How to Successfully Migrate to Google Analytics 4

By Alexandra Thibaudeau | July 20, 2022 | Reading time: 4 minutes

On March 16, 2022,Google announced the deactivation of Universal Analytics as of July 1, 2023. From this date forward, new data will only be transmitted to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). In the same press release, we learned that the Universal Analytics 360 platform will extend its data collection until October 1 of 2023.

Google Analytics 4 vs Google Universal: let's compare

Why this change? To allow companies to collect more complete data through all platforms and to have access to a tool adapted to the constant evolutions of the Web.

Universal Analytics (UA) was originally developed to analyze the Web activities of an Internet user from a computer, using cookies. With this tool, Google records sessions, which track interactions made on one site or an app over a certain period of time.

You guessed it, this methodology is now obsolete since it does not meet the current habits of consumers who can visit both a site and a mobile application more than once before buying.

In order to alleviate the situation, Google launched Analytics 4 in 2020. Unlike Universal Analytics, which analyzes sessions, GA4 uses an event-based approach, which allows you to access more specific data focused on customers and their buying journey.

Some Key Benefits of the GA4 Platform:

  • It offers you the possibility of getting a better portrait of your customers through all devices (desktop or mobile);
  • It will allow you to deepen your knowledge related to the buyer’s journey, by giving you access to funnel exploration tools and by eliminating duplicate data;
  • It is adapted to the new requirements towards data privacy and confidentiality;
  • It uses machine learning to make predictions and help you get the most out of your data;
  • It allows you to assign SMART marketing goals directly in the platform;
  • It offers better possibilities for segmenting target audiences;
  • Reporting tools are more detailed and customizable;
  • It processes data from three different sources, or identity spaces:
    • personalized user identifiers (user ID);
    • Google signals (information linked to the Google account of an Internet user who agrees to receive personalized ads);
    • the IP address (device identifier).
Learn how to configure your Google Analytics 4 account

How to Configure Your Google Analytics 4 Account

Even if the deadline for transitioning to the new platform is in more than a year, we recommend upgrading to Google Analytics 4 now. Why ? To start collecting data in your account as soon as possible and take advantage of this time to learn how to use Google Analytics 4 newest features. That way, when Universal Analytics stops collecting insights on July 1, 2023, you won't be starting from scratch and you'll already know how to take full advantage of the new version of the platform.

Step by Step Tutorial to Migrate From Universal Analytics to Analytics 4

  1. Sign in to your account;
  2. Go to the Administration section and select the property (site) to migrate;
  3. Select the Google Analytics 4 Setup assistant and follow the instructions;
  4. Click on "create a property" to configure your new account;
  5. Implement Gtag.js tracking codes using workflows according to the method that applies to your site:
    1. If your site currently uses the Analytics.js tag, you will need to change your flux to this Gtag.js method ;
    2. If your site already uses the Gtag.js tag, you can reuse the existing markup (tagging) thanks to the associated tags;
    3. You can also use Google Tag Manager to embed your Analytics code on your site;
    4. To install Analytics 4 on your mobile app, follow these steps.
  6. Select the Enable data collection using existing tags option to maintain your Universal Analytics integration while you develop your Analytics 4 integration.

  7. Take note that your historical data cannot be transferred from Universal Analytics to your new Google Analytics 4 property. The configuration assistant will only be able to help you establish a continuity between the two properties and make sure you recreate all the settings you need.

  8. Then enable Google Signals so you can remarket and create enhanced reports.
  9. Use the configuration assistant to migrate your Universal Analytics configurations to your new account including:
    1. your goals and conversions;
    2. your audiences;
    3. your e-commerce measures.
  10. Don't forget to connect your other Google accounts (Ads, Console, Tags) for a complete view of your performance.

What Will Happen to Data Previously Collected in Universal Analytics?

Once your Google Analytics 4 account has been created, do not delete your Universal Analytics account. Continue to collect data in both places for as long as possible. As of July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics stopped collecting new information, but you will still be able to access the data for a period of six months. If you want to keep a copy of your information, you will need to export individual reports. Google will provide more information about the data export closer to the deadline.

If you need technical support to make your transition, do not hesitate to contact us so that we can accompany you in this process. And why not take the opportunity to specify your key performance indicators and define your purchasing paths? It cannot be said enough, the more you know about your customers and their habits, the better you can boost your marketing and sales tactics to meet their needs. The transition to Google Analytics 4 is therefore the perfect opportunity to redefine your KPIs in order to better understand your prospects and customers.

Alexandra Thibaudeau, Digital Project Manager

Alexandra Thibaudeau

Holder of several HubSpot Academy certifications, she uses her expertise to ensure the creation and development of the company's Inbound Marketing strategy.