If you haven’t heard (or seen the announcements in your Google Analytics dashboard), the deadline for upgrading your Universal Analytics (UA) properties to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is approaching.
Starting July 1, 2023, UA properties will stop processing new incoming data from your website, and historical data from your UA properties will only be available to be viewed, exported or saved until December 31, 2023.
To ensure you’re able to continue tracking your website users’ behavior and engagement in any ancillary activities enabled by website analytics tracking — such as paid online advertising — you need to upgrade your website tracking from the legacy UA property to GA4 before the July deadline.
Even though the conversion process can be cumbersome, especially since GA4 is still going through many changes to achieve parity with UA properties, there’s still time to help ensure a seamless transition to GA4 that enables you to harness the full potential of this new and improved platform — so long as you get started on your transition soon.
But first, let’s examine what is GA4, UA versus GA4, why it’s crucial for your organization to migrate to GA4 as soon as possible and how you can get it done easily and efficiently.
What’s new in GA4?
Google Analytics is the leading analytics platform for organizations to monitor their websites’ performance, user behavior and marketing campaign success.
However, your users can access your websites and mobile apps from nearly any device, from just about any location on the globe, and global privacy regulations have made the practice of collecting and using user activity data more technically difficult than ever before. Because of these changes, Google has recognized the need for an updated platform that offers more comprehensive and actionable insights for websites and mobile apps in one location with a standard data schema.
GA4 is their new analytics system that provides a holistic view of your users’ journey — combining data from your website and mobile applications all in one place.
GA4 boasts several key improvements over its predecessor, including:
- Enhanced measurement and custom event tracking: With GA4, it’s now easier than ever to track user behavior and certain interactions on your website. Combining automatically collected events with custom events deployed through Google Tag Manager allows you to collect more granular data and make more informed decisions.
- Accurate cross-device tracking: GA4 enables cross-device tracking for businesses with websites and mobile apps — tracked as data streams. This means you can follow a user’s journey across multiple devices and platforms, giving you a more comprehensive view of their experience within one interface and data schema.
- Automated and custom insights: GA4 uses machine learning to generate insights and predictions that help you make smarter decisions about your marketing campaigns and customer engagement strategies. You can also tailor insights to your specific needs.
- Robust privacy controls: GA4 was built with privacy in mind (for example, IP masking is enabled by default in GA4 properties), offering more control over data collection and compliance with user data protection regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.
Is this really that important?
Not only is the conversion required if you want to continue tracking user behavior on your website, but the advantages of upgrading to GA4 are clear. You can more accurately track metrics, view insights into how users interact with your brand across multiple devices, gain AI-generated insights and ensure stronger privacy protections than were ever available for UA.
However, migrating to GA4 can be a challenging and time-consuming task, especially for properties with extensive data histories and customized tracking setups. With this July 1 deadline approaching, organizations that fail to migrate to GA4 risk losing access to all of their incoming analytics data, which will make it impossible to monitor performance and make informed decisions.
When you to switch to GA4 as soon as possible, you can avoid any interruptions in data tracking and analysis.
How Wipfli can help you meet the GA4 migration deadline
Wipfli specializes in helping businesses migrate to GA4 with ease. We can make your transition as smooth as possible with:
- Customized migration plans tailored to meet your specific needs and help ensure you don’t lose any valuable data in the process.
- Specialized guidance that helps ensure you’re fully equipped to utilize GA4 to its fullest potential.
- Time and resource savings that allow you to focus on growing your business while we handle the technical details.
- Ongoing support to help you make the most of GA4's features and ensure that your analytics setup continues to evolve with your business’s needs.
Learn more about how to transition to GA4 and how we can help you start collecting more comprehensive and insightful analytics data and get set up for success on GA4.
Sign up to receive additional content in your inbox or continue reading on:
This article was co-written by Mark Gorney, senior consultant at Wipfli.