In March we shared that Google were set to sunset Universal Analytics (UA). Following recent announcements that the timeline for sunsetting UA will be delayed, we explore what this means for you and what steps you can take now to mitigate any challenges and issues.
The new timelines & what it means
Google announced that the deprecation or sunset date for UA 360 has been pushed back from 1st October 2023 to 1st July 2024. This means that businesses with an active 360 licence will now have an additional nine months to complete their migrations to Google Analytics 4(GA4).
However the deprecation date for UA remains unchanged, therefore as of 1st July 2023, UA standard properties will still stop collecting data. Meaning that only data up to and including 30th June 2023 will be available for reporting. Critically, this applies to all non-360 properties. Consequently, standard properties that sit within an organisation, including any UA standard account linked to a 360 licence will be sunset on 1st July 2023. Any UA Standard account that is upgraded to UA 360 ahead of this date will have the deprecation date pushed back to 1st July 2024, i.e., a 12-month extension.
These dates have been changed as a result of feedback from customers and partners to Google citing the need for additional time to facilitate successful migrations of complex setups to GA4. They have also acknowledged that some of the features needed for GA4 to fulfil the role of sole enterprise analytics platform are not yet available. Consequently, whilst GA4 remains the future for Google, they have made a concession for enterprise customers who they view as having the most complex paths to migration and who may need more time to fully define and implement their roadmaps.
How can I mitigate the risk of data loss?
The issue of data loss is a real concern for UA standard accounts. Google has therefore announced that beginning in early 2023 the GA4 setup assistant will begin to automatically create a new GA4 property for every standard UA property that doesn’t already have one. The automatically created GA4 properties will match the privacy and collection settings from the UA property and will enable the equivalent basic features such as goals and Google Ads links. There will also be opt-out options should customers wish to begin the switch on their own.
What should you do now?
Whilst the extra 9 months gives businesses with 360 licence additional time to fully complete their migration projects, Google have been clear that maintenance for the product will begin to wind down from early 2024. They have rolled out new functionality within GA4, such as privacy controls, intelligence-driven anomaly detection and predictive audiences, data governance features and there is the promise of further additions and innovation.
We believe that you should continue to move forward with their migration projects. Doing so will ensure that you can benefit from the new functionality within GA4 as early as possible, whilst also giving plenty of time to complete complementary activities such as the migration or onboarding of data visualisation tools and training their teams in the new platforms.
Get in touch
Our original blog post on the sunset of UA includes details on how we can support GA4 migration activities. If you would like to know more about how dentsu can help you, please contact email@example.com.