Google Analytics is golden standard for tracking website and marketing performance. Over the years, Google has released more versions starting with:
- Google Analytics: The very first instance of Google Analytics, which came out in 2005
- Universal Analytics (UA): The new and improved version of Google Analytics that came out in 2012
- Google Analytics 360: Software suite that, in addition to Universal Analytics, provides Tag Manager, Optimize, Data Studio, Surveys, Attribution, and Audience Center. Came out in 2016.
- Google Analytics 4: The latest version of Google Analytics, which came out on October 14, 2020.
Google has made additions and improvements to the platform, and Starting July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics will be replaced by Google Analytics 4.
The official announcement is “On July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will no longer process data. You’ll be able to see your Universal Analytics reports for a period of time after July 1, 2023. However, new data will only flow into your GA 4 properties.”
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.
Meanwhile, Google Analytics 4 operates across platforms, does not rely exclusively on cookies and uses an event-based data model to deliver user-centric measurement.
Google Analytics 4 is designed with privacy at its core to provide a better experience for both our customers and their users. It helps businesses meet evolving needs and user expectations, with more comprehensive and granular controls for data collection and usage.
Importantly, Google Analytics 4 will also no longer store IP addresses. These solutions and controls are especially necessary in today’s international data privacy landscape, where users are increasingly expecting more privacy protections and control over their data.
If you run Google Ads refer to Google’s page on how to switch to Google Analytics 4—which breaks the process down into 12 steps with effort levels indicated for each step.