You’re Probably Running Universal Analytics
Most websites out there use a version of Google Analytics code called Universal Analytics, which contains a script named analytics.js. Some sites have adopted Google’s latest: Google Analytics 4, which is commonly referred to as GA4, and some sites are concurrently running both GA4 and Universal Analytics. A smaller number of sites are running even older code, such as ga.js.
GA4 is a seismic shift in data collection and measurement. Google describes it thusly: “Google Analytics 4 operates across platforms, does not rely exclusively on cookies and uses an event-based data model to deliver user-centric measurement.”
You Need Data Continuity
Here’s the kicker: Google has announced that Universal Analytics will no longer process new data beginning July 1, 2023. That means that a website that has been running Universal Analytics will not collect data at all beginning July 1, 2023, such that any report or view will have a total drop-off on that date.
That seems aways away, yes? Well yes and no. Continuity of data is really important. Measuring site performance month-over-month or year-over-year is really important. Looking up historical data is really important.
And so too it becomes really important to ensure this continuity of data in your new GA4 account, so that by the time that Universal Analytics stops collecting data, you’ll have at least a year of data in GA4. This means that you need to set up GA4 by July 1, 2022.
We Want to Migrate You Sooner Than Later
Migrating over to GA4 is something that we feel is critically important for our clients, so we’re taking the lead. We’re building process and checklists so that we can prepare you for this transition, which we’ll help manage. Every one of our clients is now in progress or fully transitioned with GA4.
For Those With Existing Analytics Accounts
For most of our clients, we’ll be adding GA4 to run concurrently with an existing Universal Analytics account. This means our clients will have two different Properties in Google Analytics, each of them populating with data. This ensures that we stay the course with the Analytics we know and love, while collecting data in GA4 and learning how the platform works, what’s different in GA4, and how to maximize actionable insight.
Implementing in Google Tag Manager
Some clients have implemented Google Analytics code via Google Tag Manager – we have process for that as well, as implementation is different than placing the Analytics code directly on the website.
For our new clients, we’ll be reviewing the existing Analytics setup and charting out a path that ensures continuity of data or, in the case of a brand-new company with a brand-new website, starting solely with GA4 right out of the gate.
Not Just Flipping a Switch
Some specific challenges in this process are setting up fundamentally different Conversion Tracking (now entirely based on Events) and migrating Ecommerce measurement (which Google calls “high effort”).
Conclusion: Let’s Do This!
The bottom line is that we’re treating this as the big deal that it is, so that our clients continue to have the data they need to make good decisions about spend, resources and time. Both clients and prospects alike are welcome to reach out to discuss this further – we’re here for you!
LAST UPDATED: May 30, 2022