In an e-mail update today, the Google Analytics team announced that as part of its operation to sunset Google Universal Analytics (GUA), it will provide an automatic migration (UA → GA4) for users who use Google Tag Manager and “gtag.js” for GA Universal to a new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) account come March 2023. Google Universal Analytics will sunset automatically on July 1, 2023.
What is GA4?
Google Analytics 4.0 is Google’s new, updated Analytics for both Apps and websites, with some enhanced features while also being much clunkier than GAU. It claims to offer automatic detection of events and conversions but many reports that this has been problematic. It’s also much harder to use for GAU users looking to switch and instead of simplifying the old problems that GAU created around Sessions, Users, new sessions, and new users, etc – it instead introduced a bunch of more complex concepts – like differentiating between user acquisition and traffic acquisition.
According to Google, Google Analytics 4 is a new property designed for the future of measurement:
- Collects both website &app data to better understand the customer journey
- Uses event-based data instead of session-based
- Includes privacy controls such as cookieless measurement, and behavioral and conversion modeling
- Predictive capabilities offer guidance without complex models
- Direct integrations to media platforms help drive actions on your website or app
For any customer who does not set up a GA4 property with basic settings, starting in March, we will configure one with a few basic settings consistent with the existing Universal Analytics property; this includes certain conversion events, Google Ads links, and existing website tags.
If you don’t want to automatically migrate to GA4 (now or in the future), then you need to manually opt out of the GA Univeral to GA4 migration here.
July Cut-off for Google Univeral Analytics (UA)
Google will sunset all UA accounts on July 1.
Cookieless – the main reason for GA4
While it’s not been a public message, many experts agree that the main reason for the push to GA4 is cookies and routing around the EU’s daft privacy laws and GDPR, which no companies or users actually care about and has taken so long, its almost outlived Google’s own upgrade plans for Analytics (which doesn’t say a lot for Google…). GA4 promises better analytics and attribution but this has yet to be seen
Setting up a Google Analytics 4 Account
You can run UA (Universal Analytics) and GA4 concurrently, either directly or with Google Tag Manager (GTM). If you don’t want to auto-migrate to GA4 from GAU or if you want to set up now, you can use the simple GA4 Setup Assistant. It really is quite straightforward.
UA → GA4 Won’t affect Google Search Console
While Google hasn’t stated this, it’s worth mentioning that the sunsetting of Google UA won’t impact Google Search Console.
Google Signals are session data from sites and apps that are associated with users who are signed into Google accounts and have turned on Ads Personalization. This association of data with these signed-in users is used to enable cross-device reporting, cross-device remarketing, and cross-device conversion export to Google Ads.
Google Signals enables:
- Cross Platform Reporting
- Remarketing with Google Analytics
- Advertising Reporting Features
- Demographics and Interests
Turning On Google Signals
To turn on Google Signals:
- In Setup Assistant, click the Actions menu Forward arrow to the right of the row.
- Click Manage Google signals.
- In Data Collection, turn on Google signals data collection.