Google recently announced that due to “market feedback”, a.k.a a very poor adoption of Google Analytics 4, it will be extending the Universal Analytics deprecation deadline from October 1, 2023, to July 1, 2024. This is definitely welcome news to anyone dreading the migration.
It’s vital to mention that this only applies to Universal Analytics 360 (UA 360) – the paid version. The free-to-use UA will still deprecate on July 1, 2023. So if you are using the free version, you will still need to migrate by that date. Note that the deprecation applies to UA properties so even if your account has UA 360 properties, the standard UA properties will need to be moved.
Whilst this is excellent news in the short-term, it doesn’t really change anything longer-term as Google’s flagship analytics product remains to be Google Analytics 4. This means that they will no longer be investing in or adding new features to UA or UA 360, slowly letting it crumble away.
As such, it’s imperative that businesses that haven’t yet adopted GA4 do so as soon as possible, otherwise, they risk missing out on new updates, features and tools.
Why is the deadline being pushed back?
- Because the UA 360 customers often have complex implementations, they require a longer period of time to compare the two platforms before actually transitioning.
- Google has also conceded that the migration process wasn’t exactly easy for smaller businesses. That’s why they introduced updates to the Setup Assistant so that the process is automated, making it much easier for people to transition.
Why is GA4 being pushed by Google?
There are three major reasons for this:
- Universal Analytics was not built for the digital world we live in today. In fact, it was built before the first smartphone existed and was thus made for a world where the majority of people used laptops and desktops. Today, the tables have turned with smartphones being the most popular way to browse the web.
- Privacy policies on mobiles make it impossible to use pixels to track users around the web.
- Universal Analytics was outlawed in major European markets due to the GDPR ruling. Because UA collected people’s IP address info, it wasn’t compliant with the ruling.
What does GA4 offer?
- A boatload of data privacy improvements such as dropping any IP addresses that it collects for EU users before it logs that data and providing the options to disable the collection of granular location and Google signals on a per-region basis.
- A unified data model which helps you collect data from across the web, apps, smartphones and tablets, as well as many others. It provides a holistic view of the data.
- Behavioural and conversion modelling aimed at helping marketers understand the gaps in their data.
- Tools which help businesses reduce their churn rates and improve conversion rates.
All of this sound too complicated?
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