Google: Universal Analytics is Ending
Time to upgrade to GA4 - Here’s How to Do it and Keep Your Historic Data & Annotations
On March 16, 2022. Google announced that Universal Analytics will be deprecated on July 1, 2023.
It’s the end of an era - Google has decided to stop supporting Universal Analytics, meaning that now’s the time to upgrade to the next-generation measurement solution: GA4.
Google recently spelled out exactly what’s going to happen and when. As stated in their press release:
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.
In the coming months, we'll provide a future date for when existing Universal Analytics properties will no longer be available. After this future date, you'll no longer be able to see your Universal Analytics reports in the Analytics interface or access your Universal Analytics data via the API.”
Remember: All annotations added on your Universal Analytics properties will be lost – unless you take action to save them – more on this later.
How can I export data from my Universal Analytics property?
There are currently several ways to export data from your Universal Analytics property.
Export individual reports into the following formats:
TSV for Excel
Use the Google Analytics Reporting API to export data.
Google Analytics 360 customers can also export to BigQuery.
How to upgrade to GA4 property
Head to the admin area and look for the ‘Property’ column. You should see the ‘GA4 Setup Assistant’ at the top of the column. Click on it to launch the upgrade assistant.
Create a new GA4 property by clicking here
Now the wizard outlines some essential things that you should keep in mind:
Your new GA4 property won’t have historical data. Because your new property will not have historical data, you will need to keep the Universal Analytics property to view that data.
It will only copy basic settings. Only the most basic settings will be copied. This means you should not expect it to copy more advanced customizations, such as goals or filters.
Enhanced Measurement will be enabled. This feature automatically tracks certain actions on your website, including clicking outbound links, watching embedded videos, downloading files, and scrolling.
If you use Google Tag Manager, you will see a message telling you that you need to install a new tag
What About Annotations? How can I export annotations from Universal Analytics to GA4?
Google’s GA4 does not support annotations. No worries, though, because Crystal Ball Insight (formerly GAannotations) has a seamless solution for you.
1. Go to Univeral Analytics, select all your annotations, and copy/paste each UA annotation into this excel sample.
2- Create an account on Crystal Ball, and upload the annotations list here.
3- Install the Crystal Ball Chrome Extension, and you’re all set! Select an annotation’s red dot and click it; your annotations will appear on the exact dates you specified!
Take advantage of the GA4 upgrade to enjoy all that Crystal Ball offers; you can easily create manual annotations on the fly with our Chrome Extension, and automate annotations so your Ads campaigns, promotional emails, social media posts, and more are noted on your data charts. Get updates from Github or Bitbucket…and connect almost any app that impacts your data, so you always know what your data is telling you.
Try Crystal Ball Insight today!