Major changes coming for Google Analytics

Your SNO website has always used Google Analytics to track data on the traffic to your site. Recently, Google announced a major change in how they collect data through its Google Analytics platform. They are officially ending their old model, which is called Universal Analytics (or UA), and starting an entirely new model called GA4. Effective July 1, 2023, they are “sunsetting” Universal Analytics, which is their way of saying that it will be gone forever.

The good news is this: SNO has been planning for this conversion and will be handling all the details for you.

TL;DR version:  On Thursday, SNO will update your website with a new SNO Analytics plugin to work with Google’s new GA4 Analytics system.  If you want to download a copy of your historical Google UA data, do so before July 1, 2023. You may be unable to recover it again after that date.

Read on if you’d like to learn more.

Why is Google doing this?

Google has cited changes in user behavior and privacy laws as the primary reasons for the switch. GA4 is designed for a cookie-less world and to help Google Analytics comply with European privacy laws. GA4 also works cross-platform, so it can be used with apps as well as websites.

How will this affect me?

If you primarily view your analytics through your SNO website dashboard, it won’t really affect you –– we’ve already rebuilt our platform to work with the new GA4 Analytics system.

If you regularly log in to the Google Analytics console, you will need to re-authorize yourself through the SNO Analytics dashboard, and from there, your experience will be much the same as it always was.

Your site is currently collecting data with both the UA and GA4 data tags and will continue collecting data with the UA tag until Google shuts it down in July. At that point, your site will continue to collect data using the GA4 data tag.

What if I don’t like change?

Unfortunately, there is no option to continue using the old UA system after Google makes the switch.

What SNO has done on your behalf

We have already created GA4 property and measurement IDs and integrated them into your website, and your site has been collecting GA4 data for the past month. We have also rebuilt our SNO Analytics plugin –– this is the portal on your dashboard where you can easily view data collected by Google.

The new plugin will include additional analytics data for your site, such as visitor locations, and pages being viewed (e.g. homepage, staff page, etc.).

What you need to do

If you or students regularly log in to Google’s analytics console to view your full dataset, you will need to re-add your email address to the SNO Analytics Access tab in order to continue accessing the Google Analytics console.

Those who only use the SNO Analytics tab on their dashboard to check analytics will not need to do anything as a result of the GA4 switch.

A few other things to know

  • GA4 is only going to store website data for 14 months, so if you will not be able to view any analytics older than 14 months on the Google Analytics console.
  • We have designed the new SNO Analytics plugin to fetch your data from Google on a daily basis and store that data within your site’s database. This stored data will include ALL GA4 analytics data on your site, including data older than 14 months, as long as the site is active.

  • Your site will fetch new data from Google only once per day. If you want to see more up-to-date data than that you should log in to the Google Analytics console.

  • If you want to download your existing data from Universal Analytics, you can log in to the Google Analytics console and click through to set up the analytics you want to see (i.e. Acquisition, Behavior, Audience). Then select “EXPORT” from the menu to download a .pdf, Excel file, or Google Sheet with your data.

  • If you want to download a copy of your historical UA data, do so before July 1, 2023. You may be unable to recover it again after that date.

We’re excited about the new data the updated SNO Analytics plugin will give our sites, and we hope this newsletter alleviates any anxiety that users may have regarding the upcoming switch to GA4.

The SNO Patrol