Transitioning from Universal Analytics to the new version, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), can be challenging! To make this process easier, we have developed a step-by-step with everything you need to do in the transition process from Universal Analytics to GA4.
Step 1: Create a GA4 property
The first step is to create a GA4 property for your website. There are two ways to do this:
The first option is to create a new Google Analytics property. Go to the menu, and in Admin, select Create Property. Fill in the fields with the requested information.
After creating the property, select the Data Streams for that account (IOS App, Android App, or Website).
In GA4, when adding a data stream, it is possible to select the Optimised Measurement option to measure some interactions automatically. It is also possible to customise the interactions you want to track.
To conclude, it is necessary to set up Google Analytics on your website or app.
The other option is to upgrade a property to the new version. In the Admin panel, select the GA4 Setup Assistant option.
After that, click Get Started and Create and Continue on the pop-up screen that will appear.
A GA4 property will be created, and the original Universal Analytics property will remain unchanged.
There are some advantages to using this second option to create a GA4 property, i.e., you can copy the basic settings of the UA to the new property, and the data in the new property are collected with the existing site label. With this option, it is also possible to select the Optimised Measurement, similar to the first option shown.
Regardless of the option used for creating the new GA4 property, most of the settings present in the UA will not be transferred to the GA4 property. After creating and configuring the GA4 property, it is necessary to review all the settings and look for alternatives to configure them in GA4, as we will see in the following steps.
Step 2: Identify the events to be transferred to the new property
In this step, we recommend looking at all events monitored in the UA and selecting those in use. Frequently, some events are configured but not used, so to make the transition more efficient, we recommend making a list of the relevant events that need to migrate to GA4.
Note that GA4 configures some events automatically, so first check the events already configured in Admin > Events.
For setting up events, we recommend the use of Google Tag Manager.
Step 3: Set up Goals/Conversions
The equivalent of Goals in UA are Conversions in GA4. And all conversions are event-based.
It means they need to be events to migrate UA goals to GA4. In UA, there were the following goals: destination, duration, pages/screens per session, and event.
The goals of the event type are easy to be configured in GA4. Go to Admin > Events and choose the events you want to select as conversions (or create a new event and mark it as a conversion if it still needs to be set up).
If the events are destination type, you can mark the landing page view as an event and then the event as a conversion.
If the event is a duration or pages/screens per session type, then there is no direct alternative.
Step 4: Verify Custom Metrics and Dimensions
Custom metrics and dimensions work similarly in Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4. However, it is necessary to migrate from one version to the other.
You must verify which metrics and dimensions exist in the UA property to set them up in GA4.
To configure, you should go into the menu Admin > Custom Definitions and then Create Custom Dimensions or Create Custom Metrics.
Step 5: E-commerce migration
Like many other aspects, eCommerce configuration is not automatic. Therefore, it is necessary to migrate the eCommerce tracking to GA4.
To help you in this step, consult the Google Developer’s Guide.
Step 6: Verify other settings
Other settings may also be associated with the UA account and must migrate to the GA4 account.
To name a few settings that you should check if there are in the UA property:
- Filters, for example, to exclude internal traffic.
- Cross-domain measurement
- Unwanted referrals
- Content grouping
Step 7: Link your GA4 property to other tools
Like Universal Analytics, you can also link GA4 to other tools.
In Universal Analytics, select Admin, and in the Property section, access Product Links to see the tools linked with Analytics.
After that, in GA4, go to Admin, and in the Property section, there is a list of tools you can link, click on the ones you want to configure.
Step 8: Review
It is now necessary to review all items for possible errors.
We recommend verifying all steps to ensure that the migration is complete.
Finally, data should be collected for one or two weeks and cross-checked to ensure that you set up GA4 correctly.
Note: a slight difference (up to 5%) is normal and not a cause for concern. If you observe a higher difference, it is necessary to verify that the configuration is correct.
Step 9: Archive the UA data
Now that the transition to GA4 is complete, it is time to archive the data present in the UA property because Google will delete it on January 1st, 2024.
Therefore, it is necessary to analyse whether there is information in the UA that needs to be saved for future use and export that data.
To sum up…
The transition to Google Analytics 4 is complex and time-consuming, so you should do it as soon as possible! With this step-by-step, no detail is left behind.
If you need additional help making the transition, Drivenly can help!