Google’s analytics upgrade will erase history. What you need to know.

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Author: Coordinate

The clock is ticking for businesses seeking to understand their audience as Google makes monumental changes to its Analytics platform.

Rather than upgrade its current 10-year-old analytics system (Universal), Google is switching it off and powering up an entirely new system (Google Analytics 4 or GA4).

And while this means new opportunities to track and understand audiences and advertising return on investment, the changeover also has one gigantic disadvantage which has struck fear into the hearts of advertising and marketing departments the world over—all historical data stored on the old system cannot be migrated to the new one.

What’s a marketer to do in the face of losing year-on-year comparisons and seasonality?

Move fast.

Coordinate’s media team have been briefing clients on how to adapt to the new system while managing to save as much relevant data as possible. But the clock is ticking, with GA4 switching on in July 2023 and Universal switching off.

You’ll be able to access your old data in Universal Analytics for six months post July 2023, but after that it’s gone. For good!

The move is largely a response to international privacy, compliance and regulatory concerns coming from the European Union over the use of cookies and how safe data is as it flows in and out of countries and to the United States.

For its part, Google has been keen to explain the new opportunities for client interface under GA4 (they’ve been working on it for ages, and after all, Universal is practically a 10-year-old dinosaur in the meta world.)

It will allow them to understand how their customers interact on their apps and websites in a unified fashion. There is also better reporting and analysis allowing advertisers to understand how and where ad spends succeed.

Coordinate’s Sydney-based Paid Search and Digital Planner Buyer Dan Barley said the sooner businesses could swap over, the better.

“Clients will need to set up Google Analytics 4 ASAP to get as much data as they can before the switch over so to be able to have any year-on-year comparisons in 2023,” he said.

There are also advantages to setting up GA4 alongside their current Universal systems to compare information flows and get familiar with the new way of working —before there was no back-up.

We took the liberty of asking Dan some quick questions that might be front of mind for those in the industry.

How best to store histories? 

As unsexy as it is, you can’t go wrong with Excel, just make sure you make a backup of your backup!

How will the new system be better?

On the plus side, with the departure of cookies looming it feels like GA4 is a positive step towards a more accurate website data—not to mention being more data-compliant in that it won’t store IP addresses. One of the great things about Google Analytics has been its user friendliness, which Google assures us will continue into GA4.

Is there enough time to prepare for the changeover?

In theory, yes; but we all know how long it can take to get projects like this off the ground, so setting the goal of GA4 up and running within the next six-to-12 weeks should be high on the To Do list for sure.

Coordinate can support clients through this process—please reach out at