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Google Analytics Tracking

Google Analytics – Website Tracking and Reporting

As of June 2022, UCR is in the process of transitioning the campus from using Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and preparing for the sunsetting of UA in July 2023.

This web page was created to serve as a resource for campus partners during this transition.

The campus-wide transition will be handled by University Communications and ITS, with the option for campus partners to create and implement their own Google Analytics/Google Tag Manager if additional customization is desired for their specific program area.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics (GA) is a web analytics service used to track user behavior on websites with the GA tracking code configured. GA includes features that can help identify trends and patterns in how visitors engage with our websites.

What is Google Analytics 4?

GA4 is not an "upgrade" to UA. It is a completely new version of GA that processes data based on a different model. GA4 is centered around an event-based model, whereas UA stands on a session-based data model.

One of the reasons that Google is discontinuing UA is to address data privacy concerns. Per Google, “UA was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies.” By not relying exclusively on cookies and using an event-based data model, GA4 can operate across multiple platforms (e.g., web, iOS apps, Android apps). This makes GA4 a more future-proof solution.

Why are we transitioning to Google Analytics 4?

UA is going to stop processing data in July 2023, and historical data in UA will be available for up to 6 months after July 2023 (so, up until January 2024).

What will the campus-wide transition to Google Analytics 4 look like?

With the transition to GA4, there is an opportunity to restructure our campus GA account(s) to be more cohesive, track user engagement across the entire ucr.edu domain (all sites hosted on Drupal), and still have the ability to drill down into specific segments as needed.

On that note, we encourage our campus partners to create a separate Google Analytics (and/or Google Tag Manager) account if they want to customize their tracking for their specific program area/college. The campus GA4 codes and the separate program area-specific codes will work concurrently, as long as it is set up properly. More information on how to accomplish this can be found in the Advanced Google Analytics 4 for My Program Area section in the Google Analytics 4 Guide 8-31-22.

Where can I learn more about Google Analytics 4?

Please review this comprehensive guide for a written overview of GA4: Google Analytics 4 Guide 8-31-22

How do I access data for my program area in Google Analytics 4?

Please review this comprehensive guide on how to create and use a comparison and/or segment in GA4: Google Analytics 4 Guide - Creating and Using Your Comparison or Segment 8-31-22

When are the live Google Analytics 4 trainings being hosted by University Communications?

Two identical trainings will be hosted by Stephanie Nguyen, Marketing Data Manager, on the following dates and times:

  • Thursday, 10/20/22, from 10am to 11am
  • Tuesday, 10/25/22, from 10am to 11am

These trainings will be recorded. Links will be added to this page once available to rewatch.

I have questions about Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and/or the transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. What are my next steps?

Please reach out to Stephanie Nguyen (stephanie.nguyen@ucr.edu) with your questions.