For CMOs and marketers who use Universal Analytics 360, the sunset extension offers nine additional months to manage the changeover to GA4. Learn what this means for your business. 

Last week, Google announced that Universal Analytics properties for 360 customers will continue collecting data until July 1, 2024. This date is extended nine months from the original 360 sunset date of October 1, 2023.

This will allow 360 customers more time to:

  • Finish their GA4 implementation (if they haven’t already) a year in advance of the sunset so that they have a full year of historical GA4 data before Universal Analytics can no longer be used
  • Integrate roadmap items (i.e. item-scoped dimensions, custom channel groupings) into their implementation in time to include this data into their YOY historical data
  • Better learn the standard and explore reporting tools

It is important to note that for people utilizing the free version of Universal Analytics, the sunset date will remain July 1, 2023.

Keep in mind that even for 360 users, GA4 will still be the only option come July 1, 2024. As that date approaches, engineering resources will start to shift focus off of Universal Analytics and onto GA4, so it is important to be proactive in completing your implementation, and learning this new tool.

What’s behind the announcement

Russel Ketchum, director of project management at Google Analytics, blogged that the sunset date delay will “allow enterprise customers more time to have a smoother transition to Google Analytics 4.” Meanwhile, the company will be “focusing [its] efforts and investments on Google Analytics 4 to deliver a solution built to adapt to a changing ecosystem.”

“We recognize that setting up Google Analytics 4 to fit your needs takes time and resources, in particular for large enterprises with complex Analytics 360 setups. To allow enterprise customers more time to have a smoother transition to Google Analytics 4, we’re moving the Universal Analytics 360 properties’ sunset date from October 1, 2023 to July 1, 2024.” Source.

Ketchum also noted that GA360 “performance will likely degrade” until the new sunset date due to Google gradually shifting its focus to GA4.

Best practices for a frictionless GA4 transition

The earlier you transition to GA4, the more historical data and insights you’ll have in the platform, and the earlier you’ll be able to embrace benefits GA4 360 has over Universal Analytics. These benefits include:

  • A robust solution to enable cookieless measurement for users who have opted out of cookies
  • Built-in predictive audiences to help you identify your most valuable customers
  • Cross-platform customer journey analysis for brands who deploy both web and native mobile applications
  • Direct integrations to media buying platforms

Unfortunately, installing Google Analytics 4 on a website or native mobile application can be a complex project. To help you understand what is involved with this process, we have created the GA4 Migration Assessment. The form will ask you about 20 questions, and then provide you with a step-by-step guide to help you plan your migration that includes tailored, critical considerations based on the information you provided.

Beyond the assessment and roadmap, we’ve written extensively about GA4 on our blog, we offer a proprietary SaaS Analytics Management System, Apollo, that can help make your transition easier, and we’re rolling out a comprehensive GA4 guide to help your team learn the ins and outs of the platform. If you’re just beginning your transition, we recommend reading Chapter 4: Before You Implement, How to Plan.

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Anticipated questions about the GA360 sunset extension

What do 360 clients need to do right now?
We recommend that you continue moving forward with GA4 migration or start your GA4 migration as soon as possible, even though you do have extra time to do it. Resources will be moving off of UA support at Google and moving toward GA4, we still don’t want to rely on the old technology, especially as new privacy regulations come online. Consider this time a little extra cushion, but don’t wait to transition your properties.

How will the sunset delay affect my business?
If you’re a 360 customer, you now have a little more time to collect your GA4 data, so that by the time UA sunsets, you ‘ll have more YOY data to use.

If the date was extended once, do we expect it to be extended again?
Another extension isn’t likely. Google’s communication is that this is a “one-time extension.” Universal Analytics 360 will sunset July 1, 2024, and no one is in a position to count on another extension for this.

Will this affect any of my ad campaigns?
When UA is sunset, you will have to move over to connecting your ad campaigns with GA4, but if you haven’t done that yet, this gives you a little more time to get that in place. (Learn how to link SA360 to GA4 here, and learn how to switch to GA4 conversions in Google Ads here.)

If I’m a 360 customer and I sign a New 360 contract at the beginning of the year, will I be able to keep my UA 360 property status until the new sunset date?
Yes. See this blog post about Google’s new licensing contracts and the extended data grace period for new [GA4] Analytics 360 contracts.

Still have questions?

Great news—we can help you! If you haven’t already completed your implementation, check out our GA4 migration assessment or reach out to one of our Google Marketing Platform experts to see how we can make this transition easier for you.

Schedule time with a Google Marketing Platform expert today!

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