As a full-service digital agency partner, Imarc is prepared to help you make a smooth Universal Analytics data transition to GA4 before the July 1, 2024 deadline.
Though Google's original deadline for losing user interface and API access has been extended from January 1, 2024, to July 1, 2024, there is still a general lack of planning around exactly how to export the data, where to store it, how to keep it secure, and ultimately how to report on it after it has been moved.
If you're feeling a bit lost, that's okay. We've put together some tiered export and reporting options, a collaborative approach to the process, and things to consider along the way for a smooth Universal Analytics data transition to GA4.
Your tiered export options
If you're on a small budget, you can export your data and store them in Google Sheets. It's free and uses GA's built-in export tool, but there are a few downsides to consider:
It's going to be more difficult to interpret data post-download, as it isn't visual.
It may take a while to download and will require a folder filing system to keep it organized.
DashThis GA Universal Dashboard Archiving
If you're one of our existing clients, you're probably familiar with DashThis. We use their platform to generate many of our metrics dashboards. Recently, they launched a new feature that allows you to retain all of your GA Universal dashboards with no downloads at all!
We like this solution because it makes it easy to keep your data and continue analyzing it visually, long after the export deadline. You can learn more here, or our team can assist you with the migration.
Google Cloud (BigQuery) and/or your internal information technology (IT) team
Probably the most-talked-about solution to the export problem is Google Cloud (BigQuery).
When it comes to the costs, loading and exporting with BigQuery is your most expensive, but robust option. Their charges are based on data storage, streaming inserts, and data queries. Full pricing details are available here.
Your internal IT team
If you are going to take advantage of your current talent roster, make sure to ramp them up now. They need to do their research and be prepared to migrate well before the deadline.
If you would like Imarc to be a part of future-proofing your data, here are some options that may work for you:
1. You can move the data to Google Sheets and Imarc can assist with the navigation process.
This is the best option if you don't think you'll need the data but want to keep it "just to be safe."
The data will not be quite as easy to digest, but in an emergency, someone could glean insights from it with a high level of effort.
2. Imarc can migrate your most frequently used reports to DashThis - our preferred visualization tool. We'd work with you to identify the views you need and rebuild those for your historical GA3 data.
This may take us a few days of effort depending on the number and nature of the reports you'll need.
This choice will only retain data reflected in reports.
3. Imarc can work with your internal IT team to migrate all your GA3 data to Google's BigQuery database system and create needed reports.
In this approach, all your legacy data will be retained, so any report you had previously pulled in GA3 could be replicated (with effort).
Imarc's costs will vary by the number of reports needed, and BigQuery has its own fees, but if you need to replicate GA3 indefinitely, it's worth scoping even if that scope is significant. Caring for your data is important and well worth a time and resource investment.
Varied reporting options
And now comes reporting, because what good is data without the ability to analyze it?
Looker Studio is a Google product, so it's a natural choice for reporting analytics from their platform. It's also a customizable dashboard and reporting tool that's completely free. According to Google, you can connect data using all of the following:
Google Display & Video 360
Google Search Ads 360
Google Search Console
Blended data from related sources
As we noted previously, DashThis is a great visual solution (especially if you already have dashboards through them!) They're very flexible and easy to use.
Beyond Looker Studio and DashThis there are other vendors including SuperMetrics and Funnel.io that might be a good fit for your data.
Start now–Both active and previous clients will be taking advantage of our Google Analytics migration consultation services, so contact us as soon as you can if you need support. The sooner we start, the faster we can make a plan and help you complete the process.
The Google API–Google's API can be somewhat difficult to work with, so it's important to choose someone to do this who can navigate the process smoothly. Hopefully, that can be someone in your internal IT department.
Permissions–Getting permissions to existing Google Cloud Platforms is cumbersome and may not be possible for certain individuals with IT teams and strict security policies. For companies in that situation, this will need to be done internally. Imarc can still provide support though, if needed.
Billing–The billing structure for BigQuery is not as straightforward as some other platforms. It is important to review it if you plan to use this option.
If you are looking for a partner for your safe data transition, Imarc is here for you. Let's talk.