Google Announces the Removal of Universal Analytics: So What’s Next?

Google Analytics has been the ultimate standard for tracking performance for both websites and marketing since 2005. During the subsequent years, Google has made various additions and tweaks to the platform. However, this giant search engine recently issued an announcement that it will now initiate another action. Google will remove Universal Analytics, one of the most prominent instances of Google Analytics.

What Is Next After the Removal of Universal Analytics?

On July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics will be replaced by Google Analytics 4. As of this date, standard properties of Universal Analytics will cease processing data. Although you will be able to view your Universal Analytics reports for a while after July 1 of 2023, all new data will flow exclusively into your GA4 properties.

The Meaning of Property

Property is the site or app that you are using Google Analytics to track. When using Universal Analytics to track your website, it would be referred to as your “Universal Analytics property.” After setting up GA4, you will also have a “Google Analytics 4 property” for the same site. These two different reports are generated for each property since UA and GA4 have major differences.

Basic History of Google Analytics

A basic timeline for the history of Google Analytics is as follows:

• Google Analytics: The initial instance of Google Analytics was introduced in 2005.

• Universal Analytics (UA): This improved version of Google Analytics was introduced in 2012, soon becoming the default property form.

• Google Analytics 360: This software suite was initiated in 2016. It provides Universal Analytics, Tag Manager, Data Studio, Optimizes, Surveys, Attribution and Audience Centre.

• Google Analytics 4: This latest version of Google Analytics was introduced on October 14, 2020.

Important Differences Between UA and GA4

Google Analytics 4 is constructed differently from Universal Analytics. GA4 aligns with both current-day and future needs for reporting as well as privacy. The major differences between UA and GA4 as well as some major benefits of GA4 include the following:

• Event-Based. While Universal Analytics is session-based, GA4 is based on events. This means that GA4 offers a built-in ability to track such events as tab clicks and video plays. This activity requires the use of advanced setups in UA. This originates in the statement that page views are not the only metric of value.

• Cross-Device Tracking. UA was designed for desktop web traffic. Yet GA4 gives businesses insight into customer travels across every one of their websites and apps.

• Machine Learning. GA4 makes use of machine learning technology for sharing insights and issuing predictions. This is a distinctive difference and major contrast between GA4 and UA and how they operate.

• Privacy-Friendly. While UA data depends greatly on cookies, GA4 does not.