When is Google Analytics Getting Replaced By GA4?
After a year or so of dabbling in GA4, Google has announced a planned sunset of Google Analytics with an anticipated data tracking end date of July 1, 2023. Some accounts will get an additional 3 month transition period, but for most users, this end date will mark the final charting of new hit data and a hard crossover to GA4.
Why is Google Ending Google Analytics?
GA4 has had a soft launch over the past few years and offers some real advantages for e-commerce and conversion values, but it hasn’t caught on with many everyday Analytics users still stuck in the old familiar habit of the past decade using Universal Analytics. Those advantages aren’t the reason Google is ending Universal Analytics. Google is ending UA to assuage EU privacy concerns and mark a formative transition to a post-cookie world.
WHAT ELSE IS BEHIND THE SHIFT? Google has also stated an intention to focus on cross-platform use in place of individual user sessions that UA was built to track. Keep in mind that the iOS App Store was only a few years old when Universal Analytics launched and the interconnectedness of device use was just in its infancy.
Is GA4 Any Good?
GA4 is seen as a forward-looking solution and was clearly developed under the same strong arm that pushed for ideas like FLoC and Google Topics. The EU has forced the hand of many tech companies to respect individual privacy while still allowing for a way of connecting behaviors with good content.
GA4 does many of these things well, often in a simplified manner compared to the existing Universal Analytics platform. Here are some benefits of GA4:
- It works across platforms and can track data across websites and applications
- It doesn’t maintain IP addresses, which forces marketers to be more privacy compliant
- Doesn’t require cookies and measures insights using an event-based data model
- It uses data-driven attribution to assign credit to more than just the last click, allowing marketers to see how various initiatives influence conversions
Why Is GA4 Controversial?
The controversy following Google’s announcement is largely tied to historical data. It seems almost laughable that Google wouldn’t allow users to transfer historical data from Universal Analytics to GA4, but it appears that’s the case. So, a decade or more of data will be lost and data crunchers will be stuck using multiple platforms to compare data for the next few years.
Additionally, there are complaints that the product is “half baked” and Google hasn’t provided any real reason for marketers to shift to the new platform.
These complaints have some merit, but it seems like the EU has forced Google’s hand to make this change firm.
THE BIG TAKEAWAY: Google is using this announcement to signal to businesses that they need to start moving to Google Analytics 4 sooner than later—making this an opportune moment for marketers and business owners to to set up their GA4 properties if they haven’t done so already.
If you haven’t added your WordPress website to a GA4 Property or you’d like help setting it up, our team of SEO and SEM experts can help. Contact us for an estimate for updating your Google Analytics account and adding a GA4 listing for WordPress before you lose out on comparative data and a much needed adjustment year.