Is Ireland Ready for Google Analytics 4?

As of July 1, 2023 the current version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) will be deprecated meaning that as of that point it will stop collecting and processing data from websites on which it has been “installed”. The obvious alternative for most companies is the newer version of Google Analytics - GA4. How prepared is Ireland for this change?

Is Ireland Ready for Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics is the most popular web analytics tool on earth. Google Analytics analyses website visitors and their behavior, allowing website owners to:

  • - Optimize their internet marketing strategies
  • - Tailor marketing campaigns to attract, retain and grow a valuable client base more efficiently
  • - Identify which KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are appropriate for their website
  • - Monitor improvements / modifications to their website
  • - Inform and direct business decisions within the company

Recently Google announced that as of July 1, 2023 the current version of the tool - Universal Analytics - will be deprecated meaning that as of that point it will stop collecting and processing data from websites on which it has been “installed”.

This means that site owners that currently use Universal Analytics will need to migrate to the newer version of Google Analytics - Google Analytics 4 - (or another analytics solution ) in order to continue to collect valuable analytics data from their websites.

However, starting from scratch in 2023 is not advisable - if site owners want to have enough data in their GA4 reports to do year to year comparisons, then they only have until July 1 2022 to set up GA4 on their site.

Are Irish Websites Prepared for Google Analytics 4?

With this in mind, we decided to review the top 100 Irish (.ie) websites to understand how many have implemented Google Analytics 4. 

Key Findings:

General Lack of Preparedness

Of the top 100 .ie websites that we analyzed, 91% have the soon to be deprecated Universal Analytics present on site whilst 7% don’t use any version of Google Analytics.

Only 16% of the top .ie websites have implemented the newer version of Google Analytics - Google Analytics 4 - meaning that they will not have enough data in their Google Analytics 4 reports for year on year comparisons by the time Universal Analytics is deprecated in July of next year.

It’s worth noting that since October 14, 2020, Google Analytics 4 has been the default option when you create a new property in Google Analytics. So you would expect that any new / re-developed sites since then would have at least a basic configuration of GA4. In this context, the figure of 16% seems remarkably low!

News and Media Sites Leading the Way

Of the Categories of websites with >5 sites in the top 100, News and Media websites lead the way in terms of preparedness for the deprecation of Universal Analytics.

50% of News and Media sites already have GA4 implemented as of May 22nd, 2022. 

Universities and Colleges Sites Getting There

Science and Education sites as a whole have seen a 33% update in Google Analytics 4 so far. Subcategories within this category include:

  • - Environmental Science
  • - Libraries and Museums
  • - Other Science & Education
  • - Public Records and Directories
  • - Universities & Colleges
  • - Weather

Of those sub-categories, the most prepared for the sunsetting of Universal Analytics is Universities and Colleges, 40% of which have implemented Google Analytics 4 already.

Government Sites Not Ready

28 of the top 100 Irish websites that we identified fall under the category of Law & Government. Of those websites, 93% have Universal Analytics implemented but only one single site currently has Google Analytics 4 tracking implemented, meaning that the rest have until the end of June 22 (one month at the time of writing) to plan their tracking requirements and implement Google Analytics 4 tracking (unless, of course, they decide to choose a different web analytics platform provider entirely) to ensure that they will have enough data for year on year comparisons by the time Universal Analytics is deprecated.

Other categories GA4 Implementation Levels:

22% of Travel and Tourism sites in the top 100 have already implemented GA4. This category includes:

  • - Accommodation & Hotels
  • - Other Travel & Tourism
  • - Travel & Tourism

14% of Health sites in the top 100 have already implemented GA4. This category includes:

  • - Health Conditions and Concerns
  • - Mental Health
  • - Nutrition Diets and Fitness
  • - Other Health
  • - Pharmacy
  • - Public Health and Safety

8% of Computers, Electronics & Technology sites in the top 100 have already implemented GA4. This category includes:

  • - Computers, Electronics & Technology
  • - Graphics Multimedia and Web Design
  • - Other Computers, Electronics and Technology
  • - Programming and Developer Software
  • - Search Engines
  • - Social Networks and Online Communities
  • - Web Hosting & Domain Names

How did we decide on this list of websites?

It’s difficult to define the “top Irish websites”. Many Irish based companies and organizations have .com domains. And many of the top visited sites in Ireland are not .ie sites.

What we have decided to do for the purposes of this research is to look at .ie websites only to be as sure as we can that the sites we look at are, in fact, Irish. In terms of which .ie sites to review, we decided to look at the top 100 .ie sites based on aHrefs Rank (aHrefs Rank (AR) ranks all the websites in the aHrefs database - a database designed to mirror Google’s own index / database - by the size and quality of their backlink profiles).

How did we check which version of GA was present?

To identify whether Google Analytics was present on the homepage of a website, and which version of Google Analytics was present, we used BuiltWith.com and verified data with the Google Tag Assistant plugin for Google Chrome and Chrome Dev Tools.

Want to make the move to GA4?

If you would like to discuss making the move to GA4, feel free to get in touch with our BI and Analytics team today!