Google has recently announced a significant change in their Web Analytics offerings. Starting from July 1st, 2023, Universal Analytics will be replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which represents the next generation of measurement solutions from Google. On this date, Universal Analytics will cease processing data. In this blog post, we aim to provide a summary of the upcoming changes and, most importantly, offer a seamless solution for brands to transition from Universal Analytics to GA4. 

From March 2023 onwards, Google has automatically created GA4 properties for brands that didn't have one, based on the settings of their existing Universal Analytics. However, we strongly advise against opting for this feature, and we explain why in this article. 

Key Timeline: 

  1. If your brand has already created a GA4 property that is connected to Universal Analytics, Google will transfer all incomplete configurations to ensure a seamless experience. 
  2. Brands can continue using Universal Analytics until July 1st, 2023. 
  3. After July 1st, 2023, brands will still be able to access data for the last six months in Universal Analytics and export all historical data. 
  4. Universal Analytics will cease processing any new data from July 1st, 2023, and GA4 will become the primary data source. 
  5. The exact date when Universal Analytics will no longer be available is yet to be confirmed by Google, but rest assured that it will cease processing data from July 1st, 2023. 

Impact on Brands: 

  1. Failure to migrate to GA4 and continued use of Universal Analytics: 

    If brands do not create a new GA4 property, Google will create one automatically, but it will inherit the configurations from Universal Analytics. Consequently, any existing gaps in configurations will be transferred to GA4, leading to ongoing data measurement issues. 
  2. Delaying migration until Universal Analytics is deprecated: 

    By waiting for the transition period, brands will miss the opportunity to identify any existing bugs or configuration gaps in Universal Analytics. Consequently, there will be insufficient time to address these issues during the migration to GA4. The transition period is designed to allow brands to review and rectify any measurement bugs before the transition. 
  3. Inaction until July 2023 when the update is rolled out: 

    GA4 does not import the historical data from Universal Analytics. Hence, migrating to GA4 early would be very beneficial in order to have data to benchmark the performance post 1st July 


How we can help with the Migration: 

While commonly referred to as a migration, transitioning to GA4 actually requires a fresh implementation. This presents an excellent opportunity to start afresh and plan a comprehensive measurement framework from scratch. 

As a GA4 Licensed partner regionally and globally, Merkle can provide valuable assistance throughout this process. They can support you in the following areas: 

  • Building a robust measurement framework that aligns with your business objectives 
  • Designing a data layer and assisting your developers in deploying appropriate JavaScript snippets and SDKs 
  • Conducting a thorough comparison of GA4 and Universal Analytics data for quality assurance 
  • Delivering GA4 training for your business users 

Don't hesitate to reach out to our team of experts for a Google Analytics consultation. We are here to ensure a seamless and successful transition to GA4, empowering you to unlock the full potential of this next-generation measurement solution. 

Authored by Deepak Mankani, SEO Director | dentsu MENA and Keyur Dhavle, Data & Analytics Strategy Manager | Merkle MENA