The lights go out on Google Analytics

The lights go out on Google Analytics

Soon it will be dark at Google Universal Analytics (GUA) and we won't see anything anymore. Because GUA will be abolished as of July 1, 2023 and we are groping in the dark.
It's not quite that dramatic, but it's certainly high time to react to it and take the necessary precautions. Because GUA is not disappearing without replacement. Google is reining in its tracking to the new version Google Analytics 4 (GA4). So that you are not left in the dark, a move is inevitable to continue to be on the road with bright headlights in data analysis. This move has its little pitfalls and needs to be prepared. 
In this post, we'll show you what the move means and where it's headed.

For what reason comes the changeover

The reason is quite simple: GUA's data model is no longer up to date. There are many innovations on the technical side as well as in the understanding and use of user data.

Tracking is no longer based on page views, but on the numerous events that a user triggers on the website. This means that the tool is more specifically concerned with a user's interactions, rather than page views and dwell time.

At first glance, GA4 seems complicated, but it is a lot clearer than GUA. This also has to do with the fact that fewer standard reports are created and more emphasis is placed on creating your own reports. Thus, after the move, you have the possibility to set up your Analytics apartment according to your own taste.

What if you don't move?

From July 2023, Google will no longer record data in the GUA. This means that we can still see our historical data, but are already completely blind to live data. It has already been announced that all GUA properties will be deleted from the servers in July 2024. But you will probably lose access to the old Google Universal Property already after 6 months at the end of the year.

You will lose control of your spending if you are not there for the move. Because if you don't see if you're hitting the right target audience with your website or where optimizations should be made in your sitemap, you're spending valuable money on a website without knowing if you're achieving what you want it to. The biggest advantage of the digital world is the measurability and the evaluation of its success or failure. Which is much more difficult with other media. So you smash your online success if you're not in on the move.

Do not hesitate

It won't be long until the definitive changeover to GA4. Therefore, it is now time to tackle the move. It is important that no data holes occur due to a late changeover to GA4. Therefore, the implementation should not be put on the back burner now and planning and conversion should begin. The following questions must be included in the planning.

  • Do I still need the data I have already collected?
  • What data do I want to know in the future?
  • Who should all have access to the new data and with what role?
  • How should the move be organized? Do I do everything myself or do I commission an agency to do it?
  • Where can I find which data? How do you navigate the GA4 interface?

This way you can prepare the move step by step, implement it and then find your way around the new interface with the new tracking.

Make a plan

At the latest when the new data stream for GA4 has been set up, you should define your individual data structure. It makes little sense to collect data indiscriminately without knowing what exactly you want to track. Planning also includes working out a schedule. This involves determining by when which data should be tracked in order to draw conclusions. It is important to remember that tracking takes time. In order to derive meaningful insights from the data, a certain amount of data is needed. To collect this data, a certain amount of time is needed.

Also included in the planning should be the presentation of the data. GA4 provides a large amount of collected data in a few standard reports. A feasible visualization should be created to avoid getting lost in the amount of data and to allow other users to understand the analyses. GA4 already offers some functions to visualize reports and analyses. But basically it is the tool to create a data collection and less for visualization. Another way to create vivid visualizations is Google Looker Studio.

Planning the whole move and managing it afterwards helps not to lose the overview.

Do not compare apples with oranges

As mentioned above, the data is now recorded on an event basis and no longer according to page views. This has the effect that some individual data are generated differently. Therefore, the data from GUA and GA4 cannot simply be compared with each other. There will always be differences. Whereby this does not mean that something is wrong. One can regard it as new time calculation.

Eine Illustration von Kacheln mit Daten und Berichten aus Google Analytics | © Adobe Stock
© Adobe Stock

Know your conversions

It is important to define your conversions already in the planning stage. The conversion is the target behavior that a user should show on our website. For example, buying a product, downloading a file or filling out a form. Historical data such as the number of users cannot be moved from GUA to GA4. However, conversions or target groups can be transferred. However, it is often easier to rebuild the conversion in GA4. In doing so, you can also question whether you are using the right values or whether something should be adjusted.

All the effort is for nothing

The effort of conversion is in vain if you don't dedicate yourself to your data. No matter how perfectly the tracking is set up and visualized. If you don't deal with the data regularly in the future, it has no value.

That is why it is important to define a regular cycle. This can be on its own or analysis and assessment in a team. Analysis in a team often has advantages. Many data can be interpreted differently. With different points of view one finds more detailed results and can make targeted decisions. The goal should be to become better and better and to optimize your online presence where it is necessary. This is achieved with regularity and a close look at the available data. Here the questions are in the foreground which one defined in the planning, thus which knowledge one would like to receive from the data. These can be questions like:

  • Does the tracking work in all areas?
  • Is the desired target group being reached?
  • Has the data changed?
  • Which measures have made a difference?
  • In which areas should money be invested, where less?

Get started now

Even for website owners who have not yet used a website analysis tool, now is an optimal time to start. GA4 is a new, well thought-out and tidy marketing tool. The internet offers, right now, numerous reports to help you get started. In the implementation, an agency like w-vision AG can offer valuable support.

Eine Illustration eines Bildschirms mit abgebildeten Daten die von 4 Personen betrachtet werden | © Adobe Stock
© Adobe Stock

The conclusion to the lights out

You give away a big competitive advantage if you don't know how your online presence is being used. The changeover brings with it a lot of new things. But it is a great opportunity to analyze your online presence even more precisely and to understand the usage. Tracking and web data analysis is a complex topic in itself. For this reason, it is important to plan the move from GUA to GA4 in advance. This includes, above all, planning what you want to know in the future and at what frequency the data will be analyzed. You can start analyzing data at any time. But now is the ideal time to do it. The lights don't definitely go out, you just have to take care of the new annealing agents.

w-vision as support

w-vision AG will take care of the entire move for you, including planning and subsequent training on the new version. We can assist you with the following points:

Contact us: Get in touch with us without any obligation. We can support you in many areas.
Discussion: Together we will discuss the possibilities. Thereby we go into detail about your wishes.
Offer: Based on the discussed points, we create an offer that is tailored to you and fits your business model.
Implementation: w-vision creates a new GA4 property incl. data stream and sets it up according to your wishes. This also includes the creation of custom reports.
Training: After the implementation we train you in detail about the new GA4 interface and the specific facilities.
Support: After the training we do not have to stop. We will gladly continue to support you with the regular analysis of your collected data. There is also the possibility to combine this with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Search Engine Advertising (SEA).

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