Google Analytics is no longer for small businesses

Google recently announced the sunsetting of Google's Universal Analytics. This is the most common version of Google Analytics. There is a good chance you are using it.

However, Google says everyone must upgrade to GA4 by July 2023. Google says there is no data migration and they will turn off the old data reports.

This means you could lose years, if not a decade, of website analytics. You will no longer be able to compare past performance.

It seems Google is less interested in providing web analytics for small & medium businesses - they seem to care only about enterprise clients.

The new GA4 interface is incredibly confusing. Everyone hates change but the change from universal to GA4 is enormous. The reports are difficult to find and the data fields have been renamed.

With GA4, it's up to you, the user to query the data to get reports - they have reduced the pre-built reporting to a "dashboard", and everything else you have to query the data. GA4 is more like querying a database than analysing website data.

They also changed the terminology, for example, "Sessions" is now "Events" and "New Users" is now "First_Open". If you want to see your website traffic from organic search

The bounce rate (at the time of writing) doesn't exist at all. Bounce rate has always been a slightly flawed metric however it's been a standard of web analytics for years.

For smaller businesses, I now find myself recommending simpler, privacy-first analytics tools like Fathom Analytics over Google the majority of the time. Fathom also have a "GA data importer" coming soon, which will make the switch even easier.

About Fraser Clark

I've been a professional developer for over 10 years. I've been consulting and developing websites & software for small businesses, multi-nationals & governments.

I'm an expert in WordPress, Drupal, Laravel & a whole host of other platforms.

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