Google Analytics GA4 Changes Blog

New Google Analytics in 2023: GA4

author: Taylor Schroeder

Written by: Taylor Schroeder

Digital Strategy Manager

07.21.2022

  • Best Practices
  • Digital Marketing

There’s a new Google Analytics in town: Google Analytics 4, a.k.a. GA4. (Well, not exactly new, since it’s technically been around since October 2020!)

The Move from Universal Analytics to GA4: A Slow Journey

Over the last several years, the default version of Google Analytics called “Universal Analytics” (UA) has been installed on our clients’ websites and 86% of the websites worldwide. Two years ago, Google rolled out their next-generation measurement solution, called Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

However, marketers and web managers have been slow to adopt it. According to one study, only about 25% of users have upgraded to the new version.

A Hostile Takeover?

In March 2022, Google announced that effective July 1, 2023, all Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits. This means that no new data will flow into any Universal Analytics properties starting on July 1, 2023. This also means that the only source of analytic web traffic data from Google will come through a Google Analytics 4 property.

This announcement has forced website managers and analysts to adopt the Google Analytics 4 platform much quicker than we originally planned.

Timing Is Everything

In order to ensure that the new Google Analytics 4 properties have enough historical data in them to be able to provide the insights that marketers have come to rely on from Google, EPIC is recommending that all Google Analytics 4 properties get set up no later than June 30, 2022. This would allow all Google Analytics 4 properties to have a full year of historical data established in their GA4 properties.

EPIC Creative Is On Top of the GA4 Transition

In an effort to stay up-to-date, we have already been adding in Google Analytics 4 properties to run in conjunction with the Universal Analytics properties on any new sites that have been built in the last year.

We’ve also been working tirelessly over the last three months to ensure all of our clients’ Google Analytics accounts are updated and reconfigured to be prepared for the transition by no later than June 30, 2022.

Give Me the Quick Facts

Will Universal Analytics properties still collect data until July 1, 2023?

Yes, until July 1, 2023, you can use and collect data in the existing UA properties.

What will happen to the data in a Universal Analytics property?

Per Google, all historical data within the Universal Analytics property will be available for at least 6 months after July 1, 2023 (i.e. through the end of 2023). After that, the data likely won’t be accessible.

Does this impact any Google Analytics 360 properties?

Google Analytics 360 properties will receive a one-time processing extension ending on October 1, 2023.

Does this change affect Google Ads campaigns?

If the Universal Analytics property and Google Ads accounts are linked, Universal Analytics data will stop flowing to Google Ads after July 1, 2023. (October 1, 2023 for Analytics 360 properties.) This could affect your Google Ads campaigns if you’re;

  • bidding on imported Universal Analytics goals or e-commerce transactions
  • using a Universal Analytics audience in your campaigns
  • importing Universal Analytics site metrics

See additional details about Google Ads impacts.

What Do I Do with My Website’s Analytics?

I have Universal Analytics property, but I don’t have a Google Analytics 4 property.

  • Create a Google Analytics 4 property and install it on your website. This might require the creation and installation of a Google Tag Manager account if you don’t already have one.
  • Update all tags in the Google Tag Manager container to ensure they are also set up to fire within Google Analytics 4.

I already have a Universal Analytics and a Google Analytics 4 property.

  • Ensure the Google Analytics 4 property is firing across your entire site and accurately collecting data.
  • Update all tags in the Google Tag Manager container to ensure they are also set up to fire within Google Analytics 4.

I have no idea what kind of Google Analytics my site has or what to do with it.

Contact our analytics experts if you want us to audit your analytics configuration or help with the transition.

Universal Analytics vs. Google Analytics 4

With this change, there are several major differences between the two Google Analytics versions. Here are just a few:

  • Changes in metrics: Several major data points (users, pageviews, etc.) are collected and reported on differently in Google Analytics 4.
  • No more bounce rate: Google Analytics 4 is getting rid of the Bounce Rate metric completely in favor of a more comprehensive engagement datapoint: Engagement Rate.
  • Automatically collected events: Google Analytics 4 is lifting some of the burden for event tracking by creating “Enhanced measurement events.” Some automatically collected events include page scroll, video views, and file downloads.
  • Navigation: The entire user experience is very different between Universal Analytics properties and Google Analytics 4 properties. If you are an analyst, we recommend you start playing around in the Google Analytics 4 property as soon as possible to start getting familiar with it.

Want Help with Your Google Analytics Transition?

Beyond all that, there are a lot more changes with the “new” Google Analytics 4 properties. If you have questions about your account, data, or anything else with the transition to GA4, please reach out!

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