May 31, 2023
Come July 1, 2023, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will supersede Universal Analytics (UA) as the standard analytics platform offered by Google. UA will disappear shortly after, and with it, valuable data that many marketers have relied on for previous campaigns.
That is unless you take the steps now to prepare for the migration.
To prepare for GA4’s arrival, we are going to cover exactly what you need to know to ensure a smooth migration. First, let’s talk about why the best day to implement GA4 was yesterday but today is a very close second.
Why is It Important to Activate GA4 ASAP?
GA4 does not have historical data. Therefore, this should be treated as a fresh start or a much-needed refresher for accounts. Your insight and analysis are only as good as the data you have. Ensuring your data is clean, tangible, and functional is crucial.
For some accounts, the UA property has been set up for years. It has seen many iterations of changes from new websites, new marketing channels, and revised priorities and goals - some of which are no longer relevant.
Think about it. If you moved into a brand new home, would you take the bag of slimy lettuce from the back of your fridge that you swore up and down you’d make a salad out of a month ago to your new home? We’re hoping you’re shaking your head no. So treat your new GA4 property in the same way and clean up your events!
While UA accounts will eventually disappear, there is still time to configure your migration. To help marketers currently using UA, Google has offered an automatic migration to allow current accounts to maintain data continuity. However, it’s not a perfect science, and Google even recommends that you configure your GA4 account manually.
Opt Out of Automatic Migration
To ensure that you can maintain a continuous level of measurement prior to the July 1st deadline, Google has been automatically opting IN all accounts by default to be automatically migrated to GA4. This would copy over applicable Universal Analytics configurations unless you opt out of this service.
Google themselves strongly recommends not relying on this auto-migration, but rather configuring your GA4 manually. The two primary reasons for this being:
Not all UA configurations have obvious GA4 counterparts
The automated process may not make the same choices you would - causing things to get missed, removed, or no longer be relevant.
If you have already created a GA4 property, the auto-migration will copy over any configurations from UA that you have not marked as ‘completed’ in your GA4 Setup Assistant panel, unless you opt out.
If you opt out, the toggle in UA should be gray to the left. You are opted in if your toggle is blue to the right. If it is gray to the right, that means you do not have the permission to edit this setting.
Important Reminder: Auto Migration is done at the property level. Meaning, if you have multiple properties within your UA Account, you will need to opt OUT of every applicable property you do NOT want migrated.
What if I didn’t opt out in time?
Google has already begun creating these automatic GA4 properties for those that are opted IN. An easy way to tell if this has been done for you is if you see this red header in your GA4 property.
If you want to manually configure your GA4 settings OR Google automatically created a property you did not want to migrate, follow these steps:
1. In your UA property, click Admin (lower left)
2. In the Property (middle) column, click GA4 Setup Assistant.
3. Under Connected Property, click Disconnect
4. Navigate to the GA4 property that was disconnected, click Admin (lower left)
5. Under Property, navigate to Property Settings (second option)
6. Select Move to Trash Can in the upper right
a. Note: you cannot delete this GA4 property if it is still connected to UA. You must disconnect the properties first
b. Also, be sure you are deleting the property not the account.
Do I Still Need to Opt Out if I Already Created a GA4 Account?
This will depend per account. Some accounts will prefer to manually configure all settings - in this case you will still want to opt OUT in UA.
If you are looking for some, but not all configutations to be automatically copied over, you will want to continue to be opted IN and follow these steps:
In your GA4 property, navigate to Admin (lower left)
In the Property (middle) column, click GA4 Setup Assistant. It's the first option.
Mark the configurations that you don’t want copied over as complete
Click the arrow to the right of the configuration
Mark as Complete
Repeat step 3 as necessary for each configuration
If you have created your GA4 account already and want some configurations are auto-migrated, be sure the two accounts are linked. You can do this by
Navigating to the UA property, under Admin > Property Settings > GA4 Setup Assistant
In the I want to connect to an existing Google Analytics 4 property section, select the Google Analytics 4 property that maps to your Universal Analytics property.
Click Connect properties.
All information regarding how this auto-migration process works can be found here. Please note, it is recommended to manually configure your GA4 property.
There’s Still Time to Beat the GA4 Clock - Let’s Get to Work!
When you’re in the middle of navigating the neverending chaos that comes with every digital channel always seeming to update their platforms at once, it can be tough to know the right direction to take. With the timed sunsetting of UA, the urgency only magnifies.
Instead of waiting for the inevitable, take charge of your clients’ data destiny and set them up the right way before July 1. To ensure a smooth transition, you can also ask your partner for help.
For you, we may be that partner.
At Conduit Digital, we serve as the elite white label digital ad operations solution for established and successful local ad agencies in North America. Lean on our team of Google Analytics experts to assist you in navigating to GA4 while also setting up your client’s organic and paid digital campaigns to reach new levels of performance you never thought possible before.
To learn more about how we can assist your agency, schedule a quick call with us today.