It is the end of an era - almost.
On July 1st 2023, Universal Analytics will stop processing data. Universal Analytics has been the standard for measuring web traffic since 2012. However, a lot has changed in that time, and Google has developed GA4 to reflect these changes.
Universal Analytics was developed at a time when mobile usage was very rare. The system also relies on cookies. This means measurements may be inaccurate, as users can easily block cookies.
GA4 works more effectively across platforms and doesn’t rely exclusively on cookies.
Preventing data loss
While it may seem like there is a long time to prepare for the transition from Universal Analytics to GA4, steps should be taken now!
GA4 accounts should be set up as soon as possible. If GA4 is set up and deployed before July 2022, you will have a year of data to draw on when UA stops measuring hits. This is vital for the year-on-year comparisons that can show if a campaign is successful.
Deploying GA4 early also ensures you have time to test the set-up, ensure that audiences are being measured accurately and that the events you want to track are being tracked.
After all, deploying any new technology takes time to perfect, and can result in loss of data if not deployed properly.
It makes sense to deploy GA4 while Universal Analytics is still processing data, so you can easily compare audience numbers.
Advantages of GA4
When GA4 was first announced, it was met with some controversy. After all, data can’t be transferred from UA to GA4, so marketers were concerned about data loss.
However, using other methods to measure that aren’t dependent on cookies should mean measurements are less influenced by user settings.
Data loss can also be minimised by setting up and deploying GA4 as soon as possible.
At mtc, we are in the process of deploying GA4 across our client list. This will ensure that they, and we, don’t miss out on vital audience information.