The digital marketing landscape is witnessing a significant shift as Google officially replaces Universal Analytics (UA) with Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This transition marks a historic moment in the realm of digital marketing, compelling advertisers to adapt to the new platform or seek alternatives outside of Google’s ecosystem.
The Sunset of Universal Analytics
The shutdown of Universal Analytics has commenced, with ominous messages appearing on UA accounts warning users of the impending cessation of data processing. This means that to measure website performance, users will need to establish a Google Analytics 4 property.
Despite the shutdown, UA is still processing some data in the United States. However, Google has clarified that the shutdown is being rolled out in stages, which is why some data remains accessible. All active UA properties are queued for deletion, which will occur on a rolling basis.
The Rise of Google Analytics 4
Google Analytics 4 is being hailed as the next-generation measurement solution. It is not just a replacement for Universal Analytics but a significant upgrade. Google has been urging marketers to migrate to GA4 for over a year, emphasizing its advanced features and capabilities.
In a statement on the Analytics Help Center and on Twitter, Google announced, “Today, we begin shutting down Universal Analytics as we welcome you to Google Analytics 4. This will not happen overnight, so some Universal Analytics properties may continue to process data. However, all properties have now been added to the queue, and those that have not completed the upgrade will Jumpstart on a rolling basis.”
The Transition Timeline
The transition from UA to GA4 is being carried out in stages. In March 2023, Google automatically created a GA4 property for marketers who didn’t opt out of the automatic property creation option. By July 2023, UA will stop processing hits, including standard properties in accounts that also contain 360 properties. Marketers will still have access to previously processed data in their UA property until July 2024.
By July 2024, all marketers, including those with 360 properties, will no longer have access to the UA user interface and API. Google encourages users to make the switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible, especially those who use Universal Analytics data in their Google Ads account.
The transition to Google Analytics 4 is a significant shift in the digital marketing landscape. As Universal Analytics sunsets, marketers must adapt to the new platform and leverage its advanced features to track the performance of their websites and campaigns effectively.