On July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits 😰 After this time you’ll still be able to access your previously processed data for at least six months.

If you haven’t already created a new GA4 property before early 2023, one will be created for you based on your existing Universal Analytics setup. Also what are you waiting for! Get this done ASAP to avoid further loss of data within GA, unless you are planning to replace Google Analytics altogether.

Those who do not wish to have a GA4 property created and configured based on your Universal Analytics property and existing tags, you may opt-out.

Why this is happening

There are a few rumblings about exactly why this is happening, and why Google isn’t offering a more tangible solution for continued data storage.

But the official line is that historical data cannot be imported from UA to GA4 because the two versions have different data collection methods, schema for GA4 and dimension for UA.

What to do next: Your options

Here are a range of options along with the difficulty level for implementation, functionality, and suitability (Micro, SM, or Large Organizations).

  • Micro entreprises: 1 to 9 employees.
  • Small/Medium enterprises: 10 to 249 employees.
  • Large enterprises: 250 employees or more.

Like most things digital there isn’t a one size fits all solution, there are a number of different options to take depending on the size/resources available.

This article is an attempt to highlight the best solutions available for a range of businesses. So you don’t waste time on this important, but time consuming problem.

Continuing With Google

Manual Export (All)

At the very least you’ll want to export the data manually, this is the easiest option, however there are limitations.

You can only apply two dimensions and are limited to a maximum of 5,000 rows, so if you are getting thousands of hits per day your data may be sampled, so functionality is low.

How can I export data from my Universal Analytics property?

Google Sheets Add-on (All)

This option is slightly more complex but connects Google Analytics directly to Sheets, so you don’t have the extra steps of downloading and uploading.

Google Analytics Add On for Google Sheets Tutorial

This option is also a good choice if you choose to use Looker Studio to visualize your data (See next section).

Note. large datasets (5+ years worth of data) may cause performance issues for Google sheets.

Looker Studio (Formerly Data Studio) (All)

Many people love Looker Studio for creating internal reporting. If you’ve got the resources it can be a very powerful tool for visualizing data. However, comparing UA and GA4 will be rough due to the difference in data models.

Alternative Analytics Providers (All)

Tired of being tethered to Google for everything? Well for a small monthly investment you could potentially utilize a number of excellent user friendly analytics providers.

Fathom was one of the first we came across that is building an importer to migrate your UA data, more info on that here.

We like Fathom because it is affordable, user friendly, ethical, and generally seems like an excellent option for people wanting a simplified version of analytics.

Interested in signing up for Fathom? Click here for more info (affiliate link)

Want to check out a more comprehensive list of alternatives? Here’s 20 Google Analytics Alternatives from Moz

Data Warehouse (SM/Large)

This is the most robust option for those looking to secure historical data, but at the same time this is the most advanced, and expensive.

Typically an option for larger businesses with both budget/datasets makes warehousing beneficial. Analytics teams with the technical knowledge to harness data are also required.

BigQuery is Google’s data warehousing solution. Google allows GA360 (paid product) users to export Universal Analytics data to BigQuery.

Alternatives to BigQuery.

Third Party Tools (SM/Large)

The following options simplify the process of ingesting data from multiple sources. There is some technical knowledge required, but each of these tools are designed with the modern day marketer in mind.

  1. Dataslayer – Web interface to transfer data easily from the Dataslayer API to BigQuery
  2. Supermetrics for BigQuery (Affiliate) – Much like Dataslayer Supermetrics offers a streamlined approach to transferring data into BigQuery.
    • Optimizesmart.com has a 46-step walkthrough of using Supermetrics for sending GA data to BigQuery.
  3. Funnel – Streamlined Data Warehousing alternative to BigQuery, positioned as a Marketers alternative. Good for those with some technical know how, that want to take advantage of data warehousing like capabilities, without the steep technical knowledge/costs.

Final Thoughts

It is highly unlikely that Google is going to provide an automated solution for migrating UA data into GA4.

They hints that additional information on exporting historical data will come before the July 2023 end date.

In the meantime we recommend businesses select a solution with an idea of how they will use it on a day to day basis. There’s no point investing time and money into something that is going to sit there untouched.