Google is retiring Universal Analytics (UA) on the 1st July 2023, and it’s essential for businesses to understand the implications of this change. In this blog post, we’ll address our top 5 common questions and concerns regarding the retirement of UA and the transition to GA4 (Google Analytics 4).
- What is the ‘Fix It’ Banner and is it a problem?
You may have come across a scary-looking banner in Google Ads regarding UA retirement however it might not be relevant to you. If you’ve created a GA4 property, but not yet linked it to your Google Ads account, then the machine will get confused & keep showing this prompt.
You can follow the link for more information and reach out to chat to Google if you need further guidance (just remember that Google’s recommendations may not consider the specific context of your business when handing out advice).
- Can I import data directly from UA to GA4?
Unfortunately, you cannot directly import UA data into GA4. The two platforms are built on different measurement protocols, making direct data transfer impossible. However, you can compare similar metrics in both platforms, such as revenue or users.
Expect to see differences here – why those numbers will differ is complicated & depends on many factors – but as long as you’re seeing numbers within ~10% of each other, you’re doing ok. No platform is 100% accurate. What you’re after is a ‘useful truth’ that you can use to measure patterns & changes in metrics as you make changes to your marketing and/or website.
- Should I be concerned that my ‘setup’ is incomplete?
The “setup assistant” section in your property settings might show an incomplete setup warning.
Don’t worry too much about this, as it merely indicates the steps you’ve marked as complete or incomplete. It doesn’t impact your setup, but if you want to remove the warning, mark each step as complete after considering its relevance to your business.
- Do I have any Universal Analytics ‘Dependencies’?
At WebSavvy, we’ve been preparing for this transition for nearly two years and have therefore reviewed our clients accounts to ensure there are no critical dependencies on UA.
Unless you are using a ‘goal’ from UA, imported into Google Ads, or use an ‘audience’ from Google Ads for bidding optimisation, then there is no need to worry.
- My metrics look different!?
Expect to see variations in some metrics between UA and GA4.
Unfortunately, there’s very little that we (or anyone) can do to explain those differences. They depend on a wide range of factors, not least that Google is now ‘modelling’ much more data. there may be additional discrepancies due to the increased blocking of Google Tag Manager by certain browsers.
Remember, there is no such thing as ‘perfect’ data. All you can do is to use the data you have to make the best decisions possible & measure the change in metrics as adjustments are made to the site.
To summarise, while UA retirement may create some challenges, understanding the key points discussed in all of our GA4 blog posts as well as our GA4 Your Business Course, will help you navigate the transition to GA4 more effectively. If you’d like help with your transition from UA to GA4, check out our GA4 set up service here.
Use GA4 data as part of your analysis, but don’t rely on it exclusively. Combine platform metrics, Shopify data, and common sense to synthesise information and make informed decisions. Remember, no measurement platform provides absolute accuracy, but with the available data, you can strive for a useful truth that guides your marketing strategies.