System Integration

Google Analytics 4: The Comprehensive Migration Guide - Step-by-Step


September 18, 2023
 min read
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Google Analytics 4 Migration Step-by-Step Guide

Hey data explorer! Get ready to dive into the exciting world of Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

Whether you're a seasoned analytics pro or just starting out on your digital journey, GA4 brings a fresh perspective to understanding user behaviour. It unlocks insights that can supercharge your decision-making process in your next marketing campaign or product optimisation strategy.

Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4

Here's a breakdown of the key differences between Universal Analytics and GA4:

Data Model and Event Focus:

  • Universal Analytics: Universal Analytics primarily uses a session-based data model. It tracks sessions, page views, and events like clicks, form submissions, and transactions.
  • GA4 follows an event-based data model. It's all about keeping track of events tied to user actions, like clicks, scrolls, video views, and more. This makes it really good at capturing a wide range of user interactions in a flexible way.

Enhanced Measurement:

  • Universal Analytics: Enhanced event or data tracking often requires manual configuration. Events beyond pageviews and basic interactions needed custom coding or setup.
  • In GA4, Enhanced Measurement is like a built-in helper. It automatically tracks user action and conversion events on your digital platform such as page views, and scrolls.

User-Centric Tracking:

  • Universal Analytics: It focuses on tracking sessions, making it challenging to trace a user's journey across different sessions or devices.
  • GA4: GA4 introduces the concept of a "user-centric" approach. It uses an anonymous User ID to track users across devices and sessions, providing a more holistic view of user or customer behaviour.

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 your Universal Analytics implementation

  • Take a thorough look at your existing Universal Analytics implementation to understand how it's currently set up.
  • Identify the tracking codes, goals, events, custom dimensions, and any other features or configurations you have in place.

Step 2: Set up Google Analytics 4 property

 A screenshot to show how to set up Google Analytics 4 Properties

Step 3: Install the GA4 tracking code

 Install the Google analytics 4 tracking code on your website

Step 4: Update event tracking

 Install the Google analytics 4 tracking code on your website

Step 5: Set up custom dimensions and metrics

Update your tracking code to send custom metrics to the new Google Analytics 4 property

Step 6: Configure goals and conversions

Identify, set up and ensure the tracking code is correct

Step 7: Verify data collection

  • Navigate to the "Realtime" section in GA4 and verify that your events and conversions are being tracked in real time.
  • Perform a series of test actions on your website to ensure that the data is being collected accurately.

Step 8: Update your reporting and analysis

Update Googke Analytics 4 reporting and analysis

Get more out of GA4 with Google Search Console

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.

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.


What do I get if I engage with Devhaus System Integration services?

Our engineers will be implementing and setting up Google Ecosystem for your business. We will integrate and set up Google Analytics 4 and connect with Google Search Console. The Devhaus team will also configure tags in Google Tag Manager and Looker Studio.

The Event Tracking plan, a glossary of all events that will be implemented on your website, will be implemented as well.

You'll get access to Looker Studio reports with custom dashboards of your website performance. You can view real-time user data insights on a single platform!

How can I contact Devhaus?

Get in touch with our team today and we do a free consultation to better understand your goals and objectives. Book a quick discovery call with our team today to reimagine the way you view performance and insights with the perfect event tracking plan for your GA4 environment, we're sure it can improve business revenue and growth!

Why Devhaus?

Our engineers are certified with multiple certifications. These include and are not limited to Product Analytics, Digital Intelligence Experience, Customer Data Platforms and Google Analytics 4. You know you're in great hands!

You can look at a sample view of our GA4 reports below:

View a sample Google Analytics 4 report
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