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The deprecation of Google Analytics (as we’ve known it)


The deprecation of Google Analytics (as we've known it)

It’s time to be excited about the great migration.

The biggest shake-up in the marketing analytics world is that Google Analytics as we know it is going to be sunset and will eventually stop collecting data in July 2023 (October 2023 for GA360 customers). There were mixed responses, to say the least – conflicting tweets, memes and disappointed forum posts were generally the first reactions to the news, and it proves that this drastic move needed to happen at some point. 

As more practitioners and marketers adopt the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the benefits are starting to flip the mood from nervousness to excitement.

The version of GA that’s been around for over a decade, Universal Analytics, is hard to leave behind since it’s such an embedded part of web measurement. GA4 was announced in October 2020 but wasn’t met with widespread eagerness that would be expected for a new, robust product. To be fair, there were quite a few other things going on in the world at that time, but in any case, marketers weren’t rushing to make the switch, and the industry seems to be going through the stages of grief for the familiar product:

  • Denial – “I don’t need to change platforms, so I will ignore GA4 for now.”
  • Anger – “How could Google get rid of Universal Analytics?”
  • Bargaining – “What if the deadline is extended? Can we ask for more time?”
  • Sadness – “It will take so much effort to migrate and learn a new tool.”
  • Acceptance – “This is more advanced and helps with the cookieless future that I keep getting asked about. I’m in.”

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It may be a challenging road ahead to migrate, but the move to Google Analytics 4 shouldn’t be considered bad news. It comes with new features, tracking methodology, a lower price point for 360 and has perks for users on the free version. The most important aspect is that it fits more appropriately into the current app landscape and is built to face compliance and privacy changes for what’s in effect and what’s coming.

Ultimately, GA4 is the solution to the internet now, not the internet from a decade ago.

Understanding the past, understanding the future

The news is disorienting, so the timeline should be put in perspective.

Google acquired a product in 2005 called Urchin. Before GA, web analytics was based on server log files, and it was not as intuitive or marketer-friendly. There are still relics of that era with things like UTM parameters (Urchin Tracking Modules) and the property IDs themselves. The “UA” in an ID like UA-12345-1 doesn’t represent Universal Analytics. It stands for Urchin Analytics. Since then, there have been new iterations of GA for the web. Here’s a list of where we’ve been:

There’s one thing that these tracking methods from 2005 to 2022 have in common – all of them still process data and show up in reports, no matter which tracking library you’re using. So, Google is still processing data from the time when the internet looked like this

It’s been 10 years since the release of Universal Analytics. In 2012, Google Tag Manager had yet to be released, and mobile-first web design was a new concept. App tracking was still in beta, and it would be six years before DoubleClick products would evolve to become part of the new Google Marketing Platform. We’ve come a long way, so tracking had to be completely rebuilt, and the Google Analytics from 2005 to 2020 will be taken away and put on a shelf next to Google+ and Google Local.

The UA version of Google Analytics was designed to embrace multi-device behavior, collect more user data, and allow offline and cross-channel measurement. However, culture is no longer multi-screen – it’s multi-multi-multi-screen. The average number of connected devices per person in North America alone will reach 13 in 2023. Universal Analytics cannot easily track different platforms together, and it was not meant to do so. Now that we’re in a more app-centric phase of connectivity, GA4 is a better solution since it was built for that type of analysis. Instead of gathering more data, the goal is to use data that is modeled and as anonymous as possible.

Universal Analytics will be disappearing coincidentally around the same time as the death of the cookie. The hyperconnected landscape called for a necessary pivot for users to have more control over their data, more privacy considerations and more transparent analytics practice. Google Analytics 4 has answered that call with a variety of customizations and settings to establish trust with your visitors while continuing to activate on rich data. User tracking will now be supplemented with machine-learning data baked right into Google Analytics 4. Users’ current trends in behavior will be automatically analyzed to predict future behavior and provide modeled conversions. The privacy-centric features are a core component, but there are other reasons to embrace the change.

What to get excited about

In addition to being the first Google Analytics product to have the built-in capability to collect data from multiple sources, it is a better evolution for enterprise-level while also offering more to small- and mid-size businesses.

The free version of GA has turned into a freemium product. Standard non-paid users now have access (although limited) to tools like BigQuery, GMP integrations, more unsampled data, and access to advanced visualizations through Exploration Reports (formerly called Advanced Analysis).

For Google Analytics 360 customers, those features are much less limited, and some of the additional perks are:

  • Enterprise-level data and user governance through roll-up and sub-properties.
  • More control over data retention.
  • Streaming and nearly unlimited BigQuery exports.
  • Quicker processing, even for large data sets in the billions.
  • The ability to use up to 400 advanced audiences to pass to marketing platforms.
  • Unsampled custom reports, explorations, and the ability to use longer date ranges in advanced reports.
  • Higher level of custom data collection for events, conversions, custom dimensions, and user properties.

Migrations were strongly suggested throughout these iterations but never forced (except for the Google Analytics app tracking SDK). However, older versions of tracking will not be as useful in 2023. It’s symbolic that even the echo of Urchin Analytics in those “UA-12345-1” properties is gone for good and replaced with Measurement IDs and data streams.

Deadlines and timelines

As a reminder, Universal Analytics will officially sunset in July 2023 for those on the free version and October 2023 for GA360 users. This means that properties will be read-only, and data sent to Google will not be processed. There won’t be exceptions, so migrating will be the top priority for everyone. Even if you’re not currently using the platform but have used it in the past, it’s still a time for action. We’re not just moving on. We’re also moving out – historical data will eventually be erased, so data must be saved and exported. The deletion won’t happen until at least six months after the sunset date, but it’s a crucial step in the migration process.

All web and app data should be 100% in Google Analytics 4 by the shutoff date, but ideally sooner. Parallel tracking should be in place and refined now so that data can be available on both platforms. The GA4 numbers won’t match 1:1 to Universal Analytics. Having year-over-year reports comparing UA to GA4 may be misleading, and reports will not be able to use the same data source. With GA4 tracking in parallel, next year’s reports will be comparing apples to apples. Depending on your organization, seasonality can guide how quickly to ramp up and set priorities for the most critical metrics and events. Whether it’s higher education enrollment, holiday e-commerce, or tax season, yearly activity is a consideration for building as much parity as possible between UA and GA4.

Next steps

The first step is to get GA4 on your websites and apps. It’s not too late to get started on a new strategy to fit the new tracking method and create your Google Analytics 4 properties, but delaying parallel tracking may cause reporting, remarketing, and compliance difficulties. After that, learning about how you can take advantage of the durable Google Analytics 4 should spark ideas and conversations beyond migration.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Samantha has been working with web analytics and implementation for over 10 years. She is a data advocate and consultant for companies ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 corporations. As a trainer, she has led courses for over 1000 attendees over the past 6 years across the United States. Whether it’s tag management, analytics strategy, data visualization, or coding, she loves the excitement of developing bespoke solutions across a vast variety of verticals.

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Är en marknadsföringsexamen värd det 2023?


Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

If you’re thinking about getting a degree at any age, it makes sense to think about the value of that degree. Is the qualification needed for the career you want? Are there alternative paths to that career? Can you develop better skills by gaining experience in work? 

All of these are perfectly valid questions. After all, getting a degree requires a pretty large investment of both time and money. You want to know that you’ll get enough return on that investment to make it worthwhile.

Why marketing?

When it comes to marketing, a lot of entry-level jobs list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement. That doesn’t mean there aren’t alternate ways to get into marketing but having a relevant degree certainly makes your resume more competitive. 

Growth industry

Marketing skills are in demand in the current jobs market. According to a recent report from LinkedIn, marketing job posts grew 63% in just six months last year. Half of those jobs were in the digital and media sectors, meaning digital and content marketing skills are highly valued

Personal Development & Career Path

The reason for this increased demand for marketers is tied to the rise in digital marketing. New methods of marketing have continued to develop out of the digital sector. This means that marketers capable of creating engaging content or managing social media accounts are needed.

This leaves a lot of room for personal development. Young graduates who are well-versed in social media and community management can hit the ground running in digital marketing. Getting on this path early can lead to content strategist and marketing management positions.    

What are the Types of Marketing Degrees?

When we say marketing degree, the term is a bit too general. There are a lot of degree paths that focus on marketing in major or minor ways. The level of degree available will depend on your current education history, but the specific course will be down to your personal choice. 

Associate, Bachelor’s, or Master’s?

Recent statistics suggest that 74% of US marketing professionals hold a bachelor’s degree. 9% have an associate degree and 8% have a master’s degree. Here’s a quick overview of the differences. 

Associate degrees – 2-year courses that cover marketing and business in a more basic way than bachelor’s qualifications. They’re designed to give students the basic skills needed to apply for entry-level marketing jobs.   

Bachelor’s degrees – 3/4-year courses that cover business and economics. There is a range of bachelor’s courses with marketing at their core, but you’ll also cover wider business topics like management, communication, and administration. 

Master’s degrees – 2-year courses, usually only available if you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree. MA or MBA courses are designed to develop a deep understanding of complex business topics. They are highly specific, covering areas like strategic marketing or marketing analytics. 

Free to use image from Pixabay

Marketing Specific or Business General? 

This is down to personal choice. There are general business degrees that will cover marketing as a module as well as marketing-specific degrees. There are also multiple universities and colleges, both offline and online, offering different course platforms

If you’re looking at a specific job role or career path, then research which type of degree is most relevant. Remember that you will need to add to your marketing skills if you intend to progress to management roles in the future. 

Check the Modules & Curriculum

This is important, and not only because it lets you see which courses align with your career goals. Marketing has changed significantly over the last decade, even more so if you go back to before the digital age. Many business courses are still behind on current marketing trends. 

What Jobs Look for a Marketing Degree?

Once you’ve got your marketing qualification, what jobs should you be looking for? Here are some job titles and areas you should watch out for, and what qualifications you’ll need for them.

Entry level

If you’re starting with a degree and no experience, or work experience but no degree, take a look at these roles. 

  • Sales/customer service roles – These are adjacent roles to marketing where most companies do not ask for prior qualifications. If you don’t have a degree, this is a good place to start.
  • Marketing or public relations intern – Another possibility if you don’t have a degree, or you’re still in education. 
  • Digital/content marketing associate – These roles will almost always require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. A good grasp of new digital and social marketing techniques will be required to succeed. 
  • Copywriter/Bid writer – This is a good route into marketing for those with journalism or literature qualifications. These roles combine aspects of marketing, creative writing, and persuasive writing. 
  • SEO specialist – A more focused form of marketing centered on SEO content optimization. If you know how to optimize a blog post for search engine rankings, this role is for you. Bachelor’s or associate qualifications will be a minimum requirement. 
  • Social media/community manager – Since these are relatively new roles, we tend to see a mix of degree-qualified marketers and people who’ve had success fostering communities or online brands but don’t have on-paper credentials.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

Career Progression

If you have an MA or MBA, or significant experience in one of the above roles, then you can look at these more advanced roles for your career progression.

  • Digital Marketing Manager – A role for experienced marketers that involves running campaigns and coordinating marketing associates. 
  • Senior Marketing Coordinator – A department management level role. Responsible for overall marketing strategy and departmental performance.  
  • Content Strategist – A specialist role that focuses on content strategy. Designing content plans based on demographic and keyword research are a core aspect of this role. 
  • Marketing Analyst – This role involves analyzing customer behaviors and market trends. If you want to move into analysis from a more direct marketing role, you’ll likely need specific data analysis qualifications. 
  • Public Relations Specialist – The public voice of a large organization’s PR team. Managing a brand’s public perception and setting brand-level communication policies like tone of voice.   
  • Experiential Marketing Specialist – This area of marketing is focused on optimizing the customer experience. Experiential specialists have a deep understanding of customer psychology and behaviors. 
  • Corporate Communications Manager – Communications managers are responsible for company-wide communications policies. This is an executive-level role that a marketing coordinator or public relations manager might move up to. 

Average marketing salaries

Across all the roles we’ve discussed above, salaries vary widely. For those entry-level roles, you could be looking at anything from $25 – $40K depending on the role and your experience. 

When it comes to median earnings for marketers with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, we can get a bit more specific. Recent statistics from Zippia show us that $69,993 p/a is the average for bachelor’s degree holders and $80,365 p/a for master’s degree marketers. 

Image sourced from Zippia.com

Marketing Degree Pros and Cons

So, the question we asked above was “Is a marketing degree worth it?” Yet, in truth, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. The question you need to ask is “Is a marketing degree right for me?” Here’s a summary of the pros and cons that might give you some answers.  


  • Degree holders have better job prospects and higher earnings potential in marketing
  • You can study highly specific skills with the right courses
  • Gain soft skills like communication and collaboration


  • High time and money investment required 
  • Diminishing salary returns at higher levels
  • Can be a restrictive environment for self-starters and entrepreneurs

What are Marketing Degree Alternatives?

If you want to stick with education but don’t want to invest four years into a degree, then accredited online courses can provide an alternative. This can be your best choice if you wish to upskill in a specific area like running conference calls from Canada

If higher education really isn’t your thing, the other option is gaining experience. Some businesses prefer internships and training programs for entry-level roles. This allows them to train marketers “their way” rather than re-training someone with more experience.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

How to Decide if a Marketing Degree is Right for You

Ultimately, choosing to do a marketing degree depends on your goals, your preferences, and your talents. Consider all three factors before making your choice. 

Career Goals

Do you want a management position that needs marketing knowledge? What areas of marketing interest you? What skills do you already possess? Answering these three questions will help you define your career path. That will narrow down your course choices. 

If you want to get better at selling small business phone systems in Vancouver, you don’t need a four-year course for that. If you want to develop into high-level marketing roles, then you want that degree. 


You don’t need a specific personality type to work in marketing. Your personality and interests might determine what area of marketing would suit you best though. For example, if you’re outgoing and creative then public relations or social media management might be for you.    

Investment & Return

Money isn’t everything. But, if you’re going to put the resources into getting a degree, you want to know that you’ll get some return on your investment. From the figures we quoted above, it seems the “optimal” qualification in terms of salary return vs. time and money investment is a bachelor’s degree. 

Average earnings for marketers with a master’s qualification were only $10k higher. This suggests that you’re not really getting a significant financial return for the additional investment. Of course, if that master’s leads to your dream job, you might see it differently.  

Final Thoughts: Forge Your Own Path

Is a marketing degree worth it in 2023? The short answer is yes. Whether that means a marketing degree is right for you, we can’t tell you. Hopefully, though, this guide has given you the information you need to make that choice. 

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