Universal Analytics is over. Well, shortly, anyhow.

To keep in step with privacy protocols and changes in how we use the web, Google has announced an expiration date for its Universal Analytics tool. This service has helped organisations track their website and marketing effectiveness for years.

At the time of writing this article, the end date is 1 July 2023. Your Universal Analytics account will stop handling new traffic when this deadline arrives. If you are reading this article before Universal Analytics expires, now would be the perfect time to move to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – Google’s successor to Universal Analytics.

It’s positive news, though, really.

The intent of GA4 is the same as its forerunner: to enable you to understand the power of your online presence and how people engage with your marketing initiatives.

What is GA4?

GA4, similar to Universal Analytics, is an online tool that lets you gauge how people discover and engage with your site. You can view many diverse metrics indicating if you’re meeting the marketing objectives you’ve established.

You have set marketing objectives, right?

In GA4, you have access to a range of different outputs. It provides a summary of how visitors reached your website. You can look at the various actions they took after getting to you. You can even review overall audience statistics and device-specific behaviour.

If you manage an e-commerce company, you also have ready access to a wealth of valuable intelligence.

Beyond the audit section of your account, you can see advertising-specific metrics, view the analytics you’ve captured, and delve deeper into your site’s impact with GA4’s AI insights.

How does GA4 differ from Universal Analytics?

What separates GA4 from Universal Analytics is how it accumulates and handles information. Perhaps the most striking characteristic is that GA4 stems from the privacy-conscious age of the web. It is a better fit for non-cookie analytics, which will be increasingly crucial since not all people accept cookies when asked on arrival at a website.

GA4 also steps away from session-based metrics favouring event-based analytics. It merges various hit categories, such as the Event, Social, and Page View, into just one name: Event. GA4 also modifies how we label events and provides several updates to user-defined dimensions and other metrics.

GA4 combines site and mobile experiences so that people can better identify and appeal to specific audiences. That’s quite cool if you ask us.

Installing GA4

To track your online presence, you will now need GA4. If you already have an account with the previous version, you should head into your admin preferences and use the GA4 setup assistant to make the transition.

If you don’t have an Analytics account already, you absolutely must get one to make educated marketing choices.

You must set up an Analytics account and add the analytics tag to your site. The tag is a tiny chunk of coding that enables the transmission of information from your site to GA4.

Based on your setup, you might use Google Tag Manager to implement the new system, put the tag straight into your website’s code, or enter it via a Content Management System (CMS).

These steps can be tough if you are unfamiliar with updating your site, so feel free to consult a professional – like us – for assistance.

If you’re interested in discovering more about enhancing your positioning and marketing impact, send us an e-mail or give us a call.