What does this change mean in practice?
Websites using GA UA technical measurements do not work after the change. Analytic properties don’t collect data about the visitors or the effectiveness of marketing efforts, so properties will stop processing new hits in Google Analytics servers. The free version GA UA will stop data collection on 1.7.2023 and three months later the paid version on 1.10.2023. In Google’s announcement it is said that extra time will not be given for postponing sunset dates for customers, and the historical data will be available on read only-form for six months after the sunset in GA UA properties.
Dashboards based on GA UA measurement or conversions and audiences' setups for Google Ads will also not work after this change.
What is GA4?
In 2020 Google introduced Google Analytics 4 newest version of GA. GA4 is the biggest change in the history of Google Analytics. The measurement technology, the data model, some of the metrics and the user interface are completely new. The change is driven by several changes in the operating environment, the behavior of target groups and, in particular, the requirements for privacy protection, but also by new opportunities brought about by, for example, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
GA4 brings new opportunities and features especially in the following:
Managing privacy and preparing for the cookieless future
- More versatile control over what data about visitors is collected and what is not, and for how long it is stored
- IP-addresses will no longer be stored in GA4
- Delete data faster than before: Ability to delete individual visitor data or delete a specific parameter from all data
- Preparing for cookieless future and incomplete analytics data, for example through behavioral and conversion models available to all visitors
Predictive analytics and forecasting models
- Forecasting models for more effective advertising targeting and visitor analysis (for example, visitors who are likely to buy within the next 7 days)
- Focus on visitors and visitor identification across terminals
- Possible to view the use of the site and mobile applications in one view
- Identifying a single visitor across terminals and browsers by combining Google User ID, Google Signals, and site / app sign-in
Visitor paths and visitor lifecycles across terminals
- More effective ways to understand visitor paths and behavior throughout a single visit and lifecycle
Direct integration with advertising systems/platforms
- Enable a more effective way to do data-driven marketing and advertising
What do I need to do to continue using Google Analytics?
If GA4 measurement has not yet been installed on the site alongside GA UA, this should be done as soon as possible. It is therefore a good idea to ensure that GA4 collects at this stage at least basic information about site usage and key conversions, as well as metrics and variables that are most relevant to your business and marketing goals.
It is also essential to plan for the transition to GA4 becoming the primary data source for web analytics. This same plan should also consider upgrading your existing dashboards and upgrading your Google Ads-based conversions and audiences to GA4. Collect data for some time and try out the new reports and re-evaluate your measurement plan for improved measurement.
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