Google has recently announced that it is sunsetting Universal Analytics (which most people just call Google Analytics) in July 2023. The new version, named GA4, will be replacing it going forwards – and it’s still free. You may have already seen messages or emails about this from Google.
That’s a long way away….
Although this seems to be far in the future, it’s common to need to compare data across periods of time, usually up to a year. To ensure that you have a whole year of data by the time Universal Analytics stops working, GA4 needs to be implemented by July 2022. This will also allow you to compare the two data sets to identify any differences and mitigate any effects on your organisation.
So, what’s different about GA4?
Google has been working on GA4 (previously named App+Web) for a while. With the internet changing from a simple page-centred system to one using complex interactive frameworks such as React, not to mention mobile apps, smartwatches and TVs, a new structure for tracking user behaviour was needed that could cope with all these new systems.
As part of this, GA4’s underlying data structures have been updated. The result is, that although the outputs appear similar, the data and how it is measured are not directly comparable to that from Universal Analytics.
To switch over to GA4, a new tracking code will need to be added; and any custom tracking for the site will also need to be ported over.