Google to Sunset Universal Analytics in July 2023

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Google is sunsetting Universal Analytics (UA) on July 1, 2023 and it will stop processing data on this date. Universal Analytics will also no longer receive updates, bug fixes or technical support and will be phased out completely in the near future.

Universal Analytics will be replaced by the latest version of Analytics called Google Analytics 4 (GA4). GA4 is intended to provide more thorough insights on how users interact with your website and help you to comply with privacy laws like the GDPR and CCPA.

What is Sunsetting?

Sunsetting is the intentional phasing out or termination of something, and in business, the term is used often regarding brands, partnerships, agreements, policies, and hardware and software.

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What Does Google Analytics Do?

Google Analytics is a free tool that provides information about a website’s performance. Some of the information it provides includes:-

  • How many users visit your website
  • Where they come from
  • Which device they’re using

This data is useful for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and marketing purposes.

What’s Different in Google Analytics 4?

GA4 and Universal Analytics are very similar tools and designed to do much of the same thing. They work very differently though.

There are several new privacy controls in Google Analytics 4 which are perhaps the most important difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics. Privacy concerns with Universal Analytics are one of the main reasons for it being phased out. The privacy features in GA4 can help you to comply with most data privacy laws.

  • GA4 collects data from websites and applications using an event-based model and doesn’t rely on cookies for tracking.
  • GA4 doesn’t store IP addresses which helps to comply with privacy laws.
  • There are several new features to help businesses gain deeper insights into user behavior, like enhanced cross-device tracking, machine-learning powered insights and improved reporting capabilities.
  • Analytics 4 uses a more streamlined data model that allows for easier data collection and processing. This can help to improve data accuracy and reduce data discrepancies.
  • GA4 is designed to be more flexible and adaptable to changes in technology and user behavior.

Phasing Out of Universal Analytics – What Do I Need to Do?

If you created your Analytics Property after October 14, 2020, you’re probably already using a Google Analytics 4 property and you may not need to do anything else.

If you’ve been using a Universal Analytics property, you can use the Google Analytics 4 Property Setup Assistant and select the option to automatically create a GA4 property for you that includes basic configuration settings based on your UA settings.

Using the GA4 property setup assistant to include basic configuration settings
The automatic setup panel in Google Analytics

If you have a WordPress website, perhaps the easiest way to set up and configure your Analytics 4 property is with the Google Site Kit plugin. You’ll find the plugin in the WordPress Plugins Directory in your admin area.

install-google-site-kit-plugin
Installing the Google Site Kit plugin from the WordPress Plugins Directory

Google Site Kit will allow you to create an Analytics Property and configure it without having to leave your admin area.

Time is Running Out for Universal Analytics

If you use Google Analytics to study your website’s usage, it’s important to have a new GA4 property in place before 1 July, 2023. Remember that even though you’ll have access to the data collected by Universal Analytics for a while still, it will stop collecting data in July.

Cimeron Collins

Cimeron Collins

Cimeron is an artist and designer with more than 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industries.

He is an avid WordPress enthusiast and passionate about learning and experimenting with new developments and technology in website design and development.

He lives in Edenvale, South Africa with his wife Tamay.

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