Transitioning to GA4

Blake Hampson

On July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data. To start preparing for the transition to GA4, here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Review the differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics: Familiarise yourself with the new features and differences between the existing Universal Analytics and GA4 (see table below).
  2. Create a new GA4 property (or make sure you have access to the one created by Google automatically) alongside your existing Universal Analytics property. Start collecting data in GA4 and get familiar with the new platform.
  3. Set up data streams: Set up data streams to send data to your GA4 property. We can use existing integrations or custom implementations to send data to GA4.
  4. Set up events: We can start tracking events in GA4 by setting up event tracking for key actions on your website to help us understand how users interact with content.
  5. Review existing reports: You should review existing reports in Universal Analytics to identify which reports you want to carry to GA4. Some reports may not be available in GA4, so you may need to adjust your reporting strategy.
  6. Train your team and stakeholders: Understand the differences of GA4 and the new features and capabilities for measurement.
  7. Plan for migration: As noted above, this may involve adjusting your tracking strategy and/or re-evaluating your metrics to take advantage of the new features in GA4.

Main differences between UA and GA4

The following table sets out the key differences between Universal Analytics and GA4

FeatureUniversal AnalyticsGA4
Data ModelUses a session-based data modelUses a user centric and event-based data model
User IdentificationUses client ID, user ID, and third-party cookies to track usersUses first-party cookies, unique user IDs, and enhanced measurement to track users
Event TrackingLimited to predefined events and custom events with specific parametersAllows for more flexible event tracking with customisable parameters
Ecommerce TrackingUses a separate ecommerce tracking codeIncludes ecommerce tracking as a standard feature
Cross-Device TrackingLimited ability to track users across devicesIncludes cross-device tracking as a standard feature
Data AnalysisRequires additional tools such as Google Analytics custom reports or Google Data StudioIncludes advanced data analysis tools such as machine learning-powered insights and predictive metrics
Data ControlsLimited ability to control data collection and retentionProvides more granular data controls, including data deletion and consent management
IntegrationsIntegrates with third-party tools and platforms such as Google Ads and Google Search ConsoleIntegrates with a wider range of Google Marketing Platform tools, as well as some third-party platforms
Future-ProofingOn July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data.Designed to provide a more future-proof solution to web and app analytics
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