Image: David Mullins on Unsplash
Google has started shutting down Universal Analytics (UA), which has now officially been replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Google announced the start of the process on Twitter and in Analytics Help:
“Today, we begin shutting down Universal Analytics as we welcome you to Google Analytics 4.”
Google said the shutdown would not happen overnight, so some UA properties might continue to process data. However, all properties are queued and the process will continue on a rolling basis.
Here’s Google’s migration timeline:
- March 2023: Google automatically created a GA4 property for all users who hadn’t opted out of automatic property creation or manually migrated their active accounts. Existing site tags were used whenever possible.
- 1 July 2023: UA properties stop processing hits, including standard properties in accounts that also contain 360 properties. You can access your previously processed data in your UA property until 1 July 2024. Users with a current UA 360 contract can continue creating standard UA properties and upgrading them to 360, which will enable data processing.
- 1 July 2024: All users, including those accessing 360 properties, lose access to the UA user interface and API. Google recommends exporting your historical reports before this date.
Google has been alerting users for over a year about the sunsetting of UA and strongly encouraging everyone to switch to GA4.
The enforced migration has not gone down well with marketers. There has been much criticism of design and usability issues, and difficulties with managing the system.
Reaction on the day the shutdown started was similar, with many venting against the enforced switch:
"A case of fixing something that wasn't broke? GA4 is so much more complicated. What drove the need to replace UA?"
"Backwards step. GA4 not fit for purpose"
"One of the worst upgrades in the internet's history. From one of the best and easy to use analytics tool to the worst and difficult to use. Seems Google know nothing about UI/UX."
Resources and alternatives
Google has lots of resource to help you get to grips with GA4 including:
Making the switch to GA4 properties
Automatically created GA4 properties
Setting up Analytics for a website and/or app
Set up Analytics
However, many people have abandoned Google in favour of other alternatives. Search Engine Land’s article explores 15 free or low-cost alternative solutions.