Transferring a Single Website from Universal Analytics to GA4

Author's avatar Analytics Feb 8, 2023 4 minutes read

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    Peter Caputa

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    We know that for some of you just thinking about transferring to Google Analytics 4 creates a headache. And while the process itself might not be as painful, getting used to new GA4 metrics and the lack of historical data can be scary.

    But, alas, there is no way around it if you have decided to stay with Google Analytics and not switch to some other available options like Matomo

    In order to help you get started we have written A Step By Step Guide to GA4 Migration, but what we also want to do is migrate a website together, that way when you start you will know what each step is like and there will be no surprises.

    So let’s start. 

    Taking the First Step Towards GA4

    If the message on top of your screen looks familiar, it is time to hit the Let’s go button and start the transfer. 

    Don’t worry, we are right there with you!

    Google offers the following list of steps – 

    This looks a bit overwhelming, we know, but luckily, we can follow the setup process step by step to ensure that we get everything right. 

    So, Step One – Consider the account structure – in this case, we are skipping it since we are using this on a single website. 

    Ok, we have clicked let’s go and are moved to Step Two – Creating a GA4 property. 

    In this case, we want to create a new GA4 property, so we will click on the Get Started Button – 

    The first thing you see is the following popup window –

    That explains in detail what the setup assistant will do – 

    • Create a GA4 property. This will keep your original Universal Analytics property unchanged.
    • Copy basic settings from your UA property. You can then configure additional settings in your GA4 property as needed.
    • Turn on enhanced measurement to measure interactions with your content. You must ensure that no personally identifiable information will be sent to Google.
    • Collect data in your new property using your existing site tag.

    So here we will go forward and just click on the Create and Continue button. 

    Yay us! We have now successfully created our GA4 property. That was a bit stressful, but so far so good. 

    Now we get to a more tricky part—it is time to set up all the necessary features to ensure a high-quality data analysis. This is required if the GA4 Setup Assistant couldn’t reuse your tags. And that is exactly what happened in our case. 

    So now we will go in one by one and do the setup. This part is unique for each user and depends on your personal needs and requirements. For now, as we are just demonstrating the process itself,  we will just accept everything and revisit it later. 

    This might seem easy as we are talking about just one website with minimal properties.

    Our next step is to jump into Databox and connect GA4 to start pulling data.  

    Connecting Google Analytics 4 in Databox 

    The procedure is rather simple, just navigate to the Data Manager within the Databox app, click +New Connection,  and choose the Google Analytics 4 Integration.

    After you have connected the Integration, all that is left is to pull data, create custom metrics, and build reports. 

    Keep in mind that some of the metrics differ in Google Analytics 4 in comparison to Universal Analytics. The Universal Analytics version focuses on sessions and pageviews because it’s based on tracking the cookie data around these two. In Google Analytics 4, the model tracks and processes events instead of sessions and pageviews.

    This is why you’ll see these three new metrics once you shift to GA4:

    • Engaged session – Only counts sessions that lasted longer than 10 seconds, had 2 or more pageviews, or recorded a conversion.
    • Average engagement time per session – The amount of time a single user engages with a specific page (only when it’s being viewed on the screen).
    • Engagement rate – Engaged sessions divided by total sessions.

    These metrics cannot be found in UA and they’ve replaced the old standards like average session duration, pages/sessions, and bounce rate.

    Maybe the biggest change for users, especially in the marketing branch, is the loss of a bounce rate metric.

    You can discover more about the changes in Metrics and Dimensions in our Google Analytics 4 Metrics Tutorial.

    Streamline GA4 Reporting with Databox

    If you have already switched to GA4, but are still having trouble juggling around different reports to categorize the important metrics and analyze them, you can check out our pre-built GA4 dashboard templates.

    These templates can help you get a better overview of your crucial GA4 metrics and combine them all in one screen, making the analysis process much easier and simplifying data presentation.

    Furthermore, if you need help in making sense of your performance data, we have a free GA4 setup service that you can try out.

    You can contact our team, explain what information you need in the dashboard, and our team will deliver it within 24 hours.

    All of this is a few clicks away once you sign up for a free trial.

    Author's avatar
    Article by
    Marija Hladni

    Senior Marketing Strategist at Databox

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