Ever since Google’s purchase of Urchin in 2005, Google Analytics has been the dominant software behind web analytics. Approximately 28 million active websites use Google Analytics. Many of these sites harness the power of Universal Analytics, which enables tracking of users across multiple devices and platforms by assigning user IDs. By adding demographics, richer consumer data, and machine learning, Universal Analytics gave its clients many key insights. Despite their benefits to website owners, insights from Universal Analytics came at the cost of user privacy.
Partially in response to the privacy problem, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) launched in October 2020. GA4 focuses on user privacy while still providing high quality data to its clients by only using first-party cookies and considering every event a hit, automatically collecting all engagement data instead of just page views. Consent Mode adjusts based on the permissions given by each visitor. As a result, GA4 is fully compliant with privacy laws like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
With the introduction of GA4 complete, Google’s Universal Analytics will shut down on July 1, 2023. Currently, there is no direct upgrade path from Universal Analytics to GA4. Is your website ready to make the switch?