Now is the time to upgrade your Google Analytics account.
Google Analytics is the most popular web analytics tool available. It’s free and robust, and millions of website owners use it on their websites. Most of those site owners set Analytics up once and let it do its magic, checking in from time to time to see how their sites are performing.
That changes next year. Unless you have a fairly new Google Analytics account, it will stop processing data on July 1, 2023.
If you created your Google Analytics property before October 14, 2020, you’re likely using what are called Universal Analytics properties. These will sunset next year in favor of Google Analytics 4.
The main reason for the change is privacy. The way Google Analytics collects and stores data is increasingly running afoul of local privacy regulations. As just one example, Analytics 4 doesn’t store IP addresses.
Analytics 4 also allows for more cross-platform measurement, such as moving between websites and apps. So there is some functionality upside for some website owners.
But for most of us, this change will be a headache. Eventually, all of that historical data in your Google Analytics account will go away. Google promises to keep the data for at least six months after it sunsets your existing Analytics account. At that point, I’ll lose web access to all of my data for this site going back to 2005. You can export the data ahead of time.
Making the switch won’t be easy, especially if you measure e-commerce activity on your website. Here’s a helpful outline from Google about migrating to Analytics 4:
While the sunset date isn’t until next year, people who rely on Google Analytics should set up their new Google Analytics 4 properties now. This will allow them to fix errors and start gathering historical data.