Welcome to our comprehensive guide on GA4 migration! As the digital landscape evolves, staying up-to-date with the latest analytics tools is crucial. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the next-generation platform designed to provide deeper insights into user behavior across multiple channels. If you’re ready to embark on your GA4 journey for effective migration and implementation, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the essential steps for UA to GA4 migration and ensure a seamless transition. Let’s dive in!
Before setting any goals in GA4, it is wise to assess those you established in UA. Due to its new features and data model, your goals may need to be modified. Review the metrics important to your business and assess how they can be transitioned to GA4. In addition, make sure any custom code, tags, or scripts using UA data (like Google Tag Manager or Optimize) are also reviewed for migration into GA4.
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1. Understanding Account Structure for GA4 Migration
As you transition to GA4, it is crucial that you evaluate the structure of your account. While GA4 encourages thinking of both web and mobile apps as one property, you may have been using multiple properties per type of device, which may cause discrepancies in data and should be corrected accordingly.
Before switching to GA4, consider how you have configured events and goals in your UA properties. GA4 may automatically migrate many of your goals but not all events. Some events require parameters not utilized previously in UA. Therefore, it’s a good idea to periodically test all event configurations to ensure they continue functioning as expected.
Last, it is worth reviewing any third-party integrations you are using with UA that must be configured for GA4. Also, keep in mind that GA4 doesn’t import historical UA data; information will begin populating in your new GA4 property only from its creation forward.
2. Creating a GA4 Property and Data Stream
Data streams are an efficient way of organizing the information from multiple websites or apps – such as your mobile and tablet apps – into one reporting view, tracking ID, and measurement type. They can be managed using the GA4 property admin menu.
Setup Assistant migrates your UA goals directly into GA4. However, you should review and update them to align with its new event model, making sure they still align with your business objectives. It is also useful to take this opportunity to examine any manually-tracked events (e.g., scroll depth tracking) to determine whether or not they need recreating in GA4.
Take into account any additional data that needs to be transferred over from UA, such as segments, custom dimensions, and Google products you link with (such as Ads or Optimize). It can help to keep a list of everything that must be moved in order to keep things on track during UA to GA4 migration; create an internal deadline if needed to keep this project on track.
3. Comprehensive Data Collection for Websites and Apps in GA4
The next step in the Google Analytics transition is to prepare GA4 for data collection. Make sure all of your Google products (GTM included) are linked to it, and modify any referral exclusions, as this will prevent reporting on your own traffic in GA4. Notably, historical UA data won’t transfer over directly to GA4 since GA4 uses a different data model and cannot track everything that UA can.
Last but not least, it is critical to review any events you have set up in UA and ensure they are implemented appropriately in GA4. This includes reviewing event names, values, and triggers, as well as checking that no unneeded data is being sent into Google Analytics properties. You should also compare user numbers between UA and GA4. Any discrepancies over 5% could signal potential implementation issues, possibly because GA4 does not capture as much user activity or may be compromised by bots.
4. Harness the Power: Enabling Google Signals in GA4
No matter if you are switching to GA4 manually or automatically, creating a checklist and plan is critical to ensure a smooth migration experience. Due to their differences in data organization and collection models, it’s crucial that important properties migrate correctly, thus helping avoid the transference of irrelevant or potentially harmful data into GA4.
Example: you might have created a content grouping for video views in Universal Analytics that needs to be recreated in GA4. Furthermore, any custom code or tags using UA data (such as Google Tag Manager or Optimize) must also be modified so they fit with GA4.
Once you’ve switched over to GA4, enable Google Signals for better measurement of your website performance and identification of opportunities for improvement. After activating this feature, the Data Explorer in the Admin section will display an updated signals report which displays the current website status with alert settings should any issues arise.
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5. Configuring Conversions: A Key Step in GA4 Implementation
Even though UA events and GA4 data collection models differ substantially, you can transfer some of your existing goal and event tracking to GA4. Just ensure that both sets of conversion goals match, making this easier if you conduct a full audit of all events you track, as well as any additional configurations. As well as listing your UA goals, you should also list all GA4 conversions you are tracking. Keep in mind that only 30 conversion events per GA4 property can be tracked as events-based conversions.
Consider whether any of your UA custom dimensions and metrics will need to be renamed in GA4. GA4’s new naming convention uses lowercase events for all events. Therefore, if any UA custom dimensions or metrics contain spaces, then discrepancies might exist between numbers in UA and those in GA4. Still, variations under 5% should be accepted as an acceptable variance.
6. Building User Profiles: Adding Users in GA4
Migrating UA properties to GA4 requires keeping in mind several key considerations. A comprehensive audit should be conducted, including any third-party tools used for tracking purposes. This will enable you to quickly identify areas that cannot be moved across and reduce time wasted by using third-party migration tools. UA to GA4 migration requires reviewing your goals and setting new ones that take account of differences between data models. Furthermore, make sure that conversions are set up correctly.
Once this has been completed, you can initiate your migration by accessing the UA data migration feature in the GA4 Admin settings. Depending on how much data there is to migrate, it may take time. However, it’s crucial that this be completed as quickly as possible, or it will no longer be possible to move UA data over to GA4, meaning by waiting too long, you may miss out on valuable insights and miss opportunities to move your insights.
7. Seamlessly Integrating with Google Ads: Linking GA4 to Your Campaigns
Google Analytics 4 offers many innovative new features that have revolutionized data analysis. These include unified app and web tracking, artificial intelligence technology, more reliable data models, and much more. In addition, Universal Analytics is replaced by Google Analytics which is more focused on tracking user interactions across platforms and devices.
Switching to GA4 from UA can be challenging. There may be discrepancies in reporting due to consent mode or different data models between systems; therefore, it’s crucial that you understand these differences so you can plan for their transition effectively.
Link your Google Ads account with your GA4 property for optimal tracking of user journeys and conversion attribution, as well as to identify relevant audiences for retargeting campaigns. To do this, log into your Google Analytics account and navigate to “admin,” “property settings,” then “Google ads.” Be aware that connecting these accounts requires the necessary permissions from both accounts involved.
8. Smooth Transition: Migrating Audiences to GA4
Since UA and GA4 use different data models, there is no straightforward way to migrate audiences from one platform to the other. Instead, re-creating audiences with GA4 tracking code will get your numbers populating just like they would have on UA. As UA to GA4 migration deadlines approach, it’s best to set an appropriate migration date. Google Analytics 4 requires some getting used to, with its steep learning curve and, over time, building proficiency.
Focus on GA4 as an independent tool and don’t connect it with UA. It will make separating out any issues as you migrate easier. For instance, if you use the UA site tag on your website and have configured certain of its features (like referral exclusions) via GA4, consider turning off those settings so you can compare properties more efficiently to identify differences. Ultimately, this will smooth out your migration experience! If you choose to disconnect it sooner rather than later, that will also speed up the transition process!
Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of our GA4 migration guide. By now, you should have a solid understanding of how to get started with Google Analytics transition and GA4 implementation. Remember, migrating to GA4 is not just about transferring data; it’s an opportunity to unlock powerful insights and make informed decisions to grow your business. Take the time to plan your account structure, set up conversions, link with Google Ads, and migrate your audiences. With GA4, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your users, their journeys, and how to optimize your marketing efforts. Embrace the future of analytics and embark on your GA4 journey today!
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