02 June 2023 | Digital Marketing

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Is Replacing Universal Analytics (UA)

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Google has been preparing for this transition for a long time, the move from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

This month, Google has been sending their users messages for them to be aware of the end of UA. This has created some worry for businesses, but there’s no need to stress as marketers knew this day was coming and have been preparing.

At Chameleon, we’ve been learning all about GA4 ourselves and introducing our clients to it, always staying one step ahead in the evolving digital landscape.

This transition from UA to GA4 signifies a new era in data analytics, with Google paving the way for more sophisticated and comprehensive insights into user behaviour.

What Is Changing for Universal Analytics (UA)?

Universal Analytics will no longer collect data on website users after 1st July 2023. From this date, you’ll have access to your UA account for at least 6 months, but it won’t have any fresh data.

You’ll also be able to export all your historic data during this period. Make sure you do export your data, because after 6 months you’ll no longer have access to it.

This update has been in the works for many years. Ever since Google announced its plan to move away from third-party cookies. However, so have the preparations to cope with the changes, as digital marketers and many businesses relied on this data to grow.

Google is replacing UA with Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the next gen of Google’s Analytics tools.

What’s Different with Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

With the end of UA getting closer, Google has been fine-tuning their replacement, GA4, over the last few years. 

GA4 has been the default Google Analytics property since 14th October 2020. So if you’ve created a property after this date, it’s likely you’ve already got a GA4 property. But if your Google Analytics property was set up before this date, you’ll need to switch to a GA4 property.

The new platform boasts a plethora of advanced features and enhanced functionalities. GA4 collects website and app data for a wider understanding of the customer journey, as well as analysing data that’s event-based not session-based.

Additionally, GA4 incorporates machine learning algorithms and AI technologies. Enabling businesses to extract valuable insights from vast datasets, and facilitating more informed decision-making.

Why Is Google Replacing UA with GA4?

UA doesn’t have the ability to analyse insights across different platforms. It was built for a world of desktop web-searching and individual website sessions. 

The new GA4 will be able to provide cross-platform insights for businesses. It’s also much more privacy-focused than previous analytics. 

This is because users are more aware of the fact that their data has been collected and stored without their knowledge. It’s important for Google to give their users full control over their own data.

GA4 is more forward than UA because it doesn’t rely so heavily on cookies, which is where UA collected much of its data from. Relating to the international privacy concerns, the phase out of third-party cookies means it’s crucial for the new GA4 property to not rely on cookies.

Migrate from UA (Universal Analytics) to GA4 (Google Analytics)

Google is making the process as seamless as possible to move to GA4. To ensure their UA customers stay with them.

If you’ve not begun to transfer to a GA4 property from your UA property, Google is prompting all users to complete this process. 

Moving from UA to GA4 with Chameleon
Moving from UA to GA4 with Chameleon | Chameleon Web Services ®

It’s best to set up your GA4 property as soon as possible. This is because it will only allow you to view data about your website users from the day the property is set up. GA4 won’t backdate any data.

Historic data also won’t move from any UA properties onto a GA4 property. This is why Google is emphasising the need to export your historic data before you no longer have access to it. The date is yet to be confirmed, but Google has said it will be at least 6 months after 1st July 2023 (when UA stops collecting data).

Get in touch with Chameleon

The migration process can be a tricky move. Chameleon has been setting up GA4 properties for our clients for over a year now, in order to prepare for this transition. 

This has meant that our clients have some historic data already built up in their GA4 property before their UA property stops collecting data. 

It also means that the Chameleon team has familiarised themselves with the new GA4 ready for when UA isn’t an option. 

If you’re struggling to set up your GA4 property, reach out to the Chameleon team! We’re digital marketing experts and we’re here to make this as smooth as possible for your business.

Get in touch through our contact form here, or you can always give us a call at our office!

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