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Google Sunsetting UA
Let’s start the email with this. This trash announcement by Google below. For those that don’t realize it yet, this is a *Big Deal*.
If you want a laugh about how bad this is, read the comments and retweets of the below tweet.
There’s very few comments that aren’t just utter contempt for this move. Of those comments that aren’t utter contempt, I guarantee you 99% of those people suck at their jobs. If you were good at analyzing a website’s analytics, you’d realize how bad GA4 is.
Just like Google’s privacy sandbox, this is bound to fall flat on its face.
GA4 isn’t ready for the limelight. Google has decided to move on and sunset Universal Analytics against most user’s concerns.
Why is Google Sunsetting Universal Analytics (GA3)
They toute it as better for cross platform (Web & App). There’s three issues with that though.
It’s not. It sucks. It is better for cross platform but individually, it sucks.
Most GA users don’t have an App. Even enterprise clients apps’ only bring in a fraction of their overall revenue. Web is what’s really important to most of them.
There are better tools on the market if you have an App and Website. Without historical data transferring to GA4, there’s nothing to keep enterprise clients on GA. Enterprises upgraded to GA 360 for the unsampled functionality on Web. Amplitude and Mixpanel are superior for cross platform tracking data collection. They don’t limit the data you collect like GA4 does.
My guess is for different reasons.
EU laws. In the EU, you have to get consent to place analytics cookies. There’s two camps here.
The first camp follows the guidelines and almost nobody consents. They don’t really use the product because it’s useless.
The second camp just doesn’t have a banner and sets the cookies anyways. Most are too small to sue and they know it.
The recent actions on making GA illegal in many EU countries. Data being processed/stored in the US…
More people using ad blockers and the elimination of 3rd party trackers in the chrome browser. (Easily bypassed by server side implementation if you were wondering…)
Absolutely everyone hates GA4 and nobody is using it. They’re sunsetting to force people to use the product.
When I say nobody wants GA4, let me explain. Last year, enterprise clients weren’t even installing GA4 on their sites. Google decided to eat a cost they didn’t have to, to pay agencies of enterprise clients to install it on their website.
AKA, I didn’t see the value so I wasn’t going to waste my time. Google payed [redacted] agency $5,000 to do work that my team was responsible for doing. Because nobody wants it.
What Does That Mean For You
First it means that you need to setup GA4 ASAP if you haven’t already. Google may still make GA4 usable even though it’s not there yet.
When analyzing your data, you always want a YoY view to account for seasonality. Since the processing of UA data stops in July of 23, you don’t have much time to implement if you want YoY data.
Second, none of your Universal Analytics data will transfer over to GA4 since it uses a different data model. Without historical data transfer, there’s not a lot of reasons for users to stick with Google…
Third, I’ll be looking at alternatives to GA4. Expect the next post to go over some options.
Setting Up GA4
You may be switching to an alternative analytics provider, or you may not. It’s too early to decide so you should set up GA4 just in case.
If you implemented Universal Analytics via GTM, setting up GA4 takes about 30 seconds.
First you’re going to want to click settings in the bottom left hand corner and click “GA4 Setup Assistant”.
Then click “Get Started” the “Create Property”. It’s that simple.
Looking For Alternatives
I haven’t yet decided whether I’m going to drop Google Analytics all together or not. I am in the stage of looking at other solutions.
The below isn’t an inclusive list. This is just what I’ve found by doing some searching. Feel free to research them yourself. There will be a post coming giving you some pros and cons of each.
The next post (this weekend) will likely be a roundup of how to learn GA4 or a breakout of the above tools.
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Disclaimer: Nothing written here should be construed as legal for financial advice of any kind. These are opinions and observations, written by an anonymous cartoon Opossum, built up over years working in e-commerce & affiliate marketing.