Google Universal Analytics Will Be Discontinued: How to Ensure Your Data Is Properly Analysed [5 Reading Tips]

Google Universal Analytics Reading Tips
Source: Unsplash/Myriam Jessier

Saying goodbye is never easy. In the case of Universal Analytics, it also involves a lot of effort. However, companies no longer have a choice because Universal Analytics will be discontinued as early as next year.

According to current statistics, around 55.6 per cent of all website operators use Google Analytics. They should respond now because evaluating alternative systems as well as implementing and getting used to a new system will require financial and human resources.

Google Universal Analytics: The End Is Near

We already know that Universal Analytics is considered a legacy product, but now there is also a concrete date for the discontinuation of hit processing. From the 1st of July 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties, which contain reports and data, will stop processing new hits.

Universal Analytics 360 properties will get three more months of new hit processing, ending in October. Previously collected data will remain stored in Universal Analytics for at least six months.

Nevertheless, it is important that website operators become familiar with alternative solutions now and create a reliable fundamental data set in a new system.

Google Analytics 4: Is the Successor a Good Alternative?

According to Russell Ketchum, Head of Product Management for Google Analytics at Google, Universal Analytics was »built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies«.

That is why Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is designed to improve cross-platform tracking and to be more privacy-focused, he said. IP addresses, for example, will be anonymised.

One of the biggest changes is that GA4 no longer offers filtering options at the property and view level. This means that only internal and partner traffic can be excluded.

In order to enable tracking of data even without cookies, GA4 uses Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), which is based on machine learning and artificial intelligence. This method collects data on the search behaviour of users and puts identical search queries together in a group (cohort).

However, the FLoC tracking method has been heavily criticised, partly because it allows websites to know the surfing habits of users who have never visited the website before.

Anyone who thinks that the upgrade to the next version can be completed with one click will be disappointed. Existing setups cannot simply be transferred from Universal Analytics to GA4. A new property and the tracking must be set up and planned from scratch.

Google Analytics: Always the First Choice?

Since changing systems involves a lot of effort anyway, it makes sense to think about alternative analytics tools right now. A Google solution does not have to be the best choice for all companies.

Dealing with Google Analytics, for example, requires extensive expertise and regular changes result in additional effort. Given the heavy criticism that Google has faced for collecting excessive amounts of information on its users, it is also worth considering a legally sound alternative.

In comparison to Google Analytics, the free version of Piwik PRO offers, in addition to the Analytics module and a tag manager, a consent manager and – in exchange for payment – a customer data platform. These features make it possible to comply with current data protection regulations.

The analytics tool Matomo, for example, is hosted entirely on the company’s own servers and thus ensures a high level of data security. Moreover, the system comes with a clear user interface and built-in features that make it easier to use and facilitate access to the analytics data.

Our web analytics experts will be happy to help you find the right tool for your needs. You can get in touch with the dotSource digital marketing team here and gain helpful tips on how to benefit from your data even more.

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