Google’s Universal Analytics tag (UA) will stop working soon.
Google has announced that they are phasing out Universal Analytics (UA) on July 1st, 2023. The Google Analytics tag is what enables us to track the number of visitors, bounce rate, and pages people have visited on your website. This tag is being replaced with a new “GA4 tag” which we are progressively installing in the sites we manage.
Rather than tracking sessions and pageviews, the new GA4 tag tracks users and events (an event is something such as a button click or watching a video). This gets around the awkward fact that “sessions” don’t accurately record the number of real people on the site, and that setting up tracking for buttons which click off to external booking sites has been technical.
GA4 brings a much better reporting interface, an action-based data model, changes to reflect user privacy, and BigQuery integration (which means we can do all sorts of interesting data dives); it also uses AI learning features.
If you are planning to do all the migration yourself then there is no fast, easy or accurate way. GA3 to GA4 migration can get challenging especially if you have dozens of tags and other tracking setups. However, our team can make the migration fast, easy and accurate.
To audit your set up and insert the new tag takes around 3 hours, depending on if you already have Google Tag Manager installed (this is a piece of code that we can put in your website, that is like a “hold all” box for tags, making it much more efficient to add tags. If we manage your website, it’s likely we have already installed this for you.)
Once installed, all visits will be tracked in GA4 from the date of install.
Further customisation of goals and conversions can be set up, to measure things like downloads, ecommerce purchases, video watches etc.
If you don’t have a Facebook pixel in your website, it’s worth doing this at the same time. If you are doing Facebook ads, then the new Business Ads Manager can be a pain in the ….. to get sorted, especially if you’ve had an agency managing your ads in the past. The current best practice is for you to “own” this set up, so you can invite or retract invitations to agencies as you see fit. We can audit if you have the Facebook Pixel set up when we do the GA4 tag. We can also address the problematic process of recovering ownership of your business ads account as needed.
Your Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data into reports. From 1 July 2023, you will see zeros in your reports (only historical data will be available).
To make matters worse, Google will also delete all your historical universal analytics data in October 2023.
Google has said you will be able to access your historical data for at least six months after Universal Analytics stops processing data. This means you have until the end of December 2023 to download any historical data and insights. After this time, you won’t be able to access any of your reports in Universal Analytics.
Unfortunately, you can’t simply upgrade your Universal Analytics property to a GA4 property. Instead, you need to set up a new GA4 property in parallel to your existing Universal Analytics property.
We will do this for you. If you have any customized reports or dashboards, (think goal conversions, event tracking, filters, ecommerce tracking, etc.), then we will need to replicate these customizations in GA4.
Google Analytics 4 is not just a minor tweak – it’s a completely new version of Google Analytics – totally reimagined from the ground up. Reporting interface, data model (how data is collected and presented ), configuration is different. It needs a totally different setup process.
If you would like us to set up GA4 tracking on your website then feel free to book your migration at Alexanders Digital Marketing. We can audit your tags to check if you need Facebook Pixel, Google Ads and or Tag Manager installed at the same time as the GA4 tag.