What is Google Analytics 4?

The latest version of Google’s analytics tool, Google Analytics 4, has been published (GA4). GA4, formerly known as Universal Analytics, is a radical shift from its forerunners (UA). About this time in 2019, Google will start the process of officially decommissioning UA. All default UA properties will stop receiving new information as of July 1, 2023.

Methodology for Advancement

The University Marketing and Communications (UMC) office is in charge of campus-wide UA to GA4 conversion. While tedious, this process will give us more reliable data on which to build our strategic recruitment and public image initiatives. Content management system (CMS) users and site admins can take it easy; no immediate action is necessary. Potentially, additional training or schooling will be necessary in the future.

A new set of analytics properties and views must be crafted as part of the update procedure. We will be better equipped to respond to Google’s total views restriction when we rebuild our infrastructure.

A Tentative Timeline

For our primary GA4 property at UMC, we have already began collecting basic website data with the goal of providing a full year’s worth of data in all views prior to the required switch-over date. UMC aims to re-implement GA4 custom event tracking using their new event tracking engine in the month of June.

Permissions at UA as they are now will allow the newly built GA4 views to be accessed during the upcoming Fall semester. New users start out with UA access and are eventually promoted to GA4 status once enough data has been collected.

The UA interface will be available to students, faculty, and staff as long as Google permits it. Google has said that it would stop processing any UA data as of July 1, 2023, however there are currently no publicized intentions to disable access to the UA user interface before that date.

A Discussion of GA4 Procedures

UA cannot be compared to GA4, and some may even say that GA4 is more difficult. On-campus clients thinking about web analytics should familiarize themselves with GA4. Many hours of video tutorials are now available through the Google SkillShop hub for education. We expect Google’s training options to expand and improve as the deadline of July 1, 2023 approaches.

General Inquiries
When I switch hosting providers, will all of the data on my website be lost?
Google has stated they will cease all UA data collection. Following that, they guarantee you access to your processed data in UA for a period of at least six months. It’s probable they’ll keep UA available for an even longer amount of time in light of the criticism this change has sparked.

Can I transfer my UA records to GA4?

You will need to implement the Google Analytics 4 tracking code in order to obtain these statistics; unfortunately, you cannot simply copy and paste your user base from UA to GA4. There are a number of e-commerce companies with substantial data analysis teams and budgets that export their UA data into Google Big Query and then process it with Google Data Studio. Unfortunately, this method cannot be implemented at Michigan Tech with the current budget.

Does UMC intend to offer GA4 training?

We believe Google will excel in training for its own available product. As a result, we plan to update our Google Analytics guide. If we come across any fresh info that would be of interest to our readers, we will add it here. For the handful of academic institutions who require it, we plan to provide a video or blog post outlining the process of switching between GA4 profiles.
Email if you have any issues or need to terminate your Google Analytics account. Thank you very much.

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