In an announcement that has shocked professional webmasters worldwide, Google has announced that its Universal Analytics product, which most of us have had on our sites for years, is closing in the middle of next year.
Everyone knew the company was moving to its new ‘Google Analytics 4’ product, and I’ve recommended here in the past that you set this up in addition to Universal Analytics as soon as possible. However, no announcement had been made that the old product would be switched off, nor that historic data couldn’t be migrated to the new system (which seems to be the case). The news has not gone down well, but I guess we should have become used to this with free services over the years.
So if you’re a Google Analytics user, you have a choice:
1. Switch to Google Analytics 4
2. Switch to another visitor analytics product
Whichever you choose, do it reasonably quickly, so that your historical stats (which will start when you switch on the new product) will go back as far as possible. I’d set up a proper audit of what you’re getting from the current Google Analytics, so that you can re-create that in the new system. Some people (including most of our clients) have some very sophisticated setups. Google Analytics 4 can be set up now, alongside your existing Universal Analytics, at no cost (unless you need someone to do it for you), so that might be worth doing regardless, if you haven’t already.
I hope to bring you some checklists here over the next few months, and point out possible alternatives. Don’t bet against alternative visitor analytics products offering a way to import old Google Analytics data either!