Google Analytics 4 Migration: What You Need to Know

Product & Company News
Jun 29, 2023
Google Analytics 4 Migration: What You Need to Know

On July 1, 2023, Google Analytics will deprecate Universal Analytics (UA) and replace it with Google Analytics 4 (GA4), its latest analytics service. This change will affect marketers and web developers everywhere. Are you currently using Google Analytics? Here’s what you need to know and do before Universal Analytics shuts down.

What is GA4?

Google Analytics 4 - or GA4 abbreviated - is an analytics service to measure traffic and engagement across your websites and apps. Using the GA4 tracking code on your website, you can track anything from pageviews to form submissions, link clicks, time on page, etc. 

GA4 is the latest version of the Google Analytics product. Its predecessor, Universal Analytics, has been widely popular among marketers and web developers, and will now be deprecated starting July 1st, 2023.

GA4 vs Universal Analytics

Although GA4 and UA have the same goal - measuring website traffic and engagement - there are a couple of key differences to keep in mind before making the transition.

  1. GA4 allows app tracking, meaning you can access website and app statistics under the same GA4 property.
  2. GA4 tracks every interaction as an event. Also pageviews, transactions, etc. Although events existed in UA, they will work differently in GA4. This makes it a great time to review and adapt your setup to these new changes.
  3. You can export GA4 data to Google BigQuery for free, as long as your usage stays within the sandbox limits of BigQuery.
  4. GA4 counts sessions in a slightly different way than Universal Analytics, which may lead to lower session count.

For a full overview of all changes, we recommend checking out Google’s support documentation.

Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics

Migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4

If you are currently using Universal Analytics, you will need to migrate to Google Analytics 4 by the end of June 2023 to keep using Google Analytics. Starting July 1, Universal Analytics will no longer capture and store any new website engagement data.

If you want to access historical data in Universal Analytics after July 1, however, you still can. Your processed data in Universal Analytics properties will be accessible for at least six months.

If you haven’t migrated to Google Analytics 4 yet, we recommend doing so as soon as possible. You may want to factor in some time for debugging to make sure your account is properly set up before Universal Analytics fully shuts down.

Luckily, Google has great documentation, and even a GA4 Setup Wizard to guide you through the steps. The most important steps are:

  1. Creating a GA4 property -> you can use your existing GA tag or install a new one
  2. Migrating your goals from Universal Analytics
  3. Review the way your events are set up
  4. Use tag manager debugging to test your new tracking
  5. Remove Universal Analytics from your site

What will happen to my dashboards running on Google Analytics?

Have you built custom dashboards on top of your Google Analytics data? Because GA4 has a completely new underlying data model, that means you will no longer be able to use the Universal Analytics data connectors in your favorite BI tools.

Most BI tools are launching new GA4 data connectors, so you can keep reporting on your website data outside of Google Analytics. And so have we, at Luzmo!

Example of a GA4 dataset in Luzmo

How to update your Luzmo dashboards to Google Analytics 4

We have just released a new Google Analytics connector, which supports GA4 properties. With this connector, you’ll be able to connect your Google Analytics account and import data processed by GA4.

Our legacy Google Analytics connector will still be available for customers who want to run reports on their historical data from Universal Analytics. In the next coming months, we will provide an update on the deprecation of the Universal Analytics connector.

To start reporting on GA4 data, you will need to connect to the new GA4 connector, and create new datasets in Luzmo. This is just as simple as using any data connector in Luzmo. Connect to the web service, select the data you want to import, and drag and drop the data onto your dashboard!

A few tips for your migration:

  • We recommend creating a copy of your existing dashboards to avoid breaking in-production dashboards.
  • If you only recently migrated to GA4, we recommend using both connectors alongside each other for business continuity. You will be able to compare historical data with actual data.
  • If you migrated early on, and your GA4 account has already gathered historical data for a few months, we recommend switching entirely to GA4 at once.
  • If your dataset structure is largely the same, try the replace dataset feature to update your dashboards instantly!

Need help? We’re here!

If you have any questions about your GA4 migration, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our support team. We’re here to help you make a smooth transition!

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