Why it makes sense
to now switch to
Google Analytics 4

The predecessor of Google Analytics 4, Universal Analytics, will be turned off in July 2023. Therefore, it is time to switch from Universal Analytics to
Google Analytics 4.

Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has already been the new Google Analytics standard since October 2020. There have been no new features or updates for its predecessor Universal Analytics (UA) since then.
Despite the official recommendation to migrate to Google Analytics 4, the use of Universal Analytics is still possible without any problems.

In mid-March, Google officially announced the end of the Universal Analytics era. As of July 1, 2023, data collection with Universal Analytics Free Properties will no longer be possible, meaning no new hits will be processed.
The deadline for Google Analytics 360 Properties will then follow on October 1, 2023.

After the July deadline, you will still have access to previously processed data in Universal Analytics Properties for at least 6 months. A specific date until when these Properties will be available will be announced in the coming months. After this date, no more Universal Analytics reports will be viewable and no more Universal Analytics data will be accessible. Consequently, Universal Analytics users will lose their historical data.

Therefore, it is now time to switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. The switch is comparable to a tool switch, as there were many adjustments and innovations between the two versions.

Google Analytics 4: The innovations at a glance

Even if Google Analytics is not yet fully developed in some places, the new Analytics standard already offers many attractive innovations.

GA4 presents a beautiful, modern and above all clear reporting interface.

An example of this is the library with which the detail menu on the left side can be customized.

Instead of the previous ABC lifecycle (acquisition, behavior, conversion), GA4 now has the customer lifecycle (acquisition, engagement, monetization, retention).

Apps and web were previously separated. This is now a thing of the past.

With GA4, there are several automatically captured events (first_visit, session_start, user_engagement). Optionally, more automatically captured events can be added with the "Enhanced Measurements" (page_view, scroll, click, file_download, video engagement).

Unlike UA, GA4 is event-based and no longer hit-based. In addition to automatically captured and recommended events, custom events can be used to track anything.

The way reports are accessed has changed. In GA4, there are significantly fewer standard reports, but the "Explore Mode" allows much more complex and in-depth analysis options.

Real-time reports have also been optimized compared to UA.

With the new Analytics Insights, data is examined for anomalies and abnormalities. Over time, the analytics become even more accurate and are constantly learning.

Compared to UA, there are more data control options with GA4. IP addresses are automatically anonymized.

Our recommendation

Don't wait until the last second, but switch to Google Analytics 4 right now and use both tools in parallel until July 1, 2023. Why? There is no seamless transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, because with the new Analytics standard, data collection also starts all over again in a new data pot. The previously collected data will not be carried over in the new Property. When upgrading the existing Universal Analytics Property, the data will not be emigrated but a new Google Analytics 4 Property will be created additionally. Only certain settings can be transferred from Universal Analytics.

So, the sooner you upgrade to Google Analytics 4, the greater the available data history until July 2023. We recommend three points in time by when the switch should be made:

July 1, 2022 - one year of data history by the deadline.
January 1, 2023 - six months of data history by the deadline.
July 1, 2023 - the longest time to make the switch, but no historical data to do so.

Even though Google is pushing, don't be hasty and migrate to Google Analytics 4 completely without thinking. Take your time and plan the migration carefully. Take the opportunity to question your current setup and say goodbye to legacy data that you may no longer need.

We will be happy to assist you and help you migrate quickly and easily from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4.
Do you still have questions about the topic, or would you like to learn more? Then please feel free to contact us.

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