Google Analytics 4 Transition
In less than a week, Universal Analytics (UA) (the third major version of Google Analytics) will no longer be available. Moving forward, the only option for using Google Analytics to track user activity on your website will be GA4.
Many websites still use the older UA, and Google has tried their best to make the transition as seamless as possible. For months, Google has given warning of the end of UA, and that upgrading to GA4 is necessary. They also offered an option to automate the conversion. Then, they started automatically creating new GA4 properties for sites that had not yet converted.
However, it is not a good idea to solely depend on the updates that Google has created automatically. Even Google themselves recommend that you not rely on their automated updates. This is directly from the Google documentation:
There are a number of reasons for this, including:
- Their default setting is for a two month data retention. With the old UA, all your past data was available. Google is now limiting the time that they will retain your past data. You can change from two months to 14 months – without this, you won’t be able to do year-over-year comparisons.
- Conversions and events are often not converted properly. The automatic update gathers basic page view data. But measuring web site effectiveness needs a lot more customization. Even if you had these customizations with UA, there is a good chance they did not all transfer properly to the new property.
- Any reports set up for UA will need to be recreated, whether directly in Analytics or in Google Looker Studio
- If you use Google Tag Manager (which is the best practice for implementing Analytics) there may be issues with any custom tags you created
In short, don’t depend on the automated conversion. The new GA4 is in many ways a superior product over the old UA, but changing from UA to GA4 does require a bit of work. Don’t wait for your UA to stop working – make the change now.