System Integration

Google Analytics 4 Migration Guide: Step-by-Step Process for Seamless Tracking


December 23, 2023
 min read
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Google Analytics 4 Migration Step-by-Step Guide

Migrating your website analytics to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) can unlock powerful new insights into user behavior. But how do you actually move from Universal Analytics without disrupting your tracking? This comprehensive GA4 migration guide provides website owners and analysts a step-by-step process for smooth and seamless tracking.

Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4

Introduction to Key Differences Between Universal Analytics and GA4

Before jumping into migration steps, let's overview some critical distinctions between Universal Analytics vs GA4:

Google Analytics 4:

  • Event-based model - focuses on granular user actions
  • Auto-tracking of interactions like clicks and scrolling
  • Cross-device tracking with User ID

Universal Analytics:

  • Pageview and session-focused
  • Requires manual event configuration
  • Limited to session-based data

These differences demonstrate why upgrading to GA4 is worthwhile for unlocking richer insights and improve marketing strategy.

Here's what you can find in GA4 that's carried over from Universal Analytics

  1. Basic Tracking and Reporting: Just like Universal Analytics, GA4 still tracks and reports on essential metrics such as page views, sessions, and users. These metrics provide fundamental insights into user engagement and traffic patterns on websites and apps.
  2. Traffic Sources: GA4 continues to show you where your traffic is coming from, including sources like organic search, direct traffic, referrals, and paid campaigns. This helps you understand how users are finding your website.
  3. Geographic and Demographic Data: You can still access and collect data about the geographic locations of your users. Their demographic information such as age and gender is also collected. This data is valuable for understanding your audience's characteristics.
  4. User Flow and Behavior Reports: GA4 maintains the ability to visualise user flow through your website. Google Analytics reports provide visualisation to see the paths users take, where they drop off, and how they move from one page to another.
  5. Goals and Conversions: While the concept of goals has evolved into events in GA4, you can still set up conversions and track them. GA4 provides flexible event tracking that can be used to measure conversions similar to how goals were used in Universal Analytics.
  6. Custom Dimensions and Metrics: Like Universal Analytics, GA4 allows you to define custom dimensions and metrics. These help you segment and analyse your data in a way that's specific to your business goals.
  7. Ecommerce Tracking: GA4 maintains the ability to track e-commerce data, such as product views, add-to-carts, and purchases. However, the implementation may be different due to GA4's event-based model.
  8. User ID and Cross-Device Tracking: GA4 continues to support user ID tracking, which enables cross-device tracking and a more holistic view of user behaviour across sessions and devices.

Step-by-step process of migrating to GA4

Step 1: Review Current Universal Analytics Setup

Carefully examine existing goals, events, custom dimensions, tracking code, and other configurations in Universal Analytics. Document all specifications to inform migration.

  • Document current analytics tracking code implementation
  • Note down script locations like header or body
  • Identify measurement ID being used
  • Document any goals configured
  • List out all goal names, steps and value settings
  • Identify any implemented custom dimensions or metrics
  • Catalog parameter names and scope (hit, user, product level)

Step 2: Create New GA4 Property and Enable Auto-Tracking

In the Google Analytics admin:

 A screenshot to show how to set up Google Analytics 4 Properties
  • Sign in to Google Analytics account
  • Click Admin and select your account
  • Click "+ Create Property"
  • Name new property appropriately
  • Select "Website" as data source
  • Check box to enable Enhanced Measurement
  • Generate a new GA4 measurement ID
  • Create Property for "website" and enable Enhanced Measurement for automatic event tracking

This activates automatic event collection - no more coding every scroll, click and tap!

Step 3: Add Updated GA4 Tracking Code

Copy over the new unique GA4 measurement ID by replacing your current Analytics tracking code on every single page of your website templates with the updated script. Add before the </head> tag.

 Install the Google analytics 4 tracking code on your website
  • Copy new GA4 measurement ID
  • Replace old ID with new one in tracking code
  • Ensure tracking code loads before </head> tag
  • Test preview site to confirm new code loads

Step 4: Migrate Custom Events to GA4 Parameters

Check your existing event tracking implementation for things like newsletter signups, downloads, etc. Update the code syntax to match the new Google Analytics 4 parameters and data model while preserving the original event actions.

 Install the Google analytics 4 tracking code on your website
  • Review implementations for newsletter signups
  • Review implementations for file downloads
  • Review implementations for key site interactions
  • Update event name parameters to match GA4 syntax
  • Preserve original tracked actions/labels
  • Test events on preview site to confirm tracking

Step 5: Reconfigure Custom Dimensions & Metrics

Reproduce custom dimensions and metrics from Universal Analytics in GA4 using correct parameters.

Update your tracking code to send custom metrics to the new Google Analytics 4 property
  • Access GA4 property parameters
  • Recreate each custom dimension needed
  • Recreate each custom metric needed
  • Use proper GA4 syntax and prefixes
  • Map values to parameters (product, user level)

Step 6: Set Up Conversions and Goals as Events

Convert existing goals into appropriate GA4 events using tracking code triggers. Monitor using Realtime reports.

Identify, set up and ensure the tracking code is correct
  • Document important goals from UA property
  • Determine appropriate event triggers for each
  • Enable conversion marking for named events
  • Test goal completion on preview site

Step 7: Get more out of GA4 with Google Search Console

Linking GA4 and Search Console combines search analytics with behavioural insights for optimisation.

By connecting Google Analytics 4 with Google Search Console, you bridge the gap between how users find your site and how they interact with it. The insights gained enable data-driven decisions that enhance your content, improve user experience, and drive conversions. This integration empowers you to fine-tune your digital strategy for maximum impact.

Connect Google Analytics 4 and Google Search Console
  1. Unified Data View: By linking GA4 with Search Console, you can see both organic search data and user behaviour on your website in one place. This comprehensive view helps you connect the dots between user engagement and search performance.
  2. Enhanced Organic Search Insights: Access detailed information about search queries that drive traffic to your site. Understand which keywords users are searching for and how they relate to user behaviour on your site.
  3. Landing Page Performance: See which landing pages are receiving the most organic search traffic and how users are interacting with them. This insight can guide you in optimising these pages for better user engagement and conversions.
  4. Click-Through Rate Analysis: Analyse the click-through rates (CTR) for different search queries. If you notice high impressions but low CTR for specific keywords, you can work on improving your page titles and meta descriptions.
  5. Content Optimization: Identify the most popular landing pages from organic search. Use this data to understand what content attracts users from search engines and tailor your content strategy accordingly.
  6. User Behaviour Post-Click: GA4 provides insights into user behaviour after they click through search results. You can understand how long they stay, which pages they visit, and whether they convert.
  7. Conversion Insights: Linking goals or events from GA4 to Search Console data allows you to see which search queries are driving conversions. This insight can help you focus on high-converting keywords.
  8. User Demographics and Behavior: GA4's enhanced user-centric model paired with Search Console data can give you insights into the demographics and interests of users who are finding your site through search.
  9. Identify Opportunities: Discover search queries that are generating high impressions but relatively low clicks. This could highlight opportunities to improve your content and meta descriptions to attract more clicks.

Step 8: Update your reporting and analysis

Update Googke Analytics 4 reporting and analysis

Google Analytics 4 Audiences Migration Guide

When transitioning your audience from the Universal Analytics property to the Google Analytics 4 property, you can pinpoint identical user groups using your Google Analytics 4 data. Subsequently, you can export these audiences to your linked Google Ads accounts to cater to similar scenarios.

Step 1: Import UA Users into Sheet

  • Open your Google Sheet and activate the GA4 Migrator add-on
  • Select your Universal Analytics Account from the dropdown
  • Choose the UA Property to pull users from
  • Click "Import Users from Analytics"
  • Wait for import to fully complete

Step 2: Consolidate Roles for Each User

  • Review permissions for each imported UA user
  • If multiple roles are checked, select the highest role needed
  • Alternatively, remove less critical role access to generalize
  • Ensure only one role remains checked per user

Step 3: Select Target GA4 Property

  • Choose your Google Analytics 4 Property from the dropdown
  • Double check it's the correct property to migrate users into

Step 4: Export Users to GA4

  • Once all users show just one role each, click "Migrate"
  • Confirm you want to apply configured user permissions
  • Wait for export process to fully complete

Step 5: Validate in GA4

  • Go to the GA4 Property Users page
  • Verify imported users and assigned roles
  • Check user group memberships if applicable


  • If errors, confirm UA and GA4 role selections
  • Try exporting a partial list of users
  • Leverage GA4 user management tools for additional changes

The best bet is to get an expert on board!

Don't worry anymore! Let the experts at Devhaus setup Google Analytics 4 and migration seamlessly. Our engineers in Devhaus are GA4 certified and we've done it for all business types.

Devhaus is a digital transformation agency that helps our customers stay center stage in their markets with the latest technology trends. Our team combines years of expertise, industry-leading applied technologies, and a crystal clear vision of where we are headed tomorrow. No matter what challenge your organization faces, we have the right solution — today.

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