Google Universal Analytics is being phased out in favor of Google Analytics 4.
On March 16th 2022, Google shocked the industry with an announcement that Google will sunset their Universal Analytics product on July 1st 2023. Universal Analytics 360 customers will have an additional three months to complete their migration, with that product being sunset on October 1st 2023.
For many marketeers, there was shock at the short length of time that users have to complete the migration process. Google Analytics is a primary analytics tool for many companies, often with lengthy and robust implementations.
Google is making this move in a response to the new, cookieless world that we live in. Unlike its predecessor, Google Analytics 4 does not rely on cookies and instead uses an event-based data model for analytics and measurement. Google’s Russell Ketchem further explains why Google is forcing the switch, “Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies. This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete.”
Google Analytics 4 was released in October 2020 in the promise of a shake up of traditional Google reporting with deeper integrations with other Google products, such as Google Ads. It’s fair to say that on the release of Google Analytics 4, reactions of the platform were mixed amongst many in the industry; however, reactions of those that have permanently made the transition, have been mostly positive.
From 2021, Google forced new analytics properties to default to Google Analytics 4, so it should be unsurprising that the deprecation of Google Universal Analytics is so imminent. With Privacy restrictions extending into storage of IP addresses and beyond and these concerns growing across Europe, it is obvious that Google is looking to deprecate Google Universal Analytics in favor of GA4, a product which does not store IP addresses.
Migration efforts are well underway for Tealium customers, with Tealium releasing the new Google Analytics 4 tag in 2021, and the Google Analytics 4 Measurement Protocol Connector this year. Migration can often be a daunting task, with so many business critical analytics data points to get right. On migration there are several points which need to be thought about before even attempting the migration:
Does my current Google Universal Analytics implementation really give me everything I need to succeed?
Am I really using all these events and dimensions?
Do I have a clear view of my customer base and understand their behavior and needs as a result of my implementation?
Is the data that I’m collecting useful and serve a clear purpose and is it easy to ingest?
It’s time to revisit and reevaluate your implementation during the migration phase. Tealium customers have the unique opportunity of having a vendor-neutral data foundation that goes beyond just Google Analytics. The digital landscape over the last two years has changed dramatically, and this migration is the perfect opportunity to analyze this. And consider this: why do it for just one technology when your whole tech stack needs it? What advantages could Tealium bring to the table if you do this in a way that will benefit other technologies, too? Google Analytics is a very important part of your data strategy, but since you’ve got to change your data collection practices anyways, why not do it in a way that’s going to benefit your entire data collection foundation?
Contact your CSM or visit our Support Portal if you’ve gathered your new requirements and require assistance in your Google Analytics migration efforts. We are happy to help you get started with the transition to GA4.