If you have a website for your business, you're likely familiar with Google Analytics. It's a powerful tool that can help you understand how your website is performing and make data-driven decisions to enhance it.

Last year, Google announced that it would discontinue Universal Analytics (GA3) on July 1, 2023, urging all users to upgrade to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as soon as possible.

If you don't manually upgrade to GA4 then your current Google Analytics tracking will automatically switch over after July 1, 2023, with default settings. Google also plans to delete all historical universal analytics data in 2023 or early 2024.

Based on our recent experience upgrading clients to GA4, we've identified 10 essential steps to ensure a smooth transition and avoid marketing issues down the line.

While Google's migration guide (https://support.google.com/ana...) and automated migration process are helpful, they don’t cover all the key steps required for a smooth transition to GA4, especially if you are not familiar with Google Analytics.

Below are some of the valuable insights we’ve shared with our existing clients which we think would be beneficial to AGCC members too.

1. Set event data retention to 14 months

Privacy compliance is critical in the digital age, and GA4 introduces many features to help businesses comply with privacy laws like GDPR. However by default, user event data retention is set to only two months, which may limit your ability to compare year-over-year data in advanced reporting areas.

To get the most out of GA4, we recommend increasing the retention period to 14 months, allowing you to analyse long-term trends and make data-driven decisions for your business.

2. Add Google Analytics tag to your website with Google Tag Manager (GTM)

One of the best features of Google Tag Manager (GTM) is that it simplifies the process of tracking website events. With GTM, you can add tracking codes or tags to your website without having to manually edit the website's code.

This saves you time and hassle, especially if you're not a coding expert. With GTM, you can easily implement more advanced GA4 event tracking, such as tracking form submissions, clicks on specific buttons, and video views.

3. Goals migrated to conversion events

If you're familiar with Universal Analytics (GA3), you may be used to the concept of Goals. However, GA4 doesn't have Goals anymore. Instead, every goal you have set up in GA3 needs to be converted into an event in order to continue tracking.

A goal in Google Analytics is a specific action that you want users to take on your website, such as making a lead, submitting a form or clicking on a button to make a phone call.

In GA4, you can easily mark any logged event as a conversion, allowing you to track and measure the success of your business goals.

4. Activate Google Signals

Google Signals is a feature that allows Google to collect data on visitors who are both signed into their Google Account (e.g. Gmail) on a website and have turned on Ad Personalisation for their accounts.

Enabling Signals in GA4 can provide you with valuable insights into user behaviour on your website, including their device, location, and referral source. This information can help you optimise the user journey, improve the user experience, and track additional conversion events beyond pageviews and basic events. Signals can also improve the accuracy and completeness of your data by collecting additional data points and filling gaps in your data.

5. Connect to Google Search Console (GSC)

Connecting GA4 to Google Search Console (GSC) can provide valuable insights into how your website is performing in search results. This integration allows you to view which search queries are driving traffic to your site, as well as how your website ranks for those queries and which pages are getting the most clicks.

With this information, you can optimise your website's content and improve your search engine rankings, resulting in more traffic and potential conversions.

6 Add new conversions events to Google Ads

Integrating conversion events in GA4 with your Google Ads platform can enhance your advertising efforts by providing you with improved attribution, optimised campaigns, and deeper insights into user behaviour. You can customise your reports by combining data from both sources to gain a better understanding of your advertising performance. This integration can also help you identify which ads are driving conversions, allowing you to make informed decisions and optimise your campaigns accordingly.

7. Goodbye bounce rate: understand there is no concept of bounce rate in GA4

GA4 reporting view provides a new set of engagement metrics that can track users’ engagement with your website much more accurately than the pageviews and bounce rate metrics used by GA3, a metric commonly reported on by marketing teams.

Examples of GA4 engagement metrics:

  • Engaged sessions
  • Engagement rate
  • Engaged sessions per user
  • Average engagement time

8. Review your website privacy policy

It's important to review and update your website's privacy policy in light of the changing landscape of tracking website visitors. This is especially relevant for larger companies and is a task that should involve legal professionals. Ensuring that your privacy policy is up-to-date and accurate can help protect your business and establish trust with your website visitors.

9. Familiarise yourself with the Reports tool and hide non-relevant reports

At first glance, the GA4 reporting view may look intimidating as many of the reports and metrics you have been familiar with have either been removed or replaced.

Businesses should not expect to see the same reports that were available in GA3 since GA4 is based on a different measurement model.

You are going to see different sets of reports in your GA4 view, and you are not going to see many because reports are only generated when you start tracking events.

By default, Monetisation is shown as a report, and unless your website is e-commerce, this can be removed in the Library section by editing the life cycle collection and deleting this field.

Each GA4 report is far more customisable than in GA3 and provides more advancedanalysis tools that allow you to gain deeper insights into user behaviour on your website.

10. Get Mission10 to upgrade GA4 for you

At Mission10, we have extensive experience in GA4 migration, having completed more than 25 transfers for our clients. Therefore, we would like to offer a free GA4 migration to AGCC members.

Our team of experts can guide you through the process to ensure a seamless transition to the new platform and help you leverage GA4's advanced analysis tools and user-centric approach to analytics.

To find out more visit and enter your website URL: https://mission10.co.uk/analyt...