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Google's Universal Analytics has stopped tracking stats on July 1st 2023 (and there's no import to GA4)

• Written by Marko Saric
Universal Google Analytics has stopped tracking stats on July 1st 2023 and there's no import to GA4

Google just dropped big news on the business and marketing world! Universal Google Analytics, the current version of Google Analytics, will be sunset and will stop counting stats on July 1st 2023. The new Google Analytics 4 will be replacing Universal Analytics.

  1. What’s going on with Google Analytics?
  2. How to import Universal Analytics stats to GA4
  3. Why the forced move to Google Analytics 4?
  4. GA4 has been met with a backlash
  5. What can you do now?
  6. Why is Plausible better than GA4?
  7. How to import Google Analytics stats to Plausible Analytics
  8. Try out Plausible

What’s going on with Google Analytics?

We will begin sunsetting Universal Analytics — the previous generation of Analytics — next year. All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023.

Here’s the full announcement post by Google.

Google is not only killing the universal Google Analytics but they’ve also announced that people will not be able to continue viewing their historical stats. You’ll be able to access the previously collected data in Universal Analytics for at least six months.

Google will soon “provide a future date for when existing Universal Analytics properties will no longer be available”. After that, you’ll lose access to your historical stats. Do make sure to export your data before this. Google has published the different ways you can export the data.

How to import Universal Analytics stats to GA4

The third big shock is that there’s no way to import your historical Universal Google Analytics stats into the new Google Analytics 4 edition. Google is encouraging people to “make the switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible” in order to “build the necessary historical data” in the new GA4.

Google doesn’t want to give you an option to import your historical stats to GA4 so we’ve put a lot of effort into making a Google Analytics stats import tool ourselves. See the instructions further down this post.

Why the forced move to Google Analytics 4?

This big move is happening because Google is betting on the Google Analytics 4 edition.

Google Analytics 4 allows websites to follow a “unified user journeys across their websites and apps”. It features “expanded integrations with other Google products, like Google Ads”.

Because of the issues with the privacy regulations, the blocking of cookies and an increasing usage of adblockers that leave Google Analytics with a significant gap in data, the new Google Analytics is using “machine learning technology to surface and predict new insights”.

Google is also trying to join a more privacy-first web stating that Google Analytics 4 is “designed with privacy at its core” and that it will no longer store IP addresses of the visitors.

GA4 has been met with a backlash

Google Analytics 4 was introduced in July 2019 but has been met with a lot of negativity and a huge backlash from the wider business and marketing community.

The main criticism seems to be that Google Analytics is moving from being a tool for marketers, content creators and site owners to being a more advanced tool for data analysts instead.

The user interface is even less intuitive than before and it’s even more challenging to use. Even regular reports that everyone expects from their analytics tool are difficult to access in GA4. Instead of having access to a suite of reports, you now have to build your reports from scratch. It’s still very slow to use too.

What can you do now?

First of all, there’s still time. You have until July of 2023 to decide your next move.

If GA4 excites you, set it up and try it out. See how it feels. Does it provide everything you need in an analytics tool? If you’re happy with what it does, then you’re all set and no further action is needed.

If you’re not happy with the new GA4 experience, we have put together a list of best Google Analytics alternatives.

One of the alternatives is a tool we’re building ourselves. It’s called Plausible Analytics. And here’s what makes Plausible a good alternative to Google Analytics 4.

Why is Plausible better than GA4?

  1. Plausible is built to be simple to use and understand. We present only the most important traffic insights and metrics. All of the data we collect fits on one single page and can be scanned in one minute.

  2. With Plausible, you’re fully in control of the data you collect. Your website data is not shared with advertising companies or any other companies in general. It’s not sent to any third-parties and it’s not mined and harvested for personal and behavioral trends.

  3. Plausible has built-in compliance with the different privacy regulations. We don’t use cookies, we have no cross-site or cross-device tracking and we don’t use any long term identifiers either. Plausible is also a European startup exclusively using EU-owned cloud infrastructure which helps with Schrems II compliance.

  4. Plausible keeps your site loading fast. Our script is more than 17 times smaller than the Google Analytics script and more than 45 times smaller than the recommended Google Analytics integration using the Google Tag Manager.

  5. Google Analytics script is blocked by many people. With tech-savvy audiences, the level of blocking gets up to 60%. Plausible doesn’t need machine learning to predict what happens on your site. We can show what actually happens as we don’t see the same level of blockage.

  6. Plausible is not a part of the surveillance capitalism. Google Analytics is free because Google has built their company and their wealth by collecting and analyzing huge amounts of personal information from web users and using these personal and behavioral insights to sell advertisements. We choose the subscription business model rather than surveillance capitalism. We’re operating a sustainable project funded solely by the fees that our subscribers pay us.

  7. Plausible is open source web analytics. Our source code is available and accessible on GitHub so anyone can read it and review it to ensure it keeps the data private and secure.

  8. Plausible is growing fast. We now have more than 6,000 paying subscribers, we’re tracking stats on more than 37,000 websites and we’re counting more than one billion pageviews per month.

  9. Plausible allows you to import your historical stats from Google Analytics into your Plausible dashboard. Here are the instructions for our Google Analytics import tool.

How to import Google Analytics stats to Plausible Analytics

Here’s how to import your historical Google Analytics stats into your Plausible Analytics account.

  1. Go to the Plausible Analytics site settings for the website you’d like to import the data for.

  2. In the “Imports” tab, find the “Google Analytics” option to link your Google account to your Plausible account.

  3. You will now see a drop-down selection menu listing Google Analytics properties associated with your Google account. Select the appropriate property. This will generally be the property with the same domain name as your Plausible site. Then click on the “Continue” button.

  4. On the next screen, you can click on the “Confirm import” button to start the data import process. Depending on the amount of data you have, this may take some time. This is run in the background, so you will receive an email when the import has been completed. It should take no more than a couple of minutes for most sites.

  5. Once you have received the email, the imported data will be visible in your Plausible dashboard.

Try out Plausible

Are you not happy with Google’s plans and are not ready to switch to Google Analytics 4? Give Plausible a chance. Sign up for a 30-day free trial with no obligations and explore our simple and privacy-friendly website analytics dashboard. And keep your Google Analytics data.

Written by Marko Saric

Hi! We are Uku and Marko. We're building a lightweight, non-intrusive alternative to Google Analytics. You can read about our journey and what we've learnt along the way on this blog.