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The End of Universal Analytics: What Law Firms and Professional Services Firms Need to Know

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In its final act of deprecating Universal Analytics (UA), Google has announced that on July 1, 2024, it will permanently delete all data stored within Universal Analytics properties of Google Analytics:

"Starting July 1, 2023: Standard Universal Analytics properties stopped processing hits, including standard properties in accounts that also contain 360 properties. Some properties continued to process data for a short period after this as we staged the shutdown of Universal Analytics. You'll be able to access your previously processed data in your Universal Analytics property until July 1, 2024."

"Google Analytics 4 has replaced Universal Analytics". Google Help. March 13, 2024.

Although most web analysis can be completed using your website’s GA4 property and its data, some users may still continue to switch back to their website’s older Universal Analytics property review its historical data. If you still use Universal Analytics data as part of your web analytics, you need to take action before the July 1, 2024, deadline. Read on to learn more.

Background: GA4 replaces Universal Analytics

Google introduced GA4 in October 2020 as the newest version of its free web analytics service. It originally operated parallel to Universal Analytics (UA), the preceding version of Google Analytics that has been around since 2012. This gave website managers time to begin using GA4 and to transition to the newer platform.

Google’s transition from Universal Analytics to GA4 became complete on July 1, 2023, when Universal Analytics stopped collecting new data, making GA4 Google’s sole active web analytics platform. Since then, existing data in Universal Analytics has still been accessible to marketers, but with the understanding that this access wouldn’t last forever.

Google has since announced that on July 1, 2024, it will permanently delete all data stored within Universal Analytics properties.

Why is Google deleting Universal Analytics data?

Google has not officially announced why it will be deleting Universal Analytics data. It’s a good guess that Universal Analytics data takes up a vast amount of server space that Google could put to better use.

Google had been patient, allowing marketers to build up at least a year’s worth of data in GA4 (or more, for earlier adopters) before moving to delete the older date.

How does this data deletion affect me and my firm?

Many law firms and other professional services firms don’t review web analytics data that’s older than one year; they won’t be affected by this change. However, if your firm has continued to use older Universal Analytics data as part of performance reports since the platform was stopped collecting data last summer, then you may be affected.

It’s important to consider your specific needs.

  • A focus on recent data: Most websites don’t require historical data beyond one year to guide their marketing strategies. If your GA4 property was set up before Universal Analytics stopped collecting new data on July 1, 2023, then you will already have at least a year’s worth of data that you will be able to analyze moving forward.
  • A need for historical data: However, if your firm relies on long-term historical data for trend analyses or long-term comparisons, you will want to take steps to preserve UA data before July 1st.

What can I do to save my data?

Google allows you to export your historical UA data. This data can be downloaded in various formats including PDF, Google Sheets, and CSV and XLSX (for Microsoft Excel) for potential future use. However, there are limitations.

What are the Limitations of Exporting UA Data?

  • Too much data: Google Analytics collects so much data that it is impractical to export all of it just for the sake of having it. Marketers must be selective about what data (if any) is of practical use to them.
  • No interface: Although you can export UA data in various formats, the Universal Analytics platform will disappear. So, while you will have any data you save, it can be difficult to manipulate and analyze this data, requiring additional processing or conversion for analysis.

Contact Cubicle Fugitive for your web analytics needs

If your website’s Universal Analytics data is important to your firm and you need help exporting it before the July 1 deadline, contact us today. Our digital marketers can meet with you to discuss your firm’s analytics, identify what data you need to have saved, decide on file formats, and work with you to export key data before the deadline. Don’t wait until the last minute. If you need your historical Google Analytics data, act now.

What else can I do with Google Analytics data?

Optimize GA4

GA4 is indeed a powerful (and free) tool for website analytics, but it requires a strategic, custom setup to fully realize its potential. Our digital marketers can help by working with you to create a strategic analytics plan, creating customized event tracking, and ensuring that your Google Analytics property collects all the data you and your team need.

Google Looker Studio Reports

Google Analytics properties can be daunting to navigate; they contain what feels like an infinite number of data points that can be filtered and analyzed in infinite combinations. We can make web analytics easier with a Google Looker Studio dashboard, drawing data from your website’s GA4 property into an informative, easy-to-read and easy-to-analyze report. A well-designed reporting dashboard can present the data that really matters to your firm, helping you cut through the clutter and find the insights you need to inform and guide your firm’s marketing.

Contact us today

Reach out to learn more about Cubicle Fugitive and what we can offer you in data analytics and reporting. We can assist you with creating a unique Google Analytics implementation customized for your website and your needs. We can also discuss reporting solutions, including Google Looker Studio. Contact us today to set up a meeting and demo.

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