If you are using Google Analytics to measure the performance of your website or app, then by now you should be aware that the current version of Google Analytics, known as Universal Analytics, is being sun-setted, and that data collection will stop on July 1, 2023.
This is for all accounts using standard Google Analytics web properties and businesses should be aware that by this date you should have migrated to Google’s new web analytics platform, Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
Some more complex features (such as goals, audiences, and Google Ads links) require more time to migrate. If you use these features, you’ll have at least one additional month to opt out. You can opt out at any time before your GA4 property is automatically configured.
Even though it has been possible to migrate to GA4 (previously known as App + Web) for approximately three years, there are still a great number of website owners who have not made that transition. Therefore, by the time you read this, you may well have received a message from Google saying that they will soon configure GA4 for you, which will take place after February 28, 2023.
If you've started to migrate some of your site tags, goals, audiences, Google Ads links, and/or goals and audiences used in Google Ads, but you haven't completed setup by early 2023, your property is also eligible to have additional settings configured automatically.
Whilst it may sound convenient that Google is prepared to do the legwork for you to migrate your web analytics on your behalf, the reality is that for most websites, this is not the best way forward, and may also create some unwelcome and laborious work for you to do.
An automated migration will take place for any standard Google Analytics web property that has received data in the last 12 months and that has not been opted out of the automated migration process.
You can also compare key metrics from your Universal Analytics property to those in your new Google GA4 and take steps to align configuration and bring the metric counts as close as possible.
They will attempt to use an existing analytics site tag where that exists and attempt to convert the Universal Analytics events, goals, and conversions for the GA4 data model.
In reality, this solution is only suitable for websites that have the most basic of analytics measurement in place; so, if you are just tracking page views and interested in headline metrics like bounce rate and high-level traffic source information then this approach will work.
For enterprise-sized businesses most implementations have far more moving parts than this; you may be collecting events with a lot of dynamic information, enriching your tracking using custom dimensions or content groupings, recording ecommerce transactions or have integrations with Google or other third-party software. If this is the case, automated migration is not going to support these use cases.
To add to the confusion, the automated migration setting may still be enabled for web properties that you have already migrated to GA4. So, come March 2023, you could well end up with a lot of new GA4 web properties being created in your account containing data that is of very little or no use or that you do not require that you will have to perform housekeeping upon.
Here at Mando, we recommend using the move to GA4 as an opportunity to not only re-tool to make the best use of Google’s new analytics platform, but also to improve the insights and value that you get from your analytics.
If you have not yet migrated to GA4 or have concerns ahead of this automated migration deadline, do not hesitate to reach out to us.