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Google Universal Analytics Users Need a Plan For Migration

Thomas Østergaard Christensen
Director, Valtech

June 29, 2022

Google introduced GA4 as their next-generation analytics solution almost three years ago. Since then, Google has been developing GA4 as the next analytics solution to replace Universal Analytics. If your company is one of many using Universal Analytics, it is time to plan for a migration.


What is Happening?

Google has announced end of life for Universal Analytics by July 01, 2023. In March, Google announced that GA4 is ready to take over as the next-gen analytics solution and will be sunsetting Universal Analytics in 2023.

Key dates:

  • July 1, 2023 — Standard Universal Analytics properties will stop collecting data.
  • October 1, 2023 —Paid 360 Universal Analytics properties will stop collecting data.
  • Post 2023 — No more access to historical data.

For this reason, it’s paramount that companies put a plan in place to migrate their tracking from Universal Analytics to GA4, as well as to extract all historical data from the UA properties via the BigQuery export or via the API.


What is GA4?

GA4 is Google’s next-gen analytics solution that provides a complete cross-platform and cross-channel view of the user life cycle and uses machine learning to deliver out-of-the-box insights.

  • Built-in compliance capabilities
  • Built-in capability to track both mobile and web performance
  • Built-in analytics insights


How it works:


What Are the Benefits?

As a next generation analytics solution, GA4 comes with several improvements. Here are some of the benefits offered by GA4 compared to Universal Analytics, making it more than a pure migration but also a step up on analytical capabilities and help solving some data privacy concerns.

  • GA4 has a higher focus on privacy and compliance, e.g., through built-in IP anonymization.
  • GA4 will help you stitching together the user journey thanks to its user-centric analytics and event-driven data model.
  • GA4 leverages machine learning and statistical modeling to fill in data gaps as the world becomes less and less dependent on cookies.
  • GA4 automatically enriches datasets using machine-learning to predict the future behavior
    of users
  • GA4 offers enhanced integrations with Google's advertising platforms to optimize campaign performance and drive greater marketing ROI.
  • GA4 collects and combines data from both app and website.


What To Do Now?

If you do not already have it planned out, it is time to come up with a plan to ensure a smooth transition from Universal Analytics to GA4.

We recommend planning with the following activities

  • Assessment and mapping—Gather business requirements and review existing setup to ensure all business-critical data is collected with GA4 and historical data is extracted to avoid data loss.
  • Historical data export—Export your data from Universal Analytics and store it to allow historical comparison.
  • Tracking migration, configuration, and integrations—Migrate all your GA4 tracking and remove all Universal Analytics legacy tracking. Configure GA4 and ensure your account is structured and setup for your organization’s unique needs. Connect solutions that should send or receive data from GA4 and/or Google BigQuery.
  • Training—Introduce your team to the GA4 platform and enable them for analysis, audience creation and sharing, reporting and dashboarding.
  • Reporting—Adapt all business-critical reports and dashboards to ensure Business-as-usual when Universal Analytics stops processing data.

This forced migration might be a good opportunity to review your KPI framework and data points – could you benefit from adding and/or cleaning up in your tracking to get additional insights from your data and be even more data driven going forward?

And an opportunity to consider a step up in learning and analytical focus to get the most out of the new data capabilities.


If you need help setting up your migration plan, contact us today and allow our experts to help.

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