Blog  /  06.09.2023

Making the Switch to GA4

UA vs. GA4: What’s the Difference?

In 2012, Google updated its website analytics platform to what we now know as Universal Analytics. When introduced, it offered organizations unprecedented abilities to accurately measure data from their website users; websites now had tools to attribute behaviors to individual users and track how those users interact with the site. Google determined in 2020 that another critical update was necessary and launched GA4, and they’re now sundowning the older version.


This time, Google’s update to GA4 is centered on consumers’ privacy concerns: Google has committed to phase out third-party cookies throughout its products, and GA4 does not track them. Many organizations have continued using their old UA platforms since GA4’s launch, but there’s now a hard deadline to migrate over to the new GA4. On July 1, UA will stop collecting data, and at the end of 2023, all historic data will be removed. In order to have all of your site’s years of web analytics, plus current and future site data integrated in one place, it’s time to make the jump.


Google innovated not only to protect privacy—GA4 also provides organizations with updated intelligent data collection and new reporting features, including:

  • Ability to measure app and web interactions together
  • User-friendly ways to track and draw insights from visitors’ behaviors
  • Integration with Google Ads
  • Identification of conversion paths from advertising
  • Notifications when trends are identified in your data


The update makes tracking various user interactions on your website easier, without custom event tracking needed. In UA, page views were automatically captured, but special perimeters needed to be set up in Google Tag Manager to track any additional activities that a user took on a site. GA4 has Enhanced Event Measurement, which captures scrolls, outbound clicks, site searches, form interactions, video engagements, and file downloads.


Here are the steps to follow to make the switch and ensure a seamless transition:

  1. Set up a new GA4 property and import your UA data.
    For a guided setup, marketers can use the GA4 Setup Assistant Wizard. This process automates some of the steps and walks you through the selection of features that you would like tracked in your new platform. Within the process, Google will set up a connected site tag that will reuse the existing tagging used in your UA property, in the new GA4 property.
  2. Migrate Google Ads, users, goals, and audiences.
    These Google migration tools show you where to add your current UA and Google Ads account and user info for integration. If you have custom goals and audiences built in UA, you can transfer those to GA4, too..
  3. Back up your UA data.
    It is recommended that all UA data be exported, as the data in the UA format will no longer be available after 2023. This historical data will be accessible within GA4.

You’ll find that even in the new world of GA4, many of the elements are the same, and other elements you never used have gone away. It’s kind of like driving a car with a keyless start for the first time: weird at first, but ultimately easier to get in and out of.


Here are some of our favorite resources for users new to GA4:

Getting Started with GA4: These 4 Tips Will Get You Up and Running

An In-Depth Guide to Google Analytics 4

GA4 Video Tutorials by Google

more insights


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