If your business has a website, it is important to track what is happening in terms of visits, actions, and activities, in order to monitor how those potential leads can develop into clients, and for most websites, the go-to analytical platform comes from Google, in the shape of Google Analytics (GA).
Hopefully, if you do have a website, you are already monitoring your traffic through Google Analytics, and other platforms too in order to gain a clearer overall picture, but regarding GA, things are about to change, and if you haven’t updated, you will no longer be able to monitor your website traffic.
Google has been warning users for some time that things are changing, but there are still many websites that have not yet made the change, and as of July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data, and so, if you want to continue to monitor your website, you must switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible.
The good news is, Google is trying to make the process as simple as possible, and since March of this year they have been creating GA4 properties in the background (unless you expressly asked them not to), copying over all of your existing configurations such as goals, audiences and the likes.
Google also says that some older properties will still process some data after the deadline date, at least for a short time, but they will be shutting down Universal Analytics, and so GA4 is the only option to monitor your site through their platform.
You will still be able to access your historic data for six months after the switch, but you must export the data during the period if you need it. Sometimes, analytics data is necessary to prove the popularity and functionality of websites, to, for example, advertisers, and so if you don’t export your historic data, you may not be able to show this.
Google Analytics 4 is not new however, it was introduced a couple of years ago, and so you may already be processing visitor traffic through GA4, or indeed you may have already made the switch.
Google says that “Google Analytics 4 has the flexibility to measure many different kinds of data, delivering a strong analytics experience that’s designed for the future. It allows businesses to see unified user journeys across their websites and apps, use Google’s machine learning technology to surface and predict new insights, and most importantly, it’s built to keep up with a changing ecosystem”.
One of the principal reasons behind the change has been the growing trend of users relying less on desktop computers for their web journey, and so GA4 is more adapted to “different platforms, does not rely exclusively on cookies and uses an event-based data model to deliver user-centric measurement”.
If you have not made the move to GA4, do it now, in order to build the necessary historical data before Universal Analytics stops processing new hits.
If you need more information or help, Google Support has a complete guide of how to make the change to GA4.