In case you haven’t heard, GA Universal Analytics is being deprecated on July 1st, 2023. I’m sure you probably have because Google doesn’t seem to care that I’ve dismissed the warning banner on my UA properties at least 50 times in rebellion.

For now, I have GA4 properties set up for each of my live sites alongside the old UA properies. I’m so used to the simplicity of Universal Analytics that I haven’t been able to break the habit of falling back to it for quick snapshots of how my sites are performing.

I’m especially fond of:

  • Audience -> Overview
  • Acquisition -> Overview
  • Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source/Medium
  • Behavior -> Overview
  • Behavior -> Site Content -> Landing Pages

These reports have suited my basic needs quite nicely over the years.

The Changes I Need to Make Link to this heading

To prepare for these changes, I need to tweak a few things with my sites.

  • Remove UA as a tagging option from my open source Hugo theme, Hugo Liftoff. Which makes me wonder: do the Hugo maintainers have a plan for this?
  • All my sites use Google Tag Manager to containerize their GA4 and UA tags. This allows my theme to support using just a GTM ID instead of having to manage tags for both GA4 and UA. Even when I remove the UA containers in GTM, my GA4 properties should still continue collecting data.
  • Backup the data from deprecated UA properties.
  • Figure out how to get conversion tracking for my newsletter working with Netlify Forms. I had something working with UA awhile back. With GA4, I’m currently using a GTM trigger on a contact form submission event but I’m not sure it’s working correctly.

GA4 First Impressions Link to this heading

I found it exceedingly difficult to create an IP filter for my home network because it’s buried under like 5 layers of UI. Google somehow managed to make it less user-friendly despite having a dedicated UI element for it.

Other than that, I mostly agree with the other criticisms online. Simplicity is a big selling point for someone like me who only runs a few sites with a handful of traffic. I may give a privacy-focused alternative like Plausible or Fathom a spin because why not.

I’ll add more thoughts here as they come up.