Google recently announced that Universal Analytics 3 will call it a day come July 2023, while Analytics 360 will close up shop the following October. A platform that revolutionized digital marketing, the news came as a major blow to those who utilize it for data tracking and measuring user behavior.

With Google’s Universal Analytics shutting down and privacy concerns on the rise, companies need to know how UA’s demise will affect their digital marketing. Companies will also need to know how to navigate the new technologies and circumvent any issues going forward.

Why Google is Doing Away with Universal Analytics

Introduced in 2012, Universal Analytics provided tracking codes, user IDs, and more to accurately gauge online movement — thus allowing businesses to get a leg up on lead generation. But now, with the impending closure of Universal Analytics, Google has revealed Analytics 4, which was released in 2020, will take its place. 

In their explanation of Universal Analytics’ closure, Google noted that its “online measurement … was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies,” which was “quickly becoming obsolete.” On top of that, privacy and data concerns have increasingly risen since the influx of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

How Analytic Methods Are Changing

A study from TechRepublic revealed that 86% of surveyees felt concerned about data privacy. 78% said the amount of data collected was worrisome, and nearly half of respondents reported that they don’t trust their data will be used in an ethical manner. Interestingly enough, just over 10% reported a lack of trust in their employers.

With these concerns in mind, Google ultimately decided to can Universal Analytics in favor of Google Analytics 4. As a result, Analytics 4 will no longer save IP addresses and has shifted from cookies to what they call an “event-based model” to track data and user behavior — showcasing their adaptability to the new international data privacy standards.

Analytics 4 will incorporate “data-driven attribution,” which will pool together tidbits of user behavior (what ads they click, conversion time, device used) and contrasts it with what could’ve happened. This, in turn, keeps track of user touchpoints and assigns credit to the final channels for successful transactions. For example, if an ad is sent through a paid search and lands in one’s email inbox, clicking the ad from the email will assign email as the credit for conversion.

The Fine Line in Privacy Tracking

Making sure Google remains within the good graces of international law when it comes to privacy has never been more nebulous and challenging. As the world becomes more and more interconnected, what constitutes lawful privacy becomes more difficult by the second.

Universal Analytics eventually experienced the pitfalls of the constantly-evolving public stance on privacy. A system previously built on data retention through cookies was one that was no longer sustainable. According to Kaspersky, cookies retain small amounts of information regarding your browser behavior, but can be thwarted by criminals — giving them access to crucial information. And you know you’ve seen those cookie popups on websites (and accepted them all anyway!).

Google taking the next step forward with Analytics 4 represents a major shift away from the reliance of cookies, and also a shift into better privacy protections.

How ONE18MEDIA is Adapting with the Times

At ONE18MEDIA, we always remain on top of the current trends and inner-workings of digital marketing. Our job is to not only stay on top of the curve, but to also serve you and your business in accordance with the privacy standards and quality you truly deserve. To learn more, visit the ONE18MEDIA website today and contact us for more!

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