What is the switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics?
In a move to adhere to privacy laws Google has recently confirmed that Universal Analytics, UA, will stop processing new website visits and will permanently shut down on 1st July 2023. The change will see UA become replaced by the latest version of Google Analytics, GA4.
If you currently use Google Analytics, it’s likely that you’ll be using UA, and so will need to switch. Although UA doesn’t deprecate until 2023, there are two reasons why you need to at the very least, set up GA4 today:
- Larger accounts (such as top 100 law firms) can no longer add new goals to their UA Google Analytics account; and
- GA4 will not import any historic UA data, and so for you to be able to compare month on month and month vs. last year performance, we need to run both instances for the next year.
What will the switch mean for my law firm?
If your law firm doesn’t add GA4 soon, from deadline day next summer you will lose all of the data you have collected and you’ll no longer be able to set up goals for your marketing campaign under UA.
In fact, some larger sites are already facing restrictions and some are unable to set up additional goals in UA.
Whilst this may come as a surprise, the switch does have some benefits. One key positive point to note is that the move to GA4 is built with GDPR in mind and adheres to all privacy laws. This is because the tracking implementation is changing from a predominantly cookie-based and session orientated tracking, which relies on I.P addresses, to an event-based tracking system.
GA4 will work synergistically across all apps and your website so that you can get a complete and more accurate view of how your customers interact with your business across various platforms.
Other benefits of GA4 include:
- Upgraded benefits to customer journey tracking
- Improved user engagement analysis
- Additional audiences for your ad campaigns
- GDPR safe privacy and tracking features
- Simplified goals and events setup
- Enhanced data reporting
Why do I need to make the switch for my law firm website?
In order to continue to use tracking benefits and your visitors’ data to help you make data-led decisions for both your advertising and marketing campaigns when UA is discontinued it’s vital that you make the move.
Not only will there be a process in making the switch, transferring your UA data over but there will also be a huge period of adjustment for your team to familiarise themselves with the features and plugins.
The good news is that we have developed some plug and play dashboards for law firms, where you’ll be able to focus on analysing the outcomes, rather than worrying about building the input for GA4.
Why do I need to do it now?
Unfortunately, there’s no magic button and whilst the switch-off doesn’t start until next year, firms must start preparing to keep valuable data because it’s recommended that firms need 12 months of data gathering using both systems to have a hassle-free, end-to-end transition.
Firms that leave it to last-minute risk being unable to build the necessary historical data, and will likely stumble upon harder to resolve problems.
The 14-month handover period gives you and your team a chance to get used to the tracking elements, for instance ‘goals’ will now be termed as a ‘goal event’ with conversions set to each event that provides a transaction or lead.
After the complex and unusual data your firm has received during the pandemic, this year should be a huge focus on tracking through both programmes so that from next year you have strong data foundations into your client activity.
Can I store my historic data from UA Analytics?
Yes, we can help you do this. It’s likely to be a bespoke SQL database in light of your specific needs. We’re happy to quote for this.
Can TBD Marketing help me to switch over to GA4?
Yes, we’d be happy to. We can also show you our industry standard reporting dashboards in the process (we’re offering the move to GA4 for free to analytics dashboard subscribers). Contact us to arrange an informal chat.