It’s a big upheaval in the world of Web Analytics that is approaching. Google just announced on his blog that the most used version of Google analytics (Universal Analytics) will stop recording any new data, forcing all web marketers to switch to Google Analytics 4.
Why Universal Analytics / Google Analytics 3 will disappear?
The main reason for this rather radical choice on the part of Google is certainly mainly linked to the problems of protection of personal data and compliance with the GDPR in Europe. Although Universal Analytics offers privacy control options, Google Analytics 4 was born in a post-GDPR era and was designed with privacy at its core.
One of the major changes is that Google Analytics 4 will no longer store IP addresses. Google certainly hopes to reduce the pressure on Google Analytics in the EU in this way, where the IP address is one of the elements used to sue Google Analytics.
When will Universal Analytics disappear?
All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop collecting new data on July 1, 2023. Universal Analytics 360 properties will stop collecting new data on October 1, 2023, for an additional 3 months.
After this date, your data will remain accessible for “at least 6 months” according to Google. A period that seems extremely weak before seeing all our historical data disappear.
What action plan to adopt to anticipate the disappearance of Universal Analytics?
1. Install Google Analytics 4
If you haven’t already, we recommend that you create a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) property now and start collecting standard pageview data.
2. Define a new marking plan
The transition to GA4 requires rethinking in part the way of monitoring the events of your website (clicks, video views, form submissions, e-commerce transactions, etc.). This is an opportunity to put everything back together in collaboration between the marketing team and the technical team.
3. Uploading and testing
In July 2023, when you want to analyze the performance of your campaigns compared to the previous year, your data will need to be reliable. So you only have 3 months, until June 2022, to:
- perform a full configuration of GA4
- set up the tagging plan (preferably via Google Tag Manager)
- do the testing, and compare the data obtained by Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4
4. Back up your historical data
Historical data is essential to assess the evolution of the performance of your website. Define what data to back up and put in place a process that will allow you to keep it and continue to use it.
How do I back up Universal Analytics data?
Your Google Analytics historical data will no longer be accessible once the fateful date has passed. Losing all this data would be a disaster. The first option to back up your data is to export it to Google Sheets so you can use it again in the future.
For this, Zee Media uses the excellent tool Supermetrics (paid), but there is also an alternative designed by Google: Google Analytics Spreadsheet add-on (free)
Contact us to define an action plan together!