GA4 Migration

GA4 Migration Diagnostic

Navigating your move to GA4

Get organized and prepared for a successful transition to GA4, even if Universal Analytics has already stopped collecting vital data.

If you're like most small (and even larger) businesses, you heard the warnings, saw the emails from Google, and hit DELETE. Dealing with GA4 was too complicated to deal with and took too long to figure out. So putting it off until later was an easy decision.

But later is now here. Universal Analytics stopped collecting data on July 1, 2023. And procrastination is no longer an option. The longer you wait, the more data you lose, and that puts your business at risk.

Look, we get it. Moving to GA4 isn’t likely at the top of your priority list — and it won’t be until you need to make important decisions. Trust me: That’s NOT the time to remember that you haven’t been collecting data or the data you do have is crap. Not being able to make data-driven, smart decisions about your business will hurt.
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The good news migrating to GA4 doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming. You’re in the right place to understand your best next steps and what your business needs, and we’re here to help.

Three GA4 migration problems

The smoothest move to GA4 is the one you control yourself.

The transition to GA4 is more involved than most realize. Too many business owners think transitioning to GA4 is as simple as pressing a button or flipping a switch — and that’s not even close to reality.

And let's not forget the misconception that Google’s generic one-size-fits-all GA4 configuration, done automatically or with their wizard, was good enough.

There are actually three different considerations that must be addressed in a proper Universal Analytics to GA4 migration.

GA4 migration property review

Manual GA4 setup

Verify quality

Google auto-created generic GA4 properties with default settings that don’t work in your favour. Review your properties for data quality, data retention, and usability.

GA4 migration property setup

Recreate your UA

Measure what you need

Making informed decisions didn’t stop with the sunsetting of UA. Create your analytics plan and work it to recreate and improve your data collection and evaluation setup.

GA4 migration UA history

Capture History

June 30, 2024 deadline

You can continue to access your UA data until June 30, 2024. Decide what data you need and capture that historical data to ensure meaningful reporting and analysis.

  • Before going further

    The more data you have, the more complex your setup, and the longer you put off migrating to GA4, the greater the risk you’re taking of having gaps in your data. Your ability to make data-driven decisions will be negatively impacted. The demand on resources helping with the transition will continue. This means the longer you wait, the more likely you’ll encounter more expensive services and be placed on a waiting list.

How To Figure Out Your GA4 Migration Strategy

The best plan for migrating to GA4 is not only the plan you’ll do, but also the plan that fits your business.

This diagnostic walks you through three key areas that help you figure out your best next steps. Knowing what you need for the move to GA4 will keep you focused and on track. 

How you used Universal Analytics

Creating your comprehensive migration plan

Top priorities to address

Let’s dive into figuring out what your GA4 migration strategy will look like. We'll assess where you are in each of the three key areas. 

Migration Mover 2300

We'll use the Migration Mover 2300 to ask some important questions about your setup, then calculate what you need to do.

You may need your Google Analytics account handy to answer some questions.

And remember to save your answers from each step!

1. How you used Universal Analytics

Being clear about how you used analytics up to now plays a large role in determining the steps you need to take for a smooth transition.

Answer this brief set of questions to find out your analytics stage.

1. GA4 Migration Stage

How do you use analytics?

Answer these key questions to identify how you use analytics.

We'll put them through the Migration Mover 2300 to figure out a stage aligned with your business needs. Use the stage to personalize your UA to GA4 migration strategy.

 

Not sure how to answer?

  • Think about how often you or a team member reviewed your analytics.
  • If nothing matches perfectly, select the answer that is closest to your situation.

 

Not sure how to answer?

  • If you set up goals to track a button click, form completion or reaching thank you page, select "Yes, 1-3 basic ones".
  • If you set up more than 3 goals or more complicated goals, select "Yes, custom ones".

 

Not sure how to answer?

  • If you looked at reports or graphs that come with your Google Analytics account and did not make any changes to them, select "No, I use standard reports "out-of-the-box".
  • If you modified or created reports, even if you used standard reports, select "Yes, some or all are custom".

 

Not sure how to answer? 

  • If you pulled your data into Looker, formerly named Google Data Studio, or another visualization tool:
    • select "Yes, basic one(s) if they were a single page with a few fields 
    • select "Yes, more complex ones" if they were multiple pages and/or brought in external data sources (eg. from a spreadsheet)

 

Not sure how to answer? 

  • Advanced features include advanced segments, content groups, advanced filters, ecommerce, etc.
  • If you set up a few basic filters (eg filter out IP address), "No".
  • If you set up more than 3 basic filters or use any of the other advanced features, select "Yes".

 

Not sure how to answer? 

  • For this question:
    • think about how you used or analyzed data, not how often you looked at the data
    • consider the complexity of how you used the data

Congratulations! 

Because you didn't have Universal Analytics installed, you can start fresh with your GA4 setup. Schedule time this week to review these items:

  1. If you have not manually created a GA4 property, create one NOW. Do not use Google's property Set Up Assistant. 
  2. We recommend you connect your GA4 property to your website using Google Tag Manager (GTM).
  3. Be sure to verify your website activity is going to GA4.

The Migration Mover 2300 does not have enough information to determine your analytics stage.

Let's chat about your set up and determine what is a good fit for you situation.

Based on your answers, the Migration Mover 2300 suggests your analytics stage is >> PREPARE <<.

Universal Analytics is set up and collecting data about your website to use in the future, but you are not actively using the data now.

Based on your answers, the Migration Mover 2300 suggests your analytics stage is >> START <<.

You have Universal Analytics set up with a few basic goals and may look at a report here and there out of interest, but not really sure how to use the data.

Based on your answers, the Migration Mover 2300 suggests your analytics stage is >> GROW <<.

You've customized your Universal Analytics set up with goals and reports more specific to your business and make data-driven decisions when you can.

Based on your answers, the Migration Mover 2300 suggests your analytics stage is >> SCALE <<.

Your Universal Analytics set up is highly customized and leverages a number of advanced features. Use of your analytics is integrated into all of your decision making processes.

 

Note your analytics stage before clicking finish. You'll need it for the next 2 steps.

2. What needs to be addressed

While the move from UA to GA4 can seem pretty daunting, organization is key to keeping track of all the tasks. The goal is to minimize creating bad data or gaps for continued confidence in making data-driven decisions.

Breaking down the GA4 migration work by problem area helps to structure the process even further.

Let’s take a look at each problem area that needs to be addressed.

A: Deal with what Google creates

Google tried to create a GA4 property for any UA property that did not toggle the proper settings, Google made best guesses and did the bare minimum in the process. Chances are high you are not collect the quality data you need. Any third-party services integrations with GA4 need to be verified too.

B: Recreate your setup in GA4

Documenting, evaluating, and rethinking are the most important parts of recreating your GA4 setup effectively. Now is the time to document what you measure and evaluate what you want to simplify or adjust going forward. GA4's new features will have you rethinking what will help you to grow your business.

C: Capture your historical data

Google sees historical data as taking up space. You see data as insights about your business. Capturing your historical data may not seem important until you want to make decisions based on data rather than a best guess. Your window to capture UA data before June 30, 2024 will close faster than you think.

2. GA4 Migration Plan

What is your UA to GA4 migration plan?

Answer these key questions in transitioning from UA to GA4.

We'll put them through the Migration Mover 2300 to figure out your recommended migration plan.

Manage GA4 Properties Auto-created by Google

 

Not sure how to answer?

  • the properties in your account don't match your documentation:
    • if you haven't set up a GA4 property yet, you'll see one.
    • if you have a GA4 property(s) set up there are ones you don't recognize.
  • look in your account or GA4 property change history for something that references "automatic changes".
  • select "Don't know, not sure" if you're not confident answering "Yes" or "No".

Special criteria:

  • select Yes if any of the following are true:
    • you had goals / conversions set up in UA.
    • you shared conversions or audiences between UA and Google Ads.
    • you have 3rd party integrations connected to UA4.

 

Not sure how to answer?

  • select "Don't know, not sure" if you're not confident answering "Yes" or "No".

Not sure how to answer?

  • select "Don't know, not sure" if you're not confident answering "Yes" or "No".

Recreate Your Analytics Setup

Capture Your Historical Data

 

Not sure how to answer?

  • You may not care about your data if:
    • your data is a hot mess.
    • your GA4 setup will provide enough historical data.
    • you don't intend to look back over the last 24 months going forward.
    • you won't regret never being able to access your UA data again.

 

Not sure how to answer?

  • What is the risk to decision making by having gaps in your data?
  • Would you want to see historical trends?
  • Would you feel better having the data just in case?

 

Not sure how to answer?

  • Will you want to use UA data in your decision making well into the future?
  • Do you do ad hoc reporting to analyze past data in decision making?

Bonus: Other Google Products

 

Not sure how to answer?

  • Do you use other Google services such as Google Ads, Google Search Console, etc.
  • Gmail is not considered a Google product in this case.

Your Migration Mover 2300 Results

Based on your answers, the Migration Mover 2300 recommends these steps for your business.

A: Manage GA4 Properties Auto-created by Google

Create a GA4 property now

1. Because you and Google did not create a GA4 property, manually create one now.

Verify GA4 settings

1. Google is continually updating GA4 functionality. Review your property to ensure the settings match your needs.

Get help to understand the implications on your data

1. Your analytics setup and data requirements need to be evaluated more thoroughly to recommend the best way to deal with your auto-created GA4 property. Do not delete these auto-created properties until you understand the risks and quality of data.

Get help to evaluate the properties in your account

1. Get help to review your account and understand your property settings before making any changes.

Continue using your auto-created GA4 property

1. Review the GA4 property settings and adjust as needed.
2. Disconnect the GA4 property from the UA property.
3. Connect the auto-created GA4 measurement id to your website, and confirm the GA4 property is collecting data.

Continue to use the GA4 property you created

1. Delete the auto-created GA4 property.
2. Verify your GA4 property is connected to your website.
3. Review the GA4 property settings and adjust as needed.

B: Recreate Your Universal Analytics In GA4

Your answers indicate you are in the PREPARE stage. 

The recommended steps are:

1. Review your base / foundation GA4 property to ensure it is properly configured.

2. Verify your GA4 property is not connected to a UA property. 

3. If your GA4 property is connected to a UA property then disconnect  GA4 from UA, add the GA4 measurement id to your website, and test to make sure it is working.

4. Mull on a few questions about your business you would like to answer.

 

Your answers indicate you are in the START stage. 

The recommended steps are:

1. Review your base / foundation GA4 property to ensure it is properly configured.

2. Verify your GA4 property is not connected to a UA property. 

3. If your GA4 property is connected to a UA property then disconnect  GA4 from UA, add the GA4 measurement id to your website, and test to make sure it is working.

4. Review your UA goals for what you want to recreate in GA4. Document goals that cannot be recreated yet.

5. Setup GTM events for the GA4 goals you will recreate.

6. Set those GTM events as conversions in GA4.

7. Verify your GA4/GTM setup is working.

Your answers indicate you are in the GROW stage. 

The recommended steps are:

1. Review your base / foundation GA4 property to ensure it is properly configured.

2. Verify your GA4 property is not connected to a UA property. 

3. If your GA4 property is connected to a UA property then disconnect  GA4 from UA, add the GA4 measurement id to your website, and test to make sure it is working.

4. Review your UA goals for what you want to recreate in GA4. Document goals that cannot be recreated yet.

5. Setup GTM events for the GA4 goals you will recreate.

6. Set those GTM events as conversions in GA4.

7. Verify your GA4/GTM setup is working.

8. Review and recreate your favourite and/or custom UA reports in GA4. Document reports that cannot be recreated yet.

9. Review and recreate dashboards in Looker Studio using GA4 data sources. Document dashboards than cannot be recreated yet.

10. Verify your recreated reports and/or dashboards are collecting data properly.

Your answers indicate you are in the SCALE stage. 

The recommended steps are:

1. Review your base / foundation GA4 property to ensure it is properly configured.

2. Verify your GA4 property is not connected to a UA property. 

3. If your GA4 property is connected to a UA property then disconnect  GA4 from UA, add the GA4 measurement id to your website, and test to make sure it is working.

4. Review your UA goals for what you want to recreate in GA4. Document goals that cannot be recreated yet.

5. Setup GTM events for the GA4 goals you will recreate.

6. Set those GTM events as conversions in GA4.

7. Verify your GA4/GTM setup is working.

8. Review and recreate your favourite and/or custom UA reports in GA4. Document reports that cannot be recreated yet.

9. Review and recreate dashboards in Looker Studio using GA4 data sources. Document dashboards than cannot be recreated yet.

10. Verify your recreated reports and/or dashboards are collecting data properly.

11. Review and recreate advanced features (eg. advanced segments, content groupings, advanced filters, etc.) set up in UA. Document advanced features that cannot be recreated yet.

12. Verify your recreated advanced features are working as expected.

C: Capture Your Historical Universal Analytics Data

To recommend an appropriate solution for your historical data needs, we'll need to chat further. Contact us with details of your situation.

To recommend an appropriate solution for your historical data needs, we'll need to chat further. Contact us with details of your situation.

Based on your answers, access to Universal Analytics data through July 1, 2024 should satisfy your requirements.

Based on your answers, access to Universal Analytics data through July 1, 2024 should satisfy your requirements.

Based on your answers, capturing your Universal Analytics in CSV and/or PDF format should satisfy your requirements. 

Based on your answers, consider exporting your data into a Business Intelligence (BI) / analysis tool (eg. BigQuery, PowerBI). This gives you the ability to continue analyzng your historical data along with combining it with new data and data from other sources.

Bonus: Connections To Other Google Services

Based on your answer, you should not have to worry about reconnecting GA4 to other Google products.

Based on your answer, review your Universal Analytics property Product Links to confirm what will need linking to GA4. 

Based on your answer, review your Universal Analytics property Product Links to determine what will need linking to GA4.

 

Remember to copy / paste to save your recommended plan before clicking Finish.

3. Prioritize your GA4 migration

Now that you know what needs to be done for migrating to GA4, the big question is where to start. The more sophisticated your setup, the more work you have ahead of you.

Use your analytics stage from Step 1 to identify the priorities moving to GA4.

3. GA4 Migration Priorities

What are your migration priorities?

Knowing your migration plan and time frames are getting short, it's time to prioritize what needs to be done.

Enter your analytics stage into the Migration Mover 2300 to see what you should put at the top of  your UA to GA4 transition.

PREPARE

Based on your analytics stage being Prepare, the Migration Mover 2300 recommends:

  1. Block time in your schedule so you will be done by June.
  2. Ensure you have an unlinked, manually created GA4 property in place collecting basic website activity.
  3. Document your UA tracking code and GA4 measurement id.
  4. Work your plan from Step 2 to capture historical data.

START

Based on your analytics stage being Start, the Migration Mover 2300 recommends:

  1. Block time in your calendar within the next week to confirm your plan. You should start as soon as possible to ensure capturing good data.
  2. Decide who is going to be responsible for the move to GA4 and who is working your migration plan. Secure resources as soon as possible if you’re going to need help.
  3. Document your UA tracking code, GA4 measurement id, and UA set up (eg. custom, reports, goals, advanced features, integrations, etc).
  4. Work your plan from Step 2.

GROW

Based on your analytics stage being Grow, the Migration Mover 2300 recommends:

  1. Block time in your calendar today dedicated to your migration strategy because you need to start now. The longer you wait, the bigger your gap in data will be. Don't put more data at risk.
  2. Decide who is going to be responsible for the move to GA4 and who is working your migration plan. Secure resources as soon as possible if you’re going to need help.
  3. Document your UA tracking code, GA4 measurement id, and UA set up (eg. custom, reports, goals, advanced features, integrations, etc).
  4. Confirm your plan from Step 2.
  5. If you're migrating to GA4 yourself, get as much done as you can, and when you hit a road block, bring in the help you need.

SCALE

Based on your analytics stage being Scale, the Migration Mover 2300 recommends:

  1. Block time in your calendar today dedicated to your migration strategy. This is a big job and there is no time to waste.
  2. Identify the move to GA4 a top business priority.
  3. Decide who is going to be responsible for the move to GA4 and the mix of in-house and/or consultants needed to work your migration plan.
  4. Secure the needed resources as soon as possible.
  5. Document your UA tracking code, GA4 measurement id, and UA set up (eg. custom, reports, goals, advanced features, integrations, etc).
  6. Formalize your strategy and prioritized plan from Step 2.
  7. Dive in and get to work.

 

Remember to copy / paste to save your priorities before clicking Finish.

Google warned you. Don’t Keep Waiting For Some Day To Arrive Before Moving To GA4.

You're prepared and ready. You know the three GA4 migration areas that need addressing. You have a strategy to follow. You know what to prioritize.

Now is the time to take action. Do not let this get buried in your to-do list. Your data is too valuable to your business to risk letting this slide.

If you’re still hesitating on making the GA4 move or this diagnostic has made you even more stressed, let’s chat and see which one of our GA4 Migration packages is a fit for you.

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