Here’s a step-by-step guide to walk you though the process
Migrating from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) involves a few key steps. Here’s a general guide to help you with the migration process:
- Understand the Differences: Familiarize yourself with the differences between Universal Analytics and GA4. GA4 introduces new features and data modeling approaches, so understanding these changes will help you plan your migration effectively. Figure out your most important data points so you can replicate them easily in GA4.
- Set up a GA4 Property: Create a new GA4 property within your Google Analytics account. This will allow you to start collecting data in the GA4 format while keeping your existing Universal Analytics setup intact.
- Implement GA4 Tracking Code: Install the GA4 tracking code on your website or app. This code snippet is different from the Universal Analytics tracking code. You can find the GA4 tracking code within the Admin section of your GA4 property.
- Configure Data Streams: Set up data streams in GA4 to collect data from your website and app. Data streams are used to organize data collection and should be configured separately for each platform (website, iOS app, Android app).
- Review Event Tracking: GA4 relies heavily on event tracking for data collection. Review your existing event tracking setup in Universal Analytics and map it to the new event model in GA4. Update your tracking code to send events using the GA4 syntax and parameters.
- Enable Data Import: If you have additional data sources that are not automatically collected by GA4, such as offline data or CRM data, leverage GA4’s data import functionality to bring in all data for analysis.
- Configure Conversion Tracking: Set up conversion tracking in GA4 by defining your goals and events that represent conversions or key actions on your website or app. Use the GA4 interface to configure these conversion events.
- Create Custom Reports and Dashboards: Take advantage of GA4’s analysis capabilities by recreating your custom reports and dashboards in the GA4 interface. Experiment with the new analysis features, such as exploration, to gain insights from your data.
- Data Validation and Parallel Tracking: By starting the migration early, you can run both Universal Analytics and GA4 in parallel for a period to validate data consistency and ensure accurate tracking. Compare the data between the two versions to confirm the migration is working as expected.
- Consider Data Retention and Historical Data: GA4 has different data retention policies compared to Universal Analytics. Plan accordingly for the retention of historical data, and export or back up any data you may need for future reference.
- Update Reporting and Integrations: If you have reporting or integration systems that rely on Universal Analytics data, update them to work with GA4 data. This may involve making changes to your reporting tools or updating API integrations. Don’t forget to reconnect your Google products (including Google Ads), as these will not automatically update with migration.
Remember, if you don’t shift to GA4 by July 1, 2023, Google will make an account for you. By starting early, you give yourself a chance to ensure all tracking and data points are correctly set up and reporting. Per Google, Universal Analytics will be available for viewing for 6 months after July 1, 2023. This will allow you to revisit old data for a while, but it is a good idea to get ahead of the deadlines in order to ensure you have every bit of data you need.
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