20 June 2022

Site owners and digital marketers are going to have to get ready for a change as Google Analytics, as we know it, is about to undergo a major change. The Universal Analytics, or UA, model is being switched out for Google Analytics 4, or GA4.

Google UA has been the leading website analytics platform, widely used by marketers, web developers, and website owners, providing data that can prove invaluable to understanding the visitor’s journey through your website. Universal Analytics is the latest version of Google Analytics, in operation since UA. As such, a lot of people who use it might find the upcoming move to GA4 more than a touch challenging. GA4 has already been out for some time, having been released in 2020, but has not seen anywhere near the levels of adoption seen with UA. The switch of data models, tracking methods, the UI, and all were too much of a big change for a lot of users.
Change on the horizon
However, now, UA users aren’t going to have much of a choice. Universal Analytics is shutting down and GA4 is going to be the primary form of Googly Analytics going forward. There is, of course, some common ground between the two forms of Google Analytics, including the types of data being tracked. However, a subpar launch, complete with bugs and usability issues has made a lot of people skeptical about GA4.

The platform has improved a lot over the past year, and improvements are planned to roll out over the coming 15 months by July 2023, when UA is going to be gone for good. While UA might be the court language of analytics for the moment, it’s possible GA4 could enjoy the same position with less difficulty in a few years.

Getting ready for the big switch

Whether you’re a website owner, web consultant, digital marketer, or otherwise, you want good data that you can track and analyse to make improvements to your online experience. It’s vital for web design, organic marketing, advertising, and much more. As such, you want to make sure that the switch from UA to GA4 is going to disrupt your ability to gather this data as best as possible. As such, what can you do to make the switch less painful?

The best answer is to start using GA4 right now. You might still want to run UA to make sure that you’re getting all the same data you used to, but if you have to run it in parallel with GA4, just make sure that you’re using the latter. Get an idea of how it works and that it is, indeed, working properly for your website. Familiarize yourself with the new interface, what reports you can transfer, and see if the new data available might actually benefit you.

You have roughly a year to get ready for the shuttering of UA before GA4 becomes the primary format of Google Analytics. That might seem like a lot of time but you shouldn’t delay in making the transition smoother.