The right way to migrate to Google Analytics 4: A step-by-step information

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You’ve possible heard by now that Google is updating Google Analytics from Common Analytics (also referred to as GA3 or UA) to a brand new, upgraded model, Google Analytics 4 (GA4). 

The migration for many people from GA2 (Basic Analytics) to GA3 (Common Analytics) was comparatively painless 10 years in the past.

This migration isn’t fairly as easy. 

There are numerous variations between the present Google Analytics you’re possible utilizing (UA) and the brand new model of Google Analytics (GA4), and never the entire options of UA are current in GA4. 

Moreover, Google is urgent us to replace now. As of July 1, 2023, the free model of Google UA will now not gather information. 

That signifies that it is advisable significantly handle your analytics plan as quickly as potential to make sure that as of that date that your new GA4 property is monitoring appropriately and may offer you correct year-over-year information.

Right here’s find out how to migrate to Google Analytics 4.

Part 1: Create your GA4 property and launch it

Of utmost significance is creating your new GA4 properties and launching them instantly. 

Properties gained’t be importing historic information from UA, which signifies that your GA4 property will solely begin monitoring visitors information from the second you create it and ahead. 

So the earlier you create it, the earlier you’ll have information populating within the GA4 property.

Timeline: Ideally, this needs to be carried out earlier than July 1, 2022. However when you miss this date aim, simply create your GA4 property (or properties) as quickly as potential.

To launch the brand new property, you’ll must:

  • Create the brand new GA4 property.
  • Add the brand new GA4 monitoring tag to your web site. 

That is most simply completed when you use Google Tag Manager. After deployment, test the brand new property over the subsequent few days to make sure you’re seeing visitors information populating within the property.

Part 2: Make a listing of your key objects

New analytics properties don’t inherit particular monitoring objects (e.g., targets, occasions) from every other properties (together with UA properties). 

The next is a listing of the most typical monitoring objects I take advantage of in Google Analytics. You will have further ones so as to add, however these are some frequent ones it is advisable add to the listing:

  • Occasions
  • Objectives (Conversions)
  • Content material Groupings
  • Customized Dimensions/Metrics
  • Referral Exclusions
  • Product Hyperlink Connections
  • Audiences

When you’ve created your listing, consider what it is advisable preserve, which you’ll be able to discard, and in addition maybe the place gaps may exist the place you might need to create new monitoring objects, comparable to new occasions, new targets, and so forth.

Keep in mind that targets are created in every reporting view. Reporting views will not be used with GA4, so if you wish to protect the entire targets you at the moment have in a number of reporting views for a similar UA property, then you definately’ll must listing all of them and recreate them within the GA4 property. 

Like UA reporting views, which restricted you to twenty targets per reporting view, GA4 limits you to 30 conversions per property

Once you listing out your present targets, be sure you notice which of them are “non-event” targets (for instance, destination-based targets), as you’ll must make some modifications to the way you monitor these going ahead.

Part 3: Start migrating particular person objects to GA4

After you have your listing of things to recreate in GA4, the actual setup work begins!

Listed here are the most typical objects for arrange and a few ideas for setting every one up:

Occasions

Occasions in GA4 are much like UA setup, however you may need to set the tagging up anew for GA4 goals.

Some occasions you will have manually arrange prior to now, like scroll depth, are actually robotically added for you in GA4.

So first, test the automated targets which might be monitoring in your GA4 property by trying on the occasions underneath Configure within the navigation. No must recreate occasions that Google has already created for you!

Like with including the final GA monitoring code to your web site, Google Tag Supervisor is the best instrument to make use of for this effort.

Objectives (Conversions)

In GA4, targets are actually renamed “Conversions”, and all targets are event-based.

When migrating your current UA targets to GA4, I counsel beginning with the event-based goals, as these are extra much like the unique aim arrange in UA.

When you’ve arrange the occasions in GA4 and marked them as conversions, begin with destination-based targets and engagement targets.

Content material Groupings

In UA, content material groupings have been created within the interface itself. Nonetheless, in GA4 there isn’t any interface setup – all content material teams are created by means of web page tagging.

In some methods, this can be a good change, however it requires a whole lot of time funding on the onset.

A web page can have a number of “gtags” on it, and the only strategy to implement these will possible be Google Tag Supervisor.

In the event you want to implement content material groupings in GA4, visit this reference guide from Google.

Customized Dimensions/Metrics

Like with UA, establishing customized dimensions and metrics is a two-step course of – it requires arrange in each the interface and the code.

Your current UA customized dimensions and metrics tags might migrate over wonderful to GA4, however you’ll nonetheless must arrange the scale and metrics within the GA4 property interface.

To arrange customized dimensions and metrics within the interface, confer with Google’s setup guide.

Referral Exclusions

Referral exclusions nonetheless exist in GA4, however they’ve primarily been renamed and moved a number of layers down from the highest admin navigation ranges.

So as to add referral exclusions, underneath your GA4 property admin menu, choose Information Streams, then your web site information stream (your URL), then choose Extra Tagging Settings underneath the Further Settings part.

Lastly, click on Configure Your Domains and enter your area and every other domains (comparable to these from third-party apps that combine along with your web site, like sure advertising automation instruments).

You’ll must reconnect your Google merchandise’ hyperlinks to your new GA4 property. Notice that it’s OK to have your Google properties related to a number of GA properties, so that you don’t must take away your current UA product hyperlinks to attach GA4 too.

Product Hyperlinks now seem on the prime degree of the property admin navigation. Choose every of the Google merchandise you utilize, like Google Advertisements, and join your new GA4 property(ies).

Audiences

Google Analytics audiences are useful for promoting functions and now additionally conversion setup in GA4. It’s necessary to arrange your audiences lengthy earlier than July 1, 2023 in an effort to replace your Google Advertisements campaigns with comparable, viable viewers lists when the UA properties cease monitoring. 

To recreate your audiences in GA4, first concentrate on the audiences in your listing in UA (on the property degree) and search for those who have Google Analytics because the viewers sort. These will must be recreated in GA4.

Nonetheless, the terminology and method you create audiences has modified in GA4, so confer with Google’s audience creation guide for help.

Ecommerce

Like virtually all issues within the UA to GA4 migration, ecommerce monitoring additionally gained’t magically transfer from UA to GA4. Google recommends making a separate set of tags for GA4 ecommerce monitoring, despite the fact that it’s the similar as UA.

Right here once more, Google Tag Supervisor is probably going the best and quickest strategy to implement your ecommerce tagging throughout the positioning.

For detailed info for ecommerce migration, go to Google’s GA4 ecommerce migration guide.

Timeline: As a result of these things will solely begin monitoring when they’re created, ideally the monitoring objects above needs to be applied earlier than July 1, 2022. Nonetheless, when you can’t full all of them earlier than July 1, 2022, simply full them as rapidly as you may.

Part 4: Examine your objects

When you’ve launched your monitoring objects within the new GA4 properties, you’ll must double-check that they’re monitoring correctly. 

Consider your ecommerce, conversions, occasion monitoring and extra to make sure they’re monitoring as anticipated within the new properties. If not, troubleshoot the difficulty and repair it as quickly as you may.

Part 5: Decide a date for migrating to GA4 as your single supply of fact

Organizations depend on Google Analytics for reporting for a lot of departments, so it’s necessary that the group comply with when the brand new GA4 property(ies) will turn out to be the “single supply of fact” for information and reporting. 

In finest follow, you need to possible wait till you’ve got year-over-year information in your GA4 property(ies) previous to altering your single supply of fact to GA4 partially as a result of the metrics and tracking in GA4 are completely different than they are in UA, ergo you can not precisely use UA information from one 12 months and evaluate to GA4 information in one other 12 months.

If you will get your new GA4 applied previous to July 1, 2022, then you may possible begin utilizing it as your single supply of fact as of July 1, 2023.

Regardless, when you use the free model of Google Analytics, you’ll be compelled emigrate to GA4 as your major supply of fact on July 1, 2023, even when the year-over-year information with UA isn’t comparable.

Part 6: Archive your UA information

So as to add insult to harm, Google determined that along with forcing us all emigrate to GA4 now that they may even delete all of our historical UA data beginning on January 1, 2024. 

When you do have a bit extra time to archive this information, you need to plan on archiving in case it is advisable reference it sooner or later. 

First, decide what information you often want. For instance, I usually use the supply/medium report. 

Then think about the intervals wherein you entry this information. Sometimes, I entry information on a month-to-month foundation, comparable to June 1-30. You’ll need to archive your information in a way that matches these information utilization habits.

I personally discover the UA interface clunky for archiving functions. In my instance of the supply/medium report and pulling month-to-month information, within the interface, you may solely pull two months of knowledge at a time (one as the unique month and one because the comparability month), then obtain the info to CSV. That may take perpetually! 

As a substitute, particularly when you’re not a developer who is aware of find out how to use the Google Analytics API, think about using the Google Analytics Spreadsheet Add-On, which works with Google Sheets. It’s tremendous useful and pulls that information quick! 

Simply ensure you don’t run into information sampling points, and when you do, take smaller studies. 

For instance, if I pull 10 years of knowledge from the supply/medium report damaged down by month, it could be a lot information that it forces Google to pattern the info. If that’s the case, I’d strive breaking it down into a number of report pulls, maybe one 12 months’s price of knowledge per report. You’ll be able to at all times mix the info into one sheet as soon as it’s pulled.

Timeline: If you’re utilizing the free model of UA, you will have to do that between July 1-December 31, 2022. Your information will likely be deleted on January 1, 2023. If you’re utilizing UA 360, it’s essential to archive your information earlier than June 30, 2023.

Lastly, don’t panic!

I do know, it’s all nerve-racking. Hold in there. It’s going to be OK. 

I converse on this topic across the nation, and not too long ago somebody requested me if there’s something good about GA4.

The reply is a powerful sure

GA4 is aiming to get us all nearer to true ROI and cross-device reporting. 

Nonetheless, development and alter are tough. We people don’t are likely to get pleasure from it. 

Nevertheless it really will all be OK. Simply prioritize this now, and when you want my assist, please attain out. Information is my ardour, and I need yours to be correct! You’ll be able to attain me at [email protected]

What it is advisable learn about adopting Google Analytics 4

Need to watch my SMX Superior session, which explored the variations between GA4 and Common Google Analytics? You’ll be able to watch it on-demand.


Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and never essentially Search Engine Land. Employees authors are listed here.


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About The Writer

Janet Miller is the President and CEO of Marketing Mojo. She often blogs on quite a lot of search engine advertising subjects, usually specializing in technical options. Yow will discover her on Twitter @janetdmiller.



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