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Google Universal Analytics Goodbye - how to prepare

By 19 May 2022No Comments
Universal Analytics goodbye - cover

From 1 July 2023 Google decided to retire Universal Analytics, the popular data analysis tool for websites. True, there is still more than a year to go before the deadline, but this announcement was enough to shake up the insiders, who are already starting to prepare for the change.

Although Google has released the new version of the tool, Google Analytics 4, already in 2022, many specialists and numerous companies continued to prefer its predecessor, discouraged by the changes introduced. Now, however, you can no longer choose, the handover will take place and you must also hurry. 

Universal Analytics passes the baton

Google announced the farewell to Universal Analytics on March 16, 2022, almost a year and a half in advance, to allow its users to prepare properly for the change. To switch to GA4in fact, it is not only necessary to make a backup of the previously collected data, but it is important to become familiar with the new tool. 

Analytics 4 in fact it introduces a series of innovations that need some time to be understood and mastered. At the same time, it becomes essential to start recording data on these new parameters as soon as possible. With a year of data already stored, you will surely be ready to face the passing of the baton in July next year. 

What changes

Compared to Universal Analytics, GA4 introduces new metrics, eliminates others (such as the bounce-rate) and reshapes the functioning of some pre-existing metrics.

For example, Universal Analytics used i cookies However, to keep track of users who visit a site, this tracking method had a big disadvantage. Let's assume, as often happens, that a user uses different devices during the day, moving from the PC to the tablet, to the mobile phone. In this case Universal Analytics is unable to recognize that the person behind these logins was only one, but treats them as three different users. 

In reverse, Analytics 4 is able to monitor the navigation of a single user across different platforms and devices. The data collected are therefore more accurate and allow you to "follow" a user in his navigation on the web. 

More generally, Universal Analytics based data collection on the concept of session, while GA4 uses tracking based on events. This strongly affects the structure of the collected data and also has consequences in the migration phase between the two tools.

In these lines we will not enter the technical details relating to the new instrument, since we have already had the opportunity to talk about it in this article, while in this article we have made an easy guide to Analytics 4. For the purposes of this discussion, it is more useful to understand what happens with the migration from Universal Analytics to GA4.

The move from Universal Analytics to Analytics 4

The transition from Universal Analytics to GA4 it is simply impossible. Wait, don't panic, let me explain. 

In fact it would be better to say that the structure of the data collected by UA is GA4 is different and therefore they cannot be transferred. Therefore, when you upgrade to Analytics 4 new properties are created without data, which must be collected from scratch.  

These operations do not affect the properties of Universal Analytics, which will continue to collect data in parallel, until the service is interrupted. About this Google has already stated that the property UA they will be accessible for another 6 months, beyond the deadline of 30 June 2023. However, a precise date is still missing. 

The reasons for the change

The reasons for the transition to GA4 are closely linked to the new policy adopted by Google. For some years now the company of Mountain View in fact, it has changed course, also driven by the laws enacted in numerous countries, towards greater protection of the privacy of web users. 

In Italy, for example, since January of this year it is no longer possible to use the profiling cookies without the consent of the interested parties (for those interested, we talked about it here). Google itself has long announced that, starting from 2023, the Chrome browser will no longer support third-party cookies (here in our article).

No longer being able to rely on these precious tools, things were bound to change. The trend pushes towards an ever greater safeguard of user privacy, but at the same time we must try not to penalize too much the companies involved in the digital marketing. Without a valid data collection system (which at the same time preserves user privacy), the latter are placed in serious difficulty. 

The new Google Analytics 4 it has been studied for these purposes, being able to work both in the presence of cookies, both in their absence. 

There is no time to lose

The time to make the switch from Universal Analytics to GA4 it may seem like a lot but in reality, as we have seen, it is not a lot. In order not to be caught unprepared, it is essential to implement GA4 as soon as possible. 

In the section News of our site you will find a lot of useful information on Universal Analytics, Analytics 4 and everything related to the handover between the two instruments. However, to fully exploit its potential, it is better to rely on a team of competent experts, always updated on the latest news, like us at Digife

Contact us for more information or for a personalized quote.

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