Google made a big announcement recently that is sure to impact many businesses’ analytics strategies. The tech giant shared that they will be extending support for Universal Analytics 360 (UA) until July 2024, postponing the previous sunset date of July 2023.
This grants marketers additional time to transition over to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – Google’s new analytics platform. Let’s dive into the details behind this change and what it means for analytics users.
Google initially announced their plan to sunset UA last year, proposing a July 2023 end-of-life date and encouraging adoption of GA4. However, many users provided feedback that they required more time to fully transition to the new platform. GA4 has notable differences in functionality and reporting capabilities compared to UA that make migration complex for some organizations. Also, businesses want time to educate their teams on GA4 and update integrations.
Google listened to this user input and decided to extend UA 360 support through July 1, 2024. They acknowledged that flexibility is needed to prevent analytics disruptions. This delay gives users another year to plan their GA4 migrations thoughtfully. Google stated they will continue improving GA4’s capabilities over the coming months to close gaps with UA and streamline the upgrade process for users.
The good news is analytics users now have an additional year before they must fully commit to GA4. For large companies especially, this timeline adjustment is critical. Migrating analytics platforms touches many systems and stakeholders across an organization. The extra year enables users to migrate GA4 at their own pace, get stakeholders aligned, thoroughly test new implementations, and take advantage of upcoming GA4 enhancements.
However, businesses should not delay their GA4 transition plans entirely. Taking a “wait and see” approach could still leave teams scrambling when the new July 2024 deadline arrives. It is smart to use this extension to thoughtfully develop and phase-in a GA4 migration roadmap over the next year, while still maintaining your UA 360 until completion.
For some businesses, continuing to use both UA and GA4 in parallel during this period may be beneficial. This provides a chance to compare reporting discrepancies and build confidence in GA4 while still relying on UA as needed pre-migration. Those new to Google Analytics may skip UA entirely and focus efforts on adopting GA4 by next year.
How can marketers make the most of this extended transition period? Here are some recommended actions:
While Google’s extension may feel like pressing pause, it truly allows for a more thoughtful approach to GA4 migration. Companies can proceed at their own pace while collaboratively planning for a successful transition by July 2024. Leverage the extra time – but don’t lose momentum. With the right focus over the next 12 months, businesses can implement seamless migrations that minimize analytics disruptions and unlock the full value of GA4.
Google’s helpful decision to delay the UA 360 sunset gives analytics users additional breathing room. The focus for marketers now should be on developing strategic GA4 transition plans tailored to their organizations’ needs over the next year. While the extra time is valuable, migrating earlier remains a wise approach to prevent a last-minute scramble leading up to the new July 2024 deadline. With proactive planning and testing, companies can ultimately implement smooth GA4 migrations primed to take their analytics to the next level.
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