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Google’s Sunsetting of Universal Analytics in 2023

April 1, 2022

sunsetting universal analytics

Google announced in March 2022 that it is sunsetting Universal Analytics in July of 2023. Google Analytics is the most widely used marketing and website statistics service on the web and helps businesses measure their marketing efforts and website performance. 

Data-informed decision-making based on vigorous data collection is at the core of Noble Studios’ approach to creative digital performance marketing. Every strategy and tactic, from paid media to user experience to design, is based on one question: “What do the numbers tell us?” 

At Noble, we’ve been preparing for this transition since 2020. Here’s what we know about the sunsetting of Universal Analytics and the rise of Google Analytics 4.

Google’s Timeline for Sunsetting Universal Analytics

The key date is July 1, 2023, the day Universal Analytics will stop processing new hits. Universal Analytics 360 properties will stop processing hits on October 1, 2023.

The default for web analytics since 2012, Google’s Universal Analytics is a relic of days gone by. It wasn’t built for the modern data era, but it was an improvement over the older version of Google Analytics. It also made it easier for marketers and site owners to manage their campaigns and site traffic. 

Universal Analytics focused on page load events, a desktop web experience, and easily observable data from independent sessions using cookies–an outdated approach from both privacy and consumer technology perspectives as third-party cookies are phased out.

What is Google Analytics 4?

what is google analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 is a new version of Google’s free analytics software that provides more in-depth data and insights about how people are interacting with your website. It was also developed with user and data privacy at its core. 

The new design of Google Analytics 4 is not just for web applications but also for mobile apps. This functionality will make it easier to evaluate performance across multiple platforms.

The new interface has also been simplified to make it easier for users to find what they need when they need it. The most notable addition to this new design is a completely revamped user interface, making it easier for users to get the information they need at a glance.

google analytics 4 dashboard

What Does the End of Universal Analytics Mean for Marketers?

Google Analytics 4 is designed to help marketers target the right audience, create the best customer experience, and optimize websites to run even better. It provides marketers with more in-depth insight into their data, making it easier than ever before to get valuable data and use it to make smarter decisions about marketing strategies and initiatives.

Key Features of Google Analytics 4

  • Google Analytics 4, like Universal Analytics, will remain free to use.
  • A data import tool allows users to transfer data from other sources into Google Analytics. 
  • The custom dashboard allows users to create custom dashboards and display them on one page using “report cards” that cover specific elements.
  • A Google Tag Manager integration enables marketers, analysts and developers to manage all their tags in one place. 
  • Advanced segmentation allows users to see data from various segments side-by-side. 
  • Configurable custom alerts based on performance goals.
  • Enhanced measurement that previously would have needed one by one set up in GTM. 
  • New identity methods, plus the option to track based on three different methods, can be changed without any permanent effect on data.
  • A debug view that provides access to a real-time stream of activity.
  • New conversion tracking with more flexibility, including on/off toggling and renaming.
  • A free BigQuery integration to put your data into a sandbox account. 

Preparing for a Transition to Google Analytics 4

So, where do you get started? Consider beginning the transition to Google Analytics 4 with these initial steps:

  1. Install Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible to begin recording data.
  2. Optimize data streams configurations, including reviewing settings for:
    • Events & Conversions
    • Filtering
    • Retention
    • Attribution
    • Google Ads linking
  3. Create and customize dashboards to t=visualize and record performance to leverage Google Analytics 4’s capabilities.

With this new update, Google will provide more insights into user behavior on mobile devices and their use of location services. This means that companies can better see how their customers interact with their digital properties across different platforms. 

But this begins with making sure that Google Analytics is properly installed, configured and tracking to match your business objectives. Request a meeting with us to explore ways to optimize your transition to Google Analytics 4.

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