Hollinden Inbound Marketing for Professional Service Firms

Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4: What Does it Mean?

By now, you are most likely aware that Google is implementing a major shift in Google Analytics. Effective July 1, 2023, all data and processing in Google Universal Analytics (UA) will cease and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will take its place. GA4 is not a mere update, it is an evolution in how user data will be processed and interpreted.

Are You Impacted?

The very first thing to know in this transition is whether or not your firm’s Google Analytics is in the crossfire. Here’s how to tell:

  1. Log into Google Analytics. If your account is impacted, you should see a blue notification at the top that reads "Universal Analytics will no longer process new data in standard properties beginning July 1, 2023." That means you are still using UA.

However, there’s one caveat: If you previously dismissed this notification, it will not reappear.

  1. If your organization has had a Google Analytics account for some time (more than 2 years), notice whether or not there are two property IDs. If there are, then check the property IDs. UA property IDs start with “UA” followed by a number, while GA4 IDs only consist of numbers. Some GA4 properties may have GA4 after the name.
  2. The way to ensure your account is set for GA4, is to check the email associated with that Google Analytics account for an email from Google.


The Bottom Line:

The Difference Between UA and GA4:

Google calls GA4 the “future of measurement.” It has actually been in existence since 2020 and early adopters have benefited from its power. GA4 tracks information across touchpoints, meaning it provides a holistic view of the customer lifecycle regardless of what platform is used (desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile). UA was built around desktop users, relying on data from cookies and independent sessions. GA4, on the other hand, operates across platforms and uses an event-based data model to collect information. For example, consider a series of interactions such as button clicks, video views, or purchases. GA4 tracks these interactions, providing more comprehensive and granular data.

Another difference is GA4 doesn’t fragment data like its predecessor. Its data-driven attribution improves ROI by calculating the contribution of every click and understanding how marketing strategies influence conversions. GA4 also measures engagement according to business and compliance needs and allows the management or minimization of the data collected. To. put that in layman’s terms, GA4 gives you control over the quality of the data and insights received.

What’s Next?

If your firm is being impacted, you must switch before July 1, 2023, to preserve your analytics data. UA will stop processing information on that date. The earlier you transition to GA4, the better. While migrating all current data to GA4 is not possible due to different data models, utilizing Google’s ‘dual-tagging’ feature should prevent data loss. Dual-tagging collects raw data on both GA4 and UA until the deadline, creating an inventory of information to reference.


Google provides a step-by-step guide to switching to GA4. However, setting up a GA4 property is only part of the process. The GA4 ID must be added appropriately to your website which may require some technical expertise, depending upon the content management system or hosting solution being used. Finally, once the GA4 ID is implemented, make sure it is tracking properly. Translation? Don’t wait until June 30th to make the switch.

Have questions? Contact us. We’re happy to help!