On the 1st of July 2023, Universal Analytics will stop processing new hits and new data and will be replaced with Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
What’s the difference between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4?
The main difference between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the way they measure data. Universal Analytics measures sessions and pageviews, whereas GA4 measures events and parameters.
When is the best time to upgrade to Google Analytics 4?
Google is recommending users upgrade to the GA4 property as soon as possible. By upgrading now it will enable you to gather a year’s worth of historical data, so when Universal Analytics is removed in July 2023, you can still do your year on year comparisons.
Google recommends upgrading your Universal Analytics to GA4 and adding both tracking IDs to your website. This will enable you to measure data for both properties at the same time. When Universal Analytics is removed, you will have 1 year’s worth of historical data on Google Analytics 4 to refer to. It will also help you to become more familiar with the new interface and its capabilities. In turn enabling you to be better equipped to handle the transition.
How to upgrade to Google Analytics 4
In order to add Google Analytics property 4 to a site that already has Google Analytics, you will need to use the ‘GA4 Setup Assistant’ which is found under the admin tab and then under the second column called ‘property’. This will create a new GA4 property that collects data in parallel with your existing Universal Analytics property.
After clicking on GA4 Setup Assistant, you will be asked to create a new GA4 property or connect to the existing one. For the first time upgrading, you will need to click on the create new property option.
Next, you will need to click ‘ See your GA4 Property’ to take a look at the settings and change any you think you need to. Finally, click back onto Admin and in the second column click ‘Data Streams’. Click on the GA4 stream and on the right hand side, copy the measurement ID. It should start with ‘G-’. Once you have this code, send it over to your website management team who will be able to connect your new GA4 property to your site.
Exporting data from Universal Analytics
We encourage you to export all of your previous data from Universal Analytics so you can refer back to it if needed. After the 1st July 2023 you will only be able to access your previously processed data in Universal Analytics for a period of at least six months. If you think you may need the data from Universal Analytics, make sure to export it all now.
Upgrading Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible is vital. It will give you plenty of time to get used to the new system. Once Universal Analytics is removed you won’t be able to view any of your old data, so make sure to export anything you think you might need. Universal Analytics will be removed on the 1st of July 2023.