is no way of measuring conversions.
What should I do to prepare for the end of Google Analytics?
Remember, historical GA data will disappear forever from Jan 2024. Set up GA4 today to start collecting your website data and if necessary export historical UA data via API to Google Sheets. Google has released this information on how to make the switch to Google Analytics 4.
With over 20 years of web development and digital marketing experience we’ve seen plenty of platforms come and go. The reason we love what we do is because it’s creative, innovative and dynamic, so we’re embracing GA4 and looking at the new opportunities it brings.