Talk to us →
April 21, 2023

6 must-have steps to migrate to GA4

If you've made it this far, you are aware that Google Analytics 4 is here to stay and that Universal Analytics will stop processing data as of July 2023. If you haven't migrated to GA4 yet, it's time to do so.

This process doesn’t have to be a headache. Follow our step-by-step guide to get started analyzing your data, and you’ll better understand the value of each channel in the customer journey.

Google Analytics logo.

What is new in GA4

Google Analytics has new features to give you broader, more accurate data, enabling you to predict user behavior while maintaining privacy.

Hence, customer-centric data aggregation is the big reveal of Google Analytics 4 for analysts, performance marketing managers, and other experts. Updates like these allow us to measure the weight of each channel and strategy in the user decision-making process.

So far, so good. But, in concrete terms, which are the real Google Analytics 4 effects? Take note of the following highlights.

  • Insights and forecasting through AI. With this sort of data, the margin of error in your overall decisions decreases, allowing for a conscious evaluation of your business and actions.
  • Deeper integration with Google Ads. Cross-referencing data between the two tools enables you to measure with greater precision users’ interactions with your website.
  • Data gathering is now based on the four phases of the customer lifecycle: acquisition, engagement, conversion, and retention.
  • Ads and campaign customization. Now you can control how to gather, use and share data.
  • Faster and more detailed data model. Data is now based on events, users, and engagement.
  • GA4's integrations, such as with BigQuery, allow a deeper data analysis.
  • Google Signals is a new resource that tracks the user on different devices.
  • Monitor every event in particular with DebugView. This new feature allows you to detect potential improvements to your website.
  • Funnel and path exploration. This lets you identify user steps, paths, and actions until they accomplish a set goal or reach a page on the website.
  • Segment overlapping. Google Analytics 4 supports the comparison of up to three segments: new users, mobile traffic, and converted users. From this, you can create and isolate custom segments.

How to set up GA4?

There are several methods for Google Analytics 4 integration. Based on our experience curve, we point out, in this guide, the main steps that we follow for easy migration. If you have any questions, you can check this Google guide or contact our team.

1. Create a GA4 property

The first step is to transfer the current UA property to GA4 in the Google Analytics administrator setting. Just follow these steps: “GA4 Setup Assistant” > “I want to connect to an existing Google Analytics 4 property”.

From now on, the platform shifts the property to Google Analytics 4.

Consider that all properties created on or after October 14, 2020, already use the updated platform.

2. Set up your GA4 property

Google Analytics 4 starts collecting data after the Google Analytics tag is added to the website pages. This tag can be added through either Google Tag Manager or Third-Party Measurement

Implementation Request (plug-in), or else with code in the website’s back-office.

3. Define the items to migrate to GA4

Here you should list the key items that should be recreated on the new platform. Please, always pay attention to your specific goals and business model.

This listing should be thorough, as the UA and GA4 data models are very divergent.

The main items to recreate in Google Analytics 4, typically, are the following:

  • Events and goals
  • Customized metrics and dimensions
  • Unwanted referrals
  • Audiences

4. Set up item by item in GA4

Given the similarities of adding items between the two versions of the platforms, the migrations of most are automatic as soon as it starts gathering data. In this sense, the focus should be on verifying that this data flow and recreating events that Google has not recreated and that were part of UA.

4.1. Events and goals

First, migrate event-based goals and then those that had been created based on landing pages through interface or code. Finally, recreate the goals based on an audience. In this case, you have to create the audience first.

4.2. Customized metrics and dimensions

If you already have created custom metrics and dimensions, don’t worry, the process in Google Analytics 4 is quite similar. So, follow the same steps as in the past.

4.3. Unwanted referrals

Here also, the procedure is fairly simple. Just follow these steps:

  • Access your property in the administrator panel
  • Click on “Data Stream” > “Web”
  • At the bottom of the page, set up tag settings
  • Once you see all available settings, click on “List unwanted referrals”
  • Finish by saving the information

4.4. Audiences

Audience creation is crucial not only for running ads and campaigns, but also for GA4 conversions. To migrate audiences to the new platform, we suggest you do it through Google Tag Manager.

5. Prepare custom reports

Once the property is set up, you should configure the reports that best suit your business. GA4's reports are not “ready-to-use”. With the new feature, the reports are 100% addressed to your business needs.

6. Check that data flows

The process is only finished when you have validated that the new data entered into Google Analytics 4 matches actual data, correcting duplicates and any errors.

Data migration from UA to GA4

The process is only finished when you have validated that the new data entered into Google Analytics 4 matches actual data, correcting duplicates and any errors.

Given the relevance of the data, Google Analytics 4 allows the transfer of some data from the UA. However, based on our experience, we always advise you to archive all the information, due to certain incompatibilities.

You can now import the following data from the UA into GA4:

  • CPC, clicks, and impressions data on third-party ads
  • User data, such as CLV. This data helps you create GA4 segments and lists for remarketing and retargeting
  • Offline events
  • Product data such as colors, styles, sizes, and other features

Let’s wrap things up

Data gathering focused on the customer and their behavior are big hits on the new version of Google Analytics. The new data model allows you to gain competitive advantages by helping you understand how the customer journey truly works, whatever your business model is.

Now that you have realized the potential of this upgrade and have all the tools to proceed with the GA4 migration, you are ready to perform real-time analytics and explore all the features available.

Any questions or concerns? Our team can easily help you out with the GA4 implementation. Book a meeting here and find the right WAY.