In Google’s traffic analysis, the future is called Google Analytics 4 and, among other things, does not require cookies. The well-known Google Analytics Universal Analytics will be switched off on July 1, 2023. But it is absolutely advisable to switch to the new tool now.
In 1998, the Urchin Software Corporation, founded by Paul Muret, presented the software to graphically display and evaluate user behaviour on websites. The application quickly developed into a popular tool for traffic analysis on websites. In 2005, Urchin was acquired by Google. The Urchin on Demand product was subsequently rebranded and released for free use. Google Analytics was born.
Due to the continuous adaptation to Google and the expansion of functionality, Google Analytics has become increasingly important. In 2013, Google released Universal Analytics, a version that made cross-device tracking possible. Today, an estimated 50 to 80% of all websites have Google Analytics in operation. Over the years and further developments, however, criticism of Google Analytics increased, and concerns about data protection increased. In particular, the cookies used by Google Analytics Universal Analytics (GAUA) violate the guidelines of the European General Data Protection Regulation GDPR. In 2022, Austrian and French data protection authorities classified Google Analytics as illegal.
From GAUA to GA4
Google has reacted to the tightened data protection guidelines and is working on a new analytics solution. Google Analytics 4 was already presented in October 2020. The future version relies more on machine learning, does not require cookies and is intended to ensure more data protection, including automatic IP anonymization. Both website and app data can be evaluated via data streams.
Google Analytics Universal Analytics will be switched off on July 1, 2023, no new hits will be processed in the tool. Existing data can then be accessed for another six months before they are finally deleted. The paid version of Analytics GAUA 360 remains available for three months longer. If you want to continue to rely on the services of Google for website analysis, you can switch to the aforementioned Google Analytics 4. However, because Google Analytics 4 is based on a completely different technology than the previous versions of Analytics, it is not just an update, but a switch. The data from GAUA and GA4 are not compatible with each other, so the previous user data cannot be imported into the new Google Analytics 4.
For companies that have used Google Analytics to evaluate their website traffic and the success of their online measures (SEO, SEA, social media ) and want to continue doing so in the future, moving to GA4 is inevitable. Now one might think that there is still a lot of time until July 1st, 2023 and that haste is out of place. But if you wait and see, you can drink tea, but you will miss valuable months and numerous opportunities to make your website and the analysis of user data fit for the future.
Why you should switch to Google Analytics 4 now
Even if the end of the “old” Google Analytics GAUA is still relatively far in the future, it is advisable to rely on the next generation of Google Analytics now and to install GA4 on the website alongside the existing GAUA.
Some good reasons to switch soon:
- Gain valuable data early so you can continue to compare historical data when GAUA is disabled in the new GA4
- Check whether the collected data is cleanly entering Google Analytics 4 and is being evaluated
- Benefit from the automatic tracking of various events such as downloads, scrolling processes or video views
- Experience powerful new analysis options
- Increase the topicality thanks to the detailed real-time analysis
- Get to know the new interface and the extended functions of GA4 and practice using and applying it
Last but not least, with the early switch, you can also better meet the requirements for data protection. And you are optimally prepared for the future reality in the areas of traffic analysis and online marketing.
Simply switch to Google Analytics 4 with DACHCOM
Whether event tracking or conversions, whether target group analysis or e-commerce – we are happy to be at your side for all topics that can be covered with GA4. We will show you what is possible with the new version, where you still have to accept limitations and how you can evaluate the various data. Of course, we also accompany you during the actual transition from GAUA to GA4, create a new instance and integrate it on your website. If required, we also provide you with event definitions, custom conversions and e-commerce tracking. And we will show you in a training session how to use GA4 best and most effectively.