Crunch time for cookies

Richard Ellison

Project Manager

28th June 2023

~ 3 min read

On July 1st, Universal Analytics will be sunset to give way to Google Analytics 4.

If you rely on Google Analytics for your reporting, but haven’t migrated to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) yet, you could head into July 2023 asking, “Why has my analytics data dropped off a cliff?”

A basic GA4 property may only track 33% of the users previously recorded in Universal Analytics (UA). So, what do you need to know to best prepare for this upcoming change?

What's happening, and when?

As of 1 July 2023, UA will stop collecting data and feeding this into your reports. For Google Analytics 360 (GA360) customers, this is extended to 1 July 2024.

If action has not been taken to create new GA4 properties to replace those in UA, Google should automatically create a basic implementation. 

You’ll still be able to access your historic data in UA until 1 July 2024, so it’s important that you pull this and store it somewhere safe.

Why is this happening?

GA4 is designed to react to and grow with browser technologies (notably, Apple’s ITP) and General Data Protection Regulations intended to protect the privacy of your users. It can help businesses ensure that their data is compliant in regards to cookies and user consent.

The consequences of being non-compliant can be severe, with maximum fines of  €10,000,000, or 2% of total worldwide revenue – whichever is higher. 

This has been the observed direction of travel within the digital advertising industry as we move away from personally identifiable information and towards anonymised data to protect users.

What can I do to mitigate the effects of this change?

As previously mentioned, it’s totally normal to lose around 66% of user data once your migration to a basic GA4 property is complete. Achieving parity with UA is not likely, but there are a number of steps you can take to recoup as much data as possible.

Firstly, ensuring you’re attempting to collect data in a compliant way will help prevent GA4 from blocking certain sources. Revisit your Google Tag Manager configuration and check its integration with your Consent Management platform.

In addition to this there are tools that Google have provided:

  • Consent Mode – This works to allow collection of data without cookies, for  when a user has decided to opt out of their personal data being used. Consent Mode uses these ‘cookieless pings’ in modelling, in order to restore behavioural metrics and conversion signals that would have otherwise been lost. Up to 70% of reported ad-to-click metrics can be restored (see modelling through Consent Mode).
  • Enhanced Conversions – This works when driving users to a Conversion or Lead Generation goal. Through the use of encryption, you are able to keep user data private but allow for the attribution of consenting users’ conversions even after cookie-based attribution has failed due to browser privacy technologies. 


Understanding how to successfully make the move from UA to GA4 can be difficult to navigate. If you have any questions on the above, or would like to chat to our team about the migration and maximising your data and measurement strategy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Data & Analytics team. 

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