If you read my post from 5 April about the privacy issues with Google you will know that we’ve been spending quite a bit of time recently persuading our clients to switch to an alternative analytics tool to track visitor numbers to their website.
Of course this is an individual decision for each client and you may have decided after weighing up the risks that you’re happier sticking with Google Analytics. Yep, we understand that.
But it’s not going to be as simple as that I’m afraid. Yep, Google is throwing a spanner in the works. If you’re using Google Analytics you will probably have received an email recently about the switch to Google Analytics 4.
What Does this Mean?
This is my understanding of what is happening:
- Google have introduced a new way of tracking which involves making changes to your Analytics account and using a new bit of tracking code on your website.
- From 1 July 2023 the original way of tracking (called Universal Analytics) will stop working.
- At some point in the future (I haven’t been able to find exactly when) the historical data recorded from Universal Analytics will be deleted.
Yeah, thanks Google.
What Should I Do?
If you want to keep tracking activity on your website, I’m afraid it’s not something that you can ignore. These are the steps I would advise:
1. Decide what tool you would like to use moving forwards
You have the choice of sticking with Google Analytics or switching to an alternative. I’m very much favouring the alternative option – something where you have more control over your own data would be good, right?
2. Make the change
This will either be changing your site over to a new tool or updating your Google Analytics to run with Google Analytics 4. Whichever option you go for there will be some changes needed to your website to use the updated tracking.
3. Record your historical data
And if you don’t want to lose the past record of visitors to your site when it is deleted, now would be a good time to make sure you’ve got what you want saved. Google Analytics records a huge amount of data, so I wouldn’t recommend trying to copy out everything – but maybe think about what the important measurements are for you and creating yourself a nice spreadsheet to keep them in.
Or you might decide that you don’t need the historical data – what you record moving forwards might be the important thing for you. It really depends on how you use Analytics for your business.
So folks, time to review the analytics situation for your website. I know it feels like yet another thing to have to take care of but the best advice I can give is act now while there’s still plenty of time to get it sorted.