Your Google Analytics
4 Migration Guide
Google Analytics rolled out the new version of its analytics suite, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), in October 2020.
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Google Analytics rolled out the new version of its analytics suite, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), in October 2020.

Its predecessor, Universal Analytics or UA, was launched a decade ago, but due to the growth of mobile apps and UA’s limitations in tracking and measuring these actions, Google Analytics sought to unify and improve app and web capabilities and machine learning reports.

GA was also prompted to update their platform to meet new requirements based on an ever-increasing demand for privacy and an influx of new policies.

While this new version has been available since 2020, companies have been dragging their feet, daunted by the significant changes to the current platform.

But with GA3 set to deprecate on 1 July 2023, now is the time to start migrating and getting familiarised with the new and improved version of Google Analytics.

Things to remember before migrating

  1. Universal Analytics (UA) will sunset in July 2023
  2. All UA data will be deleted past the deadline so all data should be exported to CSV or stored in the cloud.
  3. GA360 clients (premium version) will have a three months extension, longer than standard clients.
  4. It’s recommended to run UA and GA4 concurrently before the date of deprecation.

What changes to expect with the GA4 Migration?

One of the biggest changes you’ll see with your migration to GA4 is the shifting focus from page views to page elements, which will allow you to improve your understanding of user behaviour on both web and app. Other highlights included a new reporting section that allows for more advanced analysis, an improved data model that makes analysis more straightforward and new predictive metrics to help better engage and capture your audience.

What else can you expect on GA4?

  • A new set of dimensions and metrics
  • With GA4 still in its early stages, not all standard reports are available (e.g. eCommerce reports)
  • Custom Dimensions are now up to 50 event-scoped and 50 custom metrics; 25 unique user-scoped custom dimensions compared to only 20 (for standard users) in GA3
  • Ecommerce tracking for GA4 is different for GA3
  • GA4 events have a different structure compared to GA3
    • GA3 uses Event Category, Action and Label
    • GA4 uses Event Name, Attribute, and Values
  • GA4 has automated tracking of common events
  • Views (or profiles) are not available yet on GA4
  • Goals are replaced with Conversion Events

Phases of Migration

Unfortunately, the migration is not as easy as a click of a button, which is why a phased approach is highly recommended.

Create a Google Analytics 4 Property that collects data in parallel with your existing Universal Analytics property.
Create data streams.
Enable data collection by adding analytics tags to your web pages.
Activate Google signals for enhanced remarketing and reporting.
Import Google Ad links from UA property to Google Analytics 4 property.
Map Universal Analytics custom events to Google Analytics 4.
Migrate Universal Analytics goals and conversions to Google Analytics 4.
Validate and bid to conversions in Google Ads.
Migrate audiences.
Migrate ecommerce measurements.
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Standard Tracking in GA4

To migrate your standard tracking from UA to GA4, follow these steps:

  • Create a GA4 property under your existing account or a new one.
  • Add data streams (GA4 equivalent of tracking IDs)
  • Enable automated tracking of relevant events including page views, scrolls, outbound clicks, video engagement or file downloads
  • Filter internal traffic
  • Filter bot and spam traffic
  • Link platforms such as Google Ads and BigQuery

Event Tracking in GA4

Event Tracking in GA4 has seen some changes and updates which should be kept in mind when migrating.

GA4 events have a different structure compared to GA3:

  • UA uses Event Category, Action and Label
  • GA4 uses Event Name, Attribute, and Values

GA4 events are split into 4 categories, including:

  • Automatically collected events
  • Enhanced Measurement events
  • Recommended events
  • Custom events

To migrate event tracking or set up new events, follow these fundamental steps:

  • For existing containers:
    • Define the new event structure
    • Recreate all tags in UA on GA4
  • For new containers:
    • Define the new event structure
    • Track all possible leads and important user actions on the site

eCommerce Tracking in GA4

GA4 eCommerce Tracking will require some help from developers. The way you configure eCommerce tracking will also depend on how GA is implemented on your website.

  • If using Google Tag Manager (GTM), you can use a GA4 event tag to capture details from the data layer
  • For custom tags on site (gtag.js), work with developers to help implement the ecommerce tracking code measurement

Post-Migration Checklist

Once migration is complete, it is recommended you tick off this checklist to ensure everything is in working order.

  1. Check your data to ensure it is being collected and sent to the correct place
  2. Review your Google Analytics settings for your new GA property
  3. Compare UA and GA4 data to understand any data differences and uncover any discrepancies
  4. Update your data review points as these may vary from your current UA data
  5. Get your team up to speed and organise company training to ensure team members are across all data changes and updates

Need assistance with GA4 Migration?

If the thought of the GA4 Migration has left your head spinning, why not leave it to the experts. Dijitally can help you through every step of your migration journey, from upgrading your currency measurement strategy to implementing all tracking and configuring custom reporting to meet your business needs.

To get in touch, simply fill in this form.

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How do I migrate to Google Analytics 4?

For standard tracking, create a new GA4 property in the Google Analytics platform.

For event tracking, replicate all the existing GTM tags to GA4 format.

How do I know if I'm using Google Analytics 4 or universal?

GA3 uses universal analytics tracking ID [UA-XXXXXX-X]

GA4 uses measurement ID [G-XXXXXXX]

Alternatively, go to your homepage, click CTRL + U which will take you to the Source Code page. Then click CTRL + F and type in analytics.js. If this appears in the Source Code then you are using Universal Analytics

Is Google Analytics 4 free?

Yes, but there will be a premium version of GA4.

Is Google Analytics 4 better?

Too early to tell. At the moment, analysts prefer GA3. But if you’re the type that values user privacy and machine learning, GA4 is the better choice.

Should I switch to Google Analytics 4?

Yes, as Universal Analytics is set to deprecate on 1 July 2023. Migrating now is beneficial as you will have historical data by the time UA sunsets.

Is GA4 still beta?

It’s out of the Beta label, but it’s still not a viable option for now as your main analysis platform.

Does GA4 replace Firebase?

No, Firebase is still its own platform.GA4 is just derived from Firebase.

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