Google’s Big Switch: Universal Analytics Phases Out As GA4 Takes Center Stage

Google has announced yet another change in its long list of updates. As of July 1, 2023, the company has begun phasing out Universal Analytics (UA), its web analytics service used by millions of websites worldwide. In its place, Google has introduced Google Analytics 4 (GA4), a next-generation measurement solution that brings a series of upgrades and new features.

The Timeline for Universal Analytics Shutdown

Universal Analytics properties stopped processing new data from July 1, 2023 though users can still access their previously processed data until July 1, 2024. The key distinction is that UA 360 properties have a slightly extended timeline, with a one-time processing extension ending on July 1, 2024. This extension only applies to those 360 properties with a current order, either GA4 or Universal Analytics.

The complete shutdown will occur on July 1, 2024, when all users, including those accessing 360 properties, will lose access to the Universal Analytics user interface and API. As a result, Google encourages users to export their historical reports before this date to avoid losing any valuable data.

GA4: The New Generation of Analytics

GA4 is not merely a replacement; it brings a new set of features and a revamped approach to data analytics. Google Analytics 4 properties are designed to adapt to a future with or without cookies or identifiers. It allows for more flexible data control and introduces Advanced Analysis, providing deeper insights that can help businesses improve marketing ROI.

If users had not opted out of automatic property creation or did not manually migrate their active UA property to a GA4 property, Google will create a GA4 property on their behalf, reusing existing site tags whenever possible.


What Does This Mean for Google Ads Campaigns

The shift to GA4 may have consequences for users running Google Ads campaigns. If a UA property is linked to a Google Ads account, the data flow will cease from July 1, 2023. This disruption may impact campaigns if users are bidding on imported Universal Analytics goals, using a UA audience, or importing site metrics.

Google has however provided ways to alleviate the impact. The company suggests migrating UA property’s Google Ads links to the GA4 property. Users should also consider importing GA4 conversions for bidding and adding GA4 audiences to campaigns or ad groups for remarketing.


Advice For The Migration

Google encourages users to make the switch to GA4 at their earliest convenience to ensure uninterrupted data analysis. While deleting a UA property is possible, it’s not recommended, as it may stop data flow to the newly established GA4 property. UA properties can still be moved from one account to another until July 1, 2024.

Google’s shift from Universal Analytics to GA4 is a transition in the data analytics landscape. Although it may require some adaptation and change management, the improved features and adaptability of GA4 promise a better and more flexible future for businesses leveraging data analytics.