Google Analytics 4 and the One Thing No One is Telling You About Switching

Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google Analytics, a web analytics tool provided by Google. It was announced on October 14, 2020, and is currently available for users to upgrade.

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 is a web analytics tool that tracks and reports website traffic. It can also be used to measure the performance of marketing campaigns and to track conversions.

How is GA 4 Different from the Previous Version?

Google Analytics 4 is different from the previous version in that it uses a machine learning algorithm to automatically identify and group users with similar behavior. This allows for more accurate reporting and analysis of website traffic.

What are the Benefits of using Google Analytics 4?

Some benefits of using Google Analytics 4 include more accurate reporting and analysis of website traffic, as well as the ability to track conversions across multiple devices.

What’s Happening to the Old Version of Google Analytics?

Per Google, “Until July 1, 2023, you can continue to use and collect new data in your Universal Analytics properties. After July 1, 2023, you’ll be able to access your previously processed data in your Universal Analytics property for at least six months. We know your data is important to you, and we strongly encourage you to export your historical reports during this time.” It is after all Google, who has quite a history of sunsetting products.

How Do I Switch to Google Analytics 4?

To switch to Google Analytics 4, you will need to create a new property in your Google Analytics account. Once you have done this, you can then migrate your data from the previous version to the new version. If you need some help making this change, let us know by contacting us.

And, (Finally) the One Thing No One is Telling You About Google Analytics 4

One of the biggest changes in Google Analytics that no one is telling you about all that much is in the area of data retention. And this could have major impacts on your measurement including Google Ads and other efforts.
In the previous version of Google Analytics you could set data retention… the ability to save historical data to unlimited.
Per Google:
“For Universal Analytics properties, the setting applies to user-level and event-level data. You can choose:

  • 14 months
  • 26 months
  • 38 months
  • 50 months
  • Do not automatically expire”

With this new change to Google Analytics 4 the data retention policy has been changed to

“For Google Analytics 4 properties (non Analytics 360 version), retention of user-level data, including conversions, can be set to a maximum of 14 months. For all other event data, you can choose the length of retention:

  • 2 months
  • 14 months”

So, for Google Analytics users your data retention has changed from “do not automatically expire” aka unlimited retention to just 14 months.

If you are concerned about the new data retention policy in Google Analytics (and you should be) get in touch with us below about longer term options.

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