Universal Analytics (UA), the long-standing version of Google Analytics, is being replaced by the newer and more advanced Google Analytics 4 (GA4), meaning Google Analytics will stop processing UA data and, with that, embark on the GA4 migration.
For digital marketers, Universal Analytics has been one of the most popular tools for tracking and storing Google Analytics’ historical data and PPC performance since 2012, so it’s not surprising that the GA4 migration will cause quite a stir.
Although the GA4 migration promises multiple benefits, and its updated software will ultimately make marketers’ lives easier, it’s crucial that you safeguard your historical data before it is deleted.
The Sunset of Universal Analytics And Migrating to Google Analytics 4
So Google Analytics is migrating Universal Analytics property to Google Analytics 4. What exactly does that mean?
Why is the Change Happening?
Basically, Google Analytics has developed GA4 to meet the evolving needs of businesses in today’s digital landscape.
Universal Analytics was originally developed to track third-party cookies and web traffic, which in today’s privacy-conscious world seems a little out of date, especially since customers can now find and buy products across various devices and mobile apps.
With cookie-less measurement and behavioural and conversion modelling, the GA4 migration will provide a more advanced and comprehensive approach to privacy, giving users more control over their privacy choices.
Google Analytics 4 offers enhanced features that allow users to track both app and web traffic on a single platform to gain insights without compromising privacy.
What is Going to Change?
The good news is that GA4 users will benefit from tons of cutting-edge features that will simplify marketing!
Google Analytics 4 utilises an event-driven data model, so instead of simply tracking page views, GA4 collects all engagement data automatically.
Moreover, GA4 incorporates automation and artificial intelligence for better insights into the customer journey and tracking across devices and touch points. With GA4, you can use real-time reports to predict purchase probability and revenue based on customer behaviour and more.
Crucially, GA4 only uses 1st party cookies and its privacy features, such as easy data deletion and controlling data collection, are fully compliant with privacy laws such as GDPR.
How to Prepare for the Universal Analytics Switch to Google Analytics 4
As of July 1st, 2023, Universal Analytics properties will no longer collect data, so you will have to switch to GA4 if you want to continue tracking analytics.
Don’t panic; you will still be able to access the historical data in a read-only format for up to 6 months after the switch; however, no new data will be captured or processed after July 1st, so the sooner you implement GA4 migration, the better.
Exporting Universal Analytics Data
The best way to safeguard your data is to store it in a separate location or better yet, export it to a different format.
There are several ways you can export your Universal Analytics property:
- Exporting to different formats: Users can export data from Google Analytics in various formats, such as Google Sheets, CSV, TSV, XLSX, or PDF, which they can then work with outside of the Google Analytics platform.
- Native GA Connectors: If you are a Google Analytics 360 customer, you can use native GA connectors and Google Analytics Reporting API to export to GA4 BigQuery.
- Exporting Google Analytics to BigQuery with Funnel: Users can export Universal Analytics to BigQuery using tools like Funnel. This is the most effective solution, as BigQuery provides a scalable data warehouse with a deeper analysis of the exported data.
How to Export Google Universal Analytics Data to Google BigQuery
Exporting your Google Analytics data to BigQuery is the simplest way to deal with GA4 migration. It can help you avoid data loss and centralise analytics data while improving reporting and enabling historical analysis.
By exporting your historical data from Universal Analytics to BigQuery, you create a backup of your analytics data. This means that even if there are any issues with UA or data discrepancies, you will still have access to historical insights as you will have a secure copy of your data in BigQuery.
What’s more, it will continue to perform historical and long-term trend analysis, so you can compare these metrics against the new ones in GA4. With BigQuery, you can explore trends, track performance over time, as well as uncover insights to make data-driven decisions.
Also, BigQuery integrates seamlessly with reporting tools like Looker Studio and Power BI, giving you intuitive reporting with advanced visualisation capabilities, such as custom dashboards, so you can explore data and generate actionable insights easily.
The BigQuery implementation does require some coding knowledge, such as a decent understanding of SQL, which can be challenging for some users. However, Acuto specialises in BigQuery and can help you get it up and running with no hustle on your end.
Our simplified process provides automated data extraction with a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for you to get started.
Let Acuto Help with Migrating Your Google Analytics Data
Want to begin GA4 migration but are daunted by the task? We’ve got you covered. Our team of experts can help you prepare for the GA4 migration and retain your data.
At Acuto, we provide a smooth and direct integration with BigQuery, so you can easily export your data without the need for any coding knowledge.
Our team of experts can simplify the entire process to ensure your data is securely and efficiently transferred to BigQuery for storage and analysis.
Prefer a more user-friendly, code-free approach? No problem; we also specialise in Funnel integration for the simple export of universal analytics data to BigQuery.
Get in touch with us today for more information.
Now that we have run through how to prepare for GA4 migration, let’s go over some of the main points we covered:
- The GA4 migration will take place on the 1st of July; from that point on, Universal Analytics will sunset and stop processing data.
- You need to begin the G4 migration as soon as possible to avoid losing data and to continue tracking analytics.
- GA4 allows for data collection across devices with a more privacy-friendly focus.
- Google Analytics features include automatic data collection, cross-platform reporting, debugging mode, real-time reports, and more.
- You can export universal analytics to GA4 by exporting different formats, using native GA Connectors, or exporting Google Analytics to BigQuery with Funnel.