It’s out with the old and in with the new when it comes to Google Analytics (GA), as many businesses tackle the large task that is GA4 migration.
Google officially updated Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 in July 2023. There are several differences between the two platforms, which opens up the opportunity for your business to gain more valuable insights from your data.
But to get that data, you’ll need to successfully migrate to GA4 from UA, and that’s a lot easier said than done.
Luckily, we’ve got an easy step-by-step guide right here to walk you through how to migrate to GA4.
How to migrate to GA4
So, just keep reading!
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How to migrate to GA4: Your step-by-step guide
Here’s how to migrate to GA4 in eight steps:
- Audit your existing UA property
- Create a GA4 property
- Finish setting up your GA4 property
- Migrate events and items to GA4
- Double-check your events and items migrated successfully
- Determine a final migration date
- Set up your integrations
- Archive your data from UA
Step #1: Audit your existing UA property
Before you start migrating to GA4, it’s a good idea to audit your UA properties. While Google does have a setup assistant that will help you with the GA4 migration, it’s not perfect, and you can miss some things.
That’s why it’s a good idea to make a note of every event you’re tracking along with data, like your latest traffic figures, sources, and conversion rates. In other words, make a list of everything you’re tracking that’s important and that you analyze regularly.
Step #2: Create a GA4 property
The second step in our migrating to GA4 guide is to create a GA4 property. If you already have a property in UA, you can create a GA4 property easily by using the GA4 Setup Assistant. Here’s how:
- In Google Analytics, click Admin from the left-hand side menu.
- Look at the Account column on the left and ensure that your desired account is selected.
- Select the UA property that currently collects data for your site from the Property column on the right.
- Click GA4 Setup Assistant in the Property
- Decide how you want to migrate your UA property to GA4 from the following options:
- I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property: Migrate your basic settings, like tags, Google signals activation, and remarketing. This option does not migrate your goals, audiences, links, or Google Ads bidding. To use this option, click Get Started.
- I want a new Google Analytics 4 property set up for me aligned as much as possible with this property’s settings: Migrate your basic settings plus additional configurations, like your goals, audiences, links, and Google Ads bidding. To use this option, click Create and Configure a New Property. Then, decide whether to enable data collection, then click Create Property.
- If you chose “I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property” in step 5, you’ll see one of the following options to choose from:
- Create and continue: If you see this option, select it to Set Up a Google Tag. Install the Google tag manually or select the option that best describes your situation and follow the steps to finish creating your new Google Analytics 4 property.
- Create property: If you see this option, Google Analytics can reuse your existing UA tagging for your new GA4 property.
Step #3: Finish setting up your GA4 property
Now that you’ve successfully created your GA4 property, you’ll need to finish setting it up. Navigate to the Google Analytics 4 Property Setup Assistant page and click See your GA4 property.
The setup assistant will then guide you through a few last steps to finish setting up your new GA4 property.
It’s important to note that it can take up to 30 minutes to start collecting data in your property.
Step #4: Migrate events and items to GA4
The fourth step in our guide for how to migrate to GA4 is to migrate over any events and items you were using in your UA property.
Google’s setup assistant should have helped you migrate a lot of events and items you were tracking before for your UA property. But GA4 is different from UA and has a few different functions, so odds are that a few events or items might not have migrated over.
This is where your audit from step one will come in handy. Check out everything that your GA4 property is currently tracking and compare that with your list of everything your UA property was tracking.
Anything that’s missing from GA4 will need to be migrated over or set up. Here are a few examples of items you may need to manually migrate or setup:
- Content groupings
- Custom dimensions
- Product link extensions
- Referral exclusions
“One of the areas that trips people up the most is how to set up and view UA-style “goals” inside GA4.
Goals don’t exist anymore – they’ll need to be changed to GA4 events. I’m a fan of setting these up via Tag Manager.
For example, in UA you may have had a goal that was triggered when users landed on a “/thank-you/” page.
You can’t set that up directly in GA4, but you could set up a tag inside Tag Manager that gets triggered whenever a user lands on “/thank-you/”, and pushes an event to GA4.
Measuring that event inside GA4 would be the same thing as the old goal-style setup in UA.”
Step #5: Double-check your events and items migrated successfully
When it comes to migrating to GA4, it’s essential to check that everything is tracking correctly in your new GA4 property.
Audit all the events, goals, audiences, and other items you migrated to ensure they are tracking correctly. If not, troubleshoot and fix the issue as soon as possible to ensure you’re collecting the right data for your website and campaigns.
Step #6: Determine a final migration date
When you start the process to migrate to GA4, it’s important to lock in a final date for when your migration will be complete, and you’ll use GA4 full-time.
When you first set up your GA4 property, it’s helpful to track data in your UA property to ensure your reporting is working correctly in GA4.
However, you won’t always be able to track data in UA, so it’s important to set a date for when your team will only use GA4 full-time is essential.
Step #7: Set up your integrations
You’ll also want to consider any integrations you previously had for your UA property when you tackle GA4 migration.
You’ll want to make sure your new GA4 property is tracking everything you need, so be sure to take the time to set up your integrations and connect your Google accounts.
Some popular integrations include:
Step #8: Archive your data from UA
The last step in our guide to migrating to GA4 is to archive your data from your UA property. Google announced that they will delete all historical UA data beginning on January 1, 2024, so it’s important to archive your data before then.
You never know when you’ll want to reference your data in the future, so be sure to save it somewhere safe, so you can access it when you need it.
We’re masters of our craft.
WebFX is a marketing and design industry leader.
Make migrating to GA4 a breeze with WebFX
As a Google Premier Partner with more than 300+ Google-certified team members, WebFX is a trusted Google Analytics agency.
Our GA4 experts spend their days helping companies like yours successfully migrate to GA4, preserving the data you’ve already collected and ensuring all your integrations are set up and working correctly, taking the weight off your shoulders.
Plus, our team of consultants can assist with analyzing your data and identifying actionable insights that you can use to inform and improve your strategies for better results.
Want to learn more or get started with our Google Analytics consulting services? Chat with one of our experts by calling 888-601-5359 or contacting us online!