In this Article
- Why is Google sunsetting Universal Analytics?
- What will happen to our Universal Analytics data after July 1, 2023?
- What are alternatives to Universal Analytics?
- How to connect your alternative Data Source to Databox
- How to transition specific Universal Analytics Metrics and Dimensions to Google Analytics 4
- How to rebuild Universal Analytics Databoards in Databox
- How to archive Universal Analytics data in Databox
- Additional Resources
Why is Google sunsetting Universal Analytics?
Google Analytics announced in March 2022 that they will sunset Universal Analytics on July 1, 2023.
To start, Universal Analytics is 10 years old. A lot has happened in the world of data management and security since then, and this is Google’s best attempt to respond to those changes. This includes things like:
- Data Management: How people use the internet (GA was built for desktop browser usage, not apps and mobile)
- Data Security: Consumer awareness and sentiment on data privacy (user consent is now enforceable by law)
- Advancements in technology: (machine learning and modeling is limited with GA)
Universal Analytics was released a decade ago to support user habits and data needs that were not as advanced as they are today.
Universal Analytics relies on cookies (the text files in browsers) to transmit data behind dimensions and metrics. This isn’t optimized for apps and other software applications and is primarily designed to support a browser-page framework. For example, if you look at “Pageviews” for a specific page on your website, Universal Analytics will separately report on “Mobile” vs “Browser” pageviews and doesn’t tell the full story of your page’s activity. With the climate shifting away from heavy browser use, this became a barrier for Universal Analytics.
There are also limitations when it comes to broader modeling purposes, such as machine learning insights on the data and integrating with Big Query.
Universal Analytics stores IP addresses, which can be misused as personally identifiable information data, compromising personal privacy. By sunsetting Universal Analytics, Google has an opportunity to focus more heavily on securing personal data by reducing the amount of personal information that they collect and store.
What happens to our Universal Analytics data after July 1, 2023?
On July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics stopped tracking data. No new pageviews, sessions, events, etc. are be visible after this date.
However, historical data can still be viewed and synced from Universal Analytics until the end of the year.
What are alternatives to Universal Analytics?
The alternative that Google is encouraging users to switch to is Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This system is event-based, meaning every interaction (or “hit”) will be tracked as an event.
Pro Tip: We've pulled together a list of Databox Partners who offer Google Analytics 4 services. Not only can these agencies get Google Analytics 4 set up, but they’re often able to provide additional assistance like training, dashboard setup, and more.
Due to the differences in tracking logic used in Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4, historical data will not transfer from one to the other. This means that the date you set up and install Google Analytics 4 is the first date that you will have data available. So, it’s recommended that you switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible in order to start generating historical data. Learn how to set up Google Analytics 4 here.
That being said, there are a variety of non-Google alternatives that you can explore, including Clicky, Fathom, Plausible, Mixpanel, Matomo, and many more. If you plan to use an alternative to Google Analytics 4 and need help connecting it to Databox, feel free to start a chat to connect with our team.
How to connect your alternative Data Source to Databox
Databox has built a robust, one-click Google Analytics 4 integration. Learn more about this integration here.We also aim to support non-Google alternatives to the best of our ability. The good news is, Databox already offers 100+ one-click, SQL, and custom integrations, so we should be able to help you get your data in one way or another. Of the most popular non-Google alternatives, one-click integrations with Databox are currently available for Mixpanel, Matomo, Adobe Analytics, and Semrush. Feel free to start a chat with our team to request help connecting your alternative Data Source to Databox.
How to transition specific Universal Analytics Metrics and Dimensions to Google Analytics 4
You can find equivilant Basic Metrics, Custom Metrics and Custom Metric Dimensions between Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 here.
How to rebuild Universal Analytics Databoards in Databox
The Databoard Transition Tool is the easiest way to rebuild Universal Analytics Databoards to use Google Analytics 4 data.
However, if you've decided to go with a different replacement system (not GA4) or would like to take a more manual approach when rebuilding your dashboards, we've provided steps to do so below.
If you need additional help rebuilding your Universal Analytics Databoards, just reach out to our team via chat or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help in any way we can.
IN THIS SECTION
- How to use the Google Analytics Databoard Transition Tool
- How to rebuild Databoards using Templates
- How to rebuild Databoards using the Designer
How to use the Databoard Transition Tool
We've built a Google Analytics Databoard Transition Tool to help you transition your Google Analytics Universal dashboards to display Google Analytics 4 data in just a few clicks.
Based on our testing, approximately 50% of Universal Analytics Metrics will be automatically transitioned to Google Analytics 4 Metrics using this transition tool. We will provide a log of metrics that were and were not transitioned via email after the transition is complete. Metrics that do not have direct matches in Google Analytics 4 will not be transitioned.
HOW DOES THE DATABOARD TRANSITION TOOL WORK?
The Databoard Transition Tool uses this metric transition list to determine if the Universal Analytics Metric you're using on your dashboard has a 1:1 match in Google Analytics 4. This tool works for Basic, Custom, and Calculated Metrics. If a Google Analytics 4 metric match does not exist, the metric will not be transitioned.
HOW TO ACCESS THE DATABOARD TRANSITION TOOL
To access the Databoard Transition Tool, naviget to the Databoards page and hover over the Universal Analytics Databoard you'd like to transition. Click Transition to start the transition process.
HOW TO USE THE DATABOARD TRANSITION TOOL
1. Navigate to the Databoards page
2. Find the Google Analytics Universal Databoard that you'd like to transition. You can use the Data Source drop-down in the top right to help (just select Google Universal Analytics)
3. Click on the Transition button to start the transition process
4. You will be presented with a disclaimer explaining generally how the tool works. Click Start Transition
5. Now you'll see the Transition Helper. Here, you'll select the Google Analytics 4 Data Source(s) you'd like to use on the Databoard. Use the drop-downs to select your Google Analytics 4 Data Source(s) or connect your sources.
6. In the Transition setting section, you have 2 options
- Keep existing Databoard and create new one only with compatible GA4 metrics: The new duplicated Databoard will include only metrics that are compatible with G44 metrics from data source connections. All non-Google Analytics metrics will be copied over as well.
This is the recommended method as it will allow you to still reference your original Google Analytics Universal Databoard. This allows you to archive the Universal Analytics version and reference it after the transition as well (this is especially helpful so you can see metrics that were not successfully transitioned to GA4).
- Replace metrics on the existing Databoard: Metrics that are compatible with GA4 will be replaced on the existing Databoard. All metrics from data source connections other than Google Analytics will be kept as well.
By selecting the Remove Universal Analytics metrics incompatible with GA4 from the Databoard checkbox, you will lose any record of non-transitioned metrics on the dashboard.
If you do not select this checkbox, any non-transitioned metrics will remain on the dashboard, meaning you will have a mix of Google Analytics 4 and Google Analytics Universal metrics displayed. Google Analytics Universal metrics are no longer actively syncing data since Google deprecated this platform.
7. Click Start Transition
8. Once the transition is complete, you will receive an email outlining which metrics were successfully transitioned and which metrics were not able to be transitioned through the tool.
How to rebuild Databoards using Templates
Since there isn’t a one-to-one match for Universal Analytics metrics in any system (including GA4), the process to rebuild Universal Analytics Databoards in Databox is pretty manual. But, we have some tips and strategies to help make this as efficient as possible.By following these steps, you’re not starting from scratch when recreating Universal Analytics Databoards. Instead, you have the visualization types, Date Ranges, etc. already set and can just focus on updating the metrics that populate each Datablock.
Before getting started, make sure you connect your replacement Data Source in Databox.
Our first tip is to check out the Public Templates available for your new Data Source. We’ll use Google Analytics 4 as an example.
- Navigate to Databoards > Public Templates.
- Open the Data Source Filter and select Google Analytics 4. You can now see all Google Analytics 4 Templates that are available.
- Once you find a Template you want to use, click the green Use Template to download a copy of this Template to your Account.
- Select the appropriate Google Analytics 4 Data Source from your Account to re-populate the Databoard.
- The Databoard will now be re-built in your Account and populated with data from your Google Analytics 4 Data Source. You can now edit and further customize the Databoard using the Designer.
How to rebuild Databoards using the Designer
If a Public Template isn’t available, follow the steps below to re-build your Universal Analytics Databoards. This strategy helps ensure you’re not starting from scratch but instead have the visualization types, Date Ranges, etc. already set, so you can just focus on updating the metrics that populate each Datablock.
- Navigate to the Databoards page.
- Open the Data Source Filter and select Google Analytics.
- Hover over the first Universal Analytics Databoard. Click … More > Duplicate. Click the Duplicate button.
- Click Edit on the duplicated Databoard. This will open it in the Designer.
- Click on the first Datablock to open the corresponding Datablock Settings on the right-hand side of the Designer.
- Open the Metric drop-down in the Datablock Settings panel. Select the appropriate replacement Data Source and Metric. If there is not a Basic Metric available, you may need to build a Custom Metric to report on the same data using the new Data Source.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 for all Datablocks on the Databoard until there is no longer Universal Analytics data on the Databoard.
- Repeat steps 3 through 7 until you have created an updated version of all Universal Analytics Databoards in your Account.
How to archive Universal Analytics data in Databox
Since you will most likely not be logging into your Universal Analytics Account very often, and due to the fact that Google plans to get rid of this data completely by the end of the year, we have recommendations for archiving your Universal Analytics data so you can easily reference it in the future.Follow the steps below to create a Report with your Universal Analytics Databoards and archive your data in Databox:
- Navigate to Databoards > Looped Databoards.
- Click the green + New Loop button in the top right.
- In the Add Databoards to Loop popup, open the Data Source Filter and select Google Universal Analytics.
- Select the checkbox next to Name to select all Databoards. If you have more than 20 Universal Analytics Databoards, you will need to create multiple loops and select the Databoards individually.
- When you’ve selected the Databoards you want to use, click the green Select button at the bottom of the popup.
- In the Create Databoard loop popup, enter a name for the loop. Click Save.
- Find your loop on the Looped Databoards page, using the Search functionality if needed.
- Click the arrow next to the View button. Select Create a Report.
- This will bring you to the Report Editor. Here, you can customize your Report further by adding additional slides (like a cover slide), changing the Date Ranges on your dashboards, or including notes under each slide.
- Once your Report is ready, you can archive it by sharing it, such as by sending it via email or creating a PDF. Shared Reports will always be accessible on the Archive page in Databox ( Reports > Archive).
Follow the steps below to create Reports using our Public Templates and archive your data in Databox:
- Navigate to Reports > Public Templates.
- Open the Data Source Filter and select Google Universal Analytics. You can now see all Google Universal Analytics Templates that are available.
- In the Search bar, type " archive". These Templates were specifically created to archive Universal Analytics data.
- Once you find a Template you want to use, click the green Use Template button to download a copy of this Template to your Account.
- Select the appropriate Google Universal Analytics Data Source from your Account to re-populate the Databoard.
- The Report will now be re-built in your Account and populated with data from your Universal Analytics Data Source. You can now edit and further customize the Report using the Report Editor.
- Once your Report is ready, you can archive it by sharing it, like by sending it via email or creating a PDF. Shared Reports will always be accessible on the Archive page in Databox ( Reports > Archive).
- Transitioning Metrics from Google Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4
- Google Analytics 4 Partner Services
- Switching to Google Analytics 4 with Databox
- Google Analytics 4 Migration: A Step By Step Guide
- Google Analytics 4 Metrics Tutorial: Everything You Need to Know Before You Transition to the New Platform
- Transferring a Single Website from Universal Analytics to GA4