What can I do now Google Analytics is being switched off?
On March 17th 2022, Google confirmed what we had all been expecting – changes to Analytics, but no one had anticipated they would announce they are switching off Universal Analytics on 1st July 2023. Many businesses had been waiting to decide if they would commit to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), but this certainly will force a decision. More importantly, what does this mean for you and how can Goldstar help you navigate the issues it brings up.
Universal Google Analytics will stop tracking stats on July 1st 2023. What makes this matter more of a challenge is there’s no import to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). So, if you want year-on-year comparisons you will need to act fast and implement by 1st July so they are in place ready for next year’s switch off.
Here’s the full announcement post by Google
What does this actually mean for your business?
The announcement included the news that people will not be able to continue to view their historic statistics. You will be able to access the previous data but only for 6 months. At the very least you will have to export your data before this happens. Google has published ways in which you can do this.
But you will not be able to import these historic Universal Google Analytics stats into their new offering, Google Analytics 4. Instead, they are encouraging people to “make the switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible” in order to “build the necessary historical data” in GA4.
Why are Google Analytics forcing this change?
Well, the marketing for the heavily invested in GA4, states that websites will enable “unified user journeys across their websites and apps”, “expanding integrations with other google products, like Google Ads”. It is advocating a more privacy-first web stating GA4 is “designed with privacy at its core” and it will no longer store IP addresses of the visitors.
However, GA4 is not a new solution – it was introduced in 2019 to a lack of fanfare. In fact, there is a lot of negativity around it from the business and marketing community. The main issue is GA4 is seemingly focused more towards data analysis rather than marketing, content creation and site owners. The UX is more complex, the interface less intuitive and even more challenging than before with even regular reports more difficult to access. Its speed is still slow, and reports must be built from scratch rather than being chosen from a suite of options.
So what options are there to replace my Google Analytics?
Well, there are many alternatives to Google Analytics and each one will have pros and cons for your own needs but what do you do with the data? More importantly, how can you use it alongside the historic data you have just saved?
Zoho Analytics is one of the powerful Zoho business solutions that can simplify your daily operations. Zoho Analytics allows you to connect and blend your data from anywhere. The solution can connect to a multitude of sources like files and feeds, popular business apps. Cloud and on-premises databases, custom apps and more, with easy-to-use connectors.
You can then prepare your data for analysis and augment your analysis with Artificial Intelligence (AI). This data can be visualised easily allowing you to collaborate and share insights as stories. You can even build apps embedded with Business Intelligence (BI) to simplify process and decision making.
Zoho Analytics will bring together your historic data and feeds from new solutions, be it GA4 or any other alternative website analysis tool. It can give you the historic, current and future analysis you need to continue benefiting from BI and evolving and focusing your business.
What do I have to do and by when?
As we always say – DON’T PANIC. There is plenty of time. Try GA4, see if it might work for you, does it fulfil your needs? Have your needs changed? If it does then follow the tutorials and get set up – if it doesn’t then perhaps it’s time to look at alternatives. Do you need a direct replacement, have your business needs and objectives changed.
Four key steps any migration plan should include:
- Document everything. Record all your existing metric tracking in Google Universal Analytics. Get it ready for export.
- Pause and reflect on why you are tracking this data. What do you strategically need? Goldstar are happy to run a workshop to discover what you need to focus on and translate this into actions.
- Clear the decks. Look at and plan your naming conventions before moving forward with a solution. Technology has changed since you started analysing data, metrics have evolved – now’s the time to take stock and simplify.
- Don’t forget your culture. With all the focus on potentially new technology and data, remember to spend time with your colleagues and their training needs and any process or culture changes that need to happen to support any change to business practices.
At Goldstar we pride ourselves on being not just Zoho consultants, but trusted partners who work with you to fully understand your business and its processes. As Advanced Zoho Partners, we know how to make Zoho business systems work for you and help you navigate Google’s Universal Analytics switch off.