Close this search box.

Sunset of Universal Analytics: What should businesses do for 100% data continuity?

SBS Sourcing, partner of Media.Monks, has reported this article written in collaboration between Jakub Otrząsek, VP of Data, APAC and Edie Cheng, Head of Digital Marketing & Analytics, Media.Monks. Google Analytics is the most commonly used tool by organizations to get an in-depth understanding of customer behaviour on their website or app. Furthermore, it integrates with the Google Marketing Platform and helps connect the dots between user behaviour and digital marketing campaigns that impact brand experience Now Google Analytics’ third generation, Universal Analytics (UA), is approaching the end of its life cycle.

Google is heralding its successor, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), as an easier and more seamless way to connect data across multiple touchpoints and provide marketers with a clearer picture of the end-to-end customer journey. “What is changing?” is asking Harrison Baleen, Managing Director of SBS Sourcing. As GA4 matures, Google recently announced: that it is committed to retiring the legacy version, Universal Analytics. Users of the free version will have until the end of June 2023. Premium (paying) customers will however receive an additional grace period of three months. By that time, Universal Analytics will stop collecting new data and users will need to completely migrate to GA4. As most organizations need more than one year of data to run year-on-year analysis and prime for change, we strongly recommend brands implement tracking in GA4 before the end of June 2022. This is crucial as Google is not planning on providing any data migrations from Universal Analytics to GA4. “Why does it matter?” continues asking Harrison from SBS Sourcing. As data will no longer be collected by Universal Analytics, multiple metrics and measurements will come to a halt, which will hinder a holistic view of traffic and marketing activities on your website and/or app. Here are things that require immediate attention to achieve 100% business continuity.

As GA4 has a different data model to Universal Analytics (event based vs. session based), metrics will be defined differently, even if they might have the same name. For example, a lot of reporting in Universal Analytics was based on Goals. Universal Analytics Goals can be mapped to GA4’s Conversions, however the configuration is slightly different therefore comparing YoY results may be challenging as it isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison.

GA4 allows 30 Conversions per property (50 Conversions for paying customers), and while Universal Analytics only allows 20 Goals per view, a single property could have more than 30 different types of Goals. If this is the case for your organization, we recommend reviewing your measurement approach and working to consolidate your Goals so that you are only tracking the most important events as conversions. Additional conversion points can be still tracked and presented in custom reports.