How to Migrate from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics-A Comprehensive Guide
With the upcoming sunset of Universal Analytics (UA) on July 1, 2023 (or July 1, 2024, for Google Analytics 360 users), it’s high time for businesses to migrate to the more advanced Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This robust platform offers a slew of powerful features, such as the ability to measure different kinds of data from iOS apps, Android apps, and the web, as well as innovative machine learning technologies to improve marketing ROI. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the entire migration process to ensure a seamless transition to GA4. Let’s dive in!
Understanding the Key Differences Between UA and GA4
Before migrating, it’s crucial to understand the main differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4. GA4 is designed to replace UA, offering a more sophisticated approach to data analysis, and is better equipped to handle the ever-evolving digital landscape. Here are some of the key differences:
- GA4 uses an event-driven data model, as opposed to the session-based model of UA. This means that GA4 focuses more on user interactions and behavior, providing a deeper understanding of how users engage with your website or app.
- GA4 is designed to work seamlessly across multiple platforms, including websites, iOS apps, and Android apps, allowing for more accurate and comprehensive data collection.
- GA4 incorporates machine learning to uncover new insights, helping businesses make data-driven decisions.
- GA4 offers improved cross-device tracking, enabling businesses to understand user journeys across devices and platforms.
- GA4 provides more granular user privacy controls, allowing businesses to comply with evolving data privacy regulations.
With these key differences in mind, let’s move on to the migration process.
Creating a New GA4 Property in Your Analytics Account
The first step in migrating to Google Analytics 4 is to create a new GA4 property in your existing Analytics account. Follow these steps:
- Sign in to your Google Analytics account and navigate to the Admin panel.
- In the Account column, click on the + Create Property button.
- Give your new property a name, select the reporting time zone and currency, and choose your industry category and business size.
- Click on the Create button to finalize the process.
Adding a Data Stream
Once you’ve created your GA4 property, you’ll need to add a data stream to begin collecting data. GA4 allows you to add data streams from iOS apps, Android apps, or the web. Here’s how:
- In the Property column, click on Data Streams.
- Click on the + Add stream button.
- Choose the type of data stream you want to add (iOS app, Android app, or Web) and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
Setting up Data Collection for Websites
To collect data from web pages, you’ll need to add the Google tag to your website. If you’re using a CMS like Google Sites, HubSpot, Wix, WooCommerce, or WordPress, you can paste your G- ID into the Google Analytics field provided by your CMS. If you don’t have access to a field to enter your G- ID, you can paste the Google tag into your CMS’s custom HTML feature. Here’s how:
- Go to the Data Streams page and select Web.
- Click on your desired data stream.
- Under Google tag, click on View tag instructions, then Installation instructions, followed by Install manually.
- Paste the snippet immediately after the <head> tag on each page of your website.
Activating Google Signals
Google Signals enhances remarketing and reporting capabilities in GA4. It allows audiences created in GA4 to be published to Google Ads and served in cross-device-eligible remarketing campaigns for Google users who have consented to Ads Personalization. To activate Google Signals, follow these steps:
- In your GA4 property, navigate to the Settings page.
- Scroll down to the Data Settings section and click on Data Collection.
- Locate the Google signals card and click on the Activate button.
Linking to Google Ads
To ensure a seamless connection between GA4 and your Google Ads account, you’ll need to recreate UA links or create new Google Ads links using the Google Ads links migration tool.
Mapping UA Custom Events to GA4
Dual tagging allows you to maintain your UA implementation while building your new GA4 property. This approach lets you build a historical record in GA4 while still relying on UA until the switch is complete. Learn more about dual tagging and how to map UA custom events to GA4.
Migrating UA Goals and Conversions to GA4
To migrate your UA goals and conversions to GA4, we recommend using Google’s comprehensive guide on this topic.
Validating and Bidding to Conversions in Google Ads
If you’re already bidding on UA conversions, you can replicate those conversions in your GA4 property. Doing so allows you to compare conversion volumes and import your GA4 conversions into Google Ads.
Migrating audiences from your UA property to GA4 enables you to identify the same user groups based on your GA4 data. This information can then be exported to your linked Google Ads account for more targeted marketing efforts. Note that you can create up to 100 audiences per GA4 property, and these audiences will automatically update everywhere, eliminating the need to select a destination manually.
To migrate your audiences, you’ll need to recreate them manually in your GA4 property.
Migrating from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 may seem like a daunting task, but this comprehensive guide should help you through the process. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to harnessing the powerful features and insights GA4 has to offer, ultimately improving your marketing ROI and understanding of user behavior. Start your migration today and stay ahead of the curve!