Now is the time to update your Google Analytics account.
Google Analytics is the most popular web analytics tool available. It’s free and robust, and millions of website owners use it on their websites. Most of these site owners set up Analytics once and let it do its magic, checking the performance of their sites from time to time.
That changes next year. Unless you have a relatively new Google Analytics account, it will stop processing data on July 1, 2023.
If you created your Google Analytics property before October 14, 2020, you are likely using so-called Universal Analytics properties. These will end next year in favor of Google Analytics 4.
The main reason for the change is confidentiality. The way Google Analytics collects and stores data is increasingly against local privacy regulations. For example, Analytics 4 does not store IP addresses.
Analytics 4 also allows for more cross-platform measurement, such as moving between websites and apps. So there are benefits for some website owners.
But for most of us, this change will be a headache. Eventually, all that historical data from your Google Analytics account will disappear. Google agrees to retain data for at least six months after your existing Analytics account is terminated. At this point I will lose web access to all my data for this site since 2005. You can export the data in advance.
Making the switch won’t be easy, especially if you’re measuring e-commerce activity on your website. Here is a helpful overview from Google about migrating to Analytics 4:
Although the expiration date isn’t until next year, people who rely on Google Analytics should set up their new Google Analytics 4 properties now. This will allow them to fix errors and start collecting historical data.