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Google Universal Analytics Sunset: A Friendly Reminder for eCommerce Businesses

For eCommerce store owners who rely on data s to optimize their online presence, a critical deadline looms. Google Universal Analytics, the industry standard for website analytics for over a decade, is scheduled to be shut down on July 1, 2024. This means that after this date, you will no longer be able to access valuable historical data or collect new data through Universal Analytics.

This article serves as a friendly reminder to prepare for the transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the next generation of website analytics, if you haven’t already done so.

A Timeline of the Universal Analytics Sunset Announcement

In March 2022 when Google announced its plans to sunset Universal Analytics the announcement sent shockwaves through the eCommerce community, prompting many store owners to scramble and understand the implications. Google emphasized the need to migrate to GA4, highlighting its advanced features, focus on privacy, and deeper integration with other Google products like Google Ads.

In the months that followed, Google released several resources and tools to facilitate a smooth transition. They offered comprehensive migration guides, webinars, and even created a ‘Setup Assistant’ within the Google Analytics platform to streamline the process. However, many eCommerce businesses, understandably focused on day-to-day operations, may have overlooked these crucial updates.

The Impending Deadline: July 1, 2024

The most critical piece of information to remember is the official sunset date: July 1, 2024. After this date, Universal Analytics properties will be deleted, and along with it, your historical data. This data can be a valuable asset for future reference and trend analysis, so Google provides tools within the Universal Analytics platform to export your data in various formats, including CSV, TSV, and Google Sheets.

If this data is critical for you, it’s important to export it before the deadline. Once the sunset occurs, your historical data will be permanently deleted, making it impossible to retrieve.

Haven’t Switched to GA4 Yet? Here’s What You Need to Do

If you haven’t yet migrated to GA4, there’s no need to panic. Google has designed the transition process to be as easy as possible. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

  • Set Up a GA4 Property: The first step is to create a new GA4 property within your Google Analytics account. This can be done through the Google Analytics dashboard using the ‘Setup Assistant’ tool.
  • Install the GA4 Tracking Code: Once your GA4 property is set up, you’ll need to place the provided tracking code on your website. This code will enable GA4 to collect data about user behavior on your eCommerce store.  If you need assistance locating where or how to install this code in your BigCommerce, Shopify, or Turbify store, feel free to contact us at support@yourstorewizards.com.
  • Configure Data Streams: GA4 utilizes the concept of data streams to differentiate data sources. For most eCommerce stores, the primary data stream will be your website. Configure this data stream within your GA4 property settings.
  • Explore and Familiarize Yourself: GA4 offers a plethora of powerful features and functionalities. While the user interface may differ vastly from Universal Analytics, Google provides extensive resources and tutorials to help you navigate the platform effectively.
  • Start Collecting Data: With the tracking code installed and data streams configured, GA4 will begin collecting data on your website traffic. It’s important to understand that unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 doesn’t automatically process data into readily-available reports. You’ll need to configure your desired reports and visualizations to analyze the collected data.

The Benefits of Migrating to GA4

While the transition to GA4 may seem daunting, it offers several advantages over the previous version.  Fortunately, Google offers a wealth of resources to help eCommerce businesses navigate the transition. Here are some valuable resources to get you started:

Beyond Google’s resources, consider exploring online communities and forums dedicated to Google Analytics. These communities can be a valuable source of insights, best practices, and support from other eCommerce professionals transitioning to GA4.

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