Google declared yesterday that Analytics 4 is replacing the previous version.
Analytics 4 is going to be Google’s cross-platform Analytics solution. Universal Analytics, aka Google Analytics 3, will stop tracking July 1, 2023.
Why? The new version has more flexibility for tracking user’s behavior on different platforms. Google Analytics 3 were mostly web (and desktop) oriented.
GA4 integrates seamlessly with other Google services, like Google Search Console (from an SEO perspective it’s crucial to understand what an user does, once landed on a website) or Ads.
If you’re a Google Analytics user, you should have received a notification about the switch.
Google Analytics 4 has a new interface and offers more data. There is a list of Google tools you can use to gather data from your website/app/e-commerce… It also provides some quick information, as well as the links to some how-to guides and tutorials.
If you are currently using GA3 (UA-), I recommend you to upgrade to Analytics 4. You’ll then benefit from the features and the tools provided by the new version.
Google Analytics 4 has a different ID and a different tracking code, so you’ll have to generate and install it. The UI changes, and you’ll need to get used to it.
Also, GA4 displays the data in a different manner, and this could not be comfortable at the beginning.
GA4 UI and its functionalities don’t give yet a sense of stability. I guess we should expect a high frequency of updates and several changes at first.
Switching to Google Analytics 4 may seem premature: it’s not
For those of you managing websites, SEO strategies or online marketing campaigns: it’s better to switch before July 2022.
That’s because you’ll have a year of historical data within a GA4 account, to perform year-on-year evaluations.
You need data to understand users behavior, even on small websites, so I recommend you to take action soon.
How can you import “old” GA3 data in Google Analytics 4?
You can’t. It’s not possible, as of today.
After July 1, 2023, with GA3 you will no longer be able to add new tracking codes, nor obtain updated analytics and reports. The whole data collection and tracking system will stop working.
Planning some tasks
Months ago, I have started to use GA4 on production websites, for the sake of being up-to-date. I know I’ll have to show the new tool to clients that still use GA3: in a year it won’t be available anymore.
I hope it won’t be too difficult, but I’m jotting down a brief roadmap that may come in handy:
- My own training to understand how to get the data I want and/or need. When: now.
- Implementation of the new tag on old websites. When: now.
- Update reports and/or dashboards to receive and display data from GA4. Deadline: next July.
- Migrate the settings of the old websites at any level necessary (view/properties/accounts maybe). Deadline: next July. Chop chop.
- Work closely with clients doing Ads: it’s most likely Google Ads looks on GA for data. Aw, I’m an SEO specialist, I’d leave this to the marketing guy. Deadline: next July. Chop chop, marketing guy.
- Keep hoping the guys behind Privacy and Cookies Regulations will make compliance easier. When: who knows…
Many small, medium businesses and professionals will find difficult to update their Analytics by themselves. Therefore, they risk to fall behind their competitors. They don’t usually have a digital marketing department nor rely on big agencies.
The best option for them is to work with experienced specialists. I’d like to recommend you someone 😉