ga4 migration checklist

GA4 Migration Checklist

Are you ready for the GA4 takeover?

If you're reading this checklist, you probably already have a GA4 account up and running or are just gathering the strength to upgrade. No matter your account's status, we've created a checklist to help you review your GA4 to ensure everything is set and ready for July 1st, when standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data.

1. Accounts Settings

When upgrading from Universal Analytics, it's easy to miss a few settings during the set-up, as most users assume the GA4 move is as quick as clicking the Get Started button and adding the tag to the website.

ga4 setup assistant

Make sure your GA4 is tracking.
This might seem obvious, but it will only take a minute to ensure your GA4 tag is correctly implemented and that you're using the correct property.

Review that all your account settings were copied during the migration from UA to GA4.
There are lots of settings that are ignored during the move to GA4. You'll find most of them inside the Data Stream settings under Show All in the Configure Google Tag settings:

  • List unwanted referrals - add a list of domains whose traffic shouldn't be considered referrals.
  • Set up cross-domain tracking - add a list of domains that use the same GA4 tag.
  • Exclude internal traffic - define IP addresses whose traffic should be marked as internal.
  • Avoid the Collect Universal Analytics Events setting - Start fresh in GA4 and avoid polluting your new account with old and irrelevant UA events.

Accept the Google Signals Data Collection to enable Demographics data collection.
This setting is also used for ad personalisation. Ensure your website follows privacy laws and asks for consent to track before you enable this setting.

Update your Data Retention.
As a default, Google will set your data retention to 2 months, so you'll have to manually change it to 14 months.

Review the Attribution Settings work for your specific goals.
Inside settings, go to Attribution Settings, where you can update your attribution model and acquisition window. GA4 will use data-driven as the attribution model as a default, while Universal Analytics used last non-direct attribution as a default.

Make sure all of your accounts are linked to GA4.
This includes Google Ads, Merchant Center and Search Console, among others.

2. Event tracking

Some of us are used to UA's effortless and intuitive goal tracking, but GA4 takes a bit more effort. These are the main things to keep in mind:

Determine which key events you want to track.
Most Universal Analytics accounts have event tracking for events that haven't fired in the last two years or aren't relevant anymore. Moving to GA4 can be a great opportunity to tidy up your event tracking. Do you really need 20 conversion goals? Instead, make a list of your key events and focus on setting them up.

Determine which parameters you want to track for each event and add them to your custom dimensions.
Custom dimensions are the extra information we can collect from an event. You can set up any parameter you want to follow.

Is your e-commerce tracking really working?
E-commerce implementation for GA4 is a whole other world, and we've seen every possible issue with our clients, even accounts where everything seemed to be working, value tracking was an issue. The most common mistake we've seen is not adding a parameter for Currency during the set-up on Google Tag Manager.

Check all of your key events are marked as goals and imported to Google Ads.
Similar to the old Universal Analytics, select which events to turn into goals, and they'll be available to import to Google Ads.

3. Google Ads

Besides linking both accounts, you’ll have to update anything that uses UA (conversion, audiences, etc) to GA4.

Set up new audience tracking.
Like events, audiences won't be copied to GA4 during the migration. You can replicate your key UA audiences or test new formats. You'll find audience templates relevant to your industry.

Switching UA conversions to Secondary priority and moving GA4 events to Primary.
Google recommends leaving the GA4 conversion events as secondary for 15 days after importing them to check their performance against the same UA events. Google says up to 20% discrepancy between the same events is expected.
Once you're happy with your GA4 conversion events, move them to Primary.

Make sure Google Ads is using the new GA4 conversions to optimise your campaigns.
Related to the previous point, if you're using campaign-specific goals, ensure you've switched them to GA4.

Add all of the relevant remarketing GA4 audiences to your campaigns.
Soon your UA remarketing audiences will stop collecting data, remember to import your GA4 audiences to your relevant campaigns to start running alongside the old audiences. Google can identify the same audience in UA and GA4, so you can run both together.

Extra tip
Replicate your main goals (ecommerce, main lead enquiries) as a Google Ads Tag.
Google Ads Tag is usually more accurate than analytics goal tracking. It also keeps you from losing data during the UA to GA4 switch since GAds Tag conversions will continue running without being affected. We recommend having at least your main goal as a GAds Tag.

4. Reporting

This is where things get more complicated. If you use Looker Studio to report on your GA4 data, you may have noticed some Quota Errors when adding multiple elements to your report. This is because Google has limited the number of data requests allowed via the GA4 data connector.

If your report is small or doesn't contain much GA4 data, you should be fine, but if you're data-obsessed like us, this limit might affect your daily reporting life. More info here.

Refresh your LookerStudio data to GA4 and remove redundant elements.
Our way around the daily and hourly data limits is to only use essential GA4 data, removing old filters and redundant tables and charts. We’re also using GAds Tag data for main event conversions.

So there you have it, a complete checklist of everything you need to ensure you're ready for July 1st. We hope you find this list helpful. In the past year, we've used it to help move all our client accounts to GA4.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about GA4 or need advice on switching over the accounts. Good luck!

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