Step by step: How to switch to GA4 and set up tracking
From 1 July 2023, existing Google Analytics accounts set up with Universal Analytics will cease processing data. The Universal Analytics platform is being superseded by Google Analytics 4, or GA4, so you’ll have to switch to the new version in order to access analytics data once July rolls around.
To help make the switchover process that much easier, we’ve put together a simple, step-by-step guide. First, we’ll cover how to make the switch before explaining how to set up tracking and how to link your new Analytics account to Google Ads.
Switching to GA4
Handily, Google has already put together a comprehensive guide on how to switch to GA4. The process works like this:
- First, create a new GA4 property using the GA4 Setup Assistant.
- If the Setup Assistant wasn’t able to reuse your existing tracking tags, you’ll need to set up new ones and add them to your site, much like how you did when first setting up your Universal Analytics account.
- If it’s not already enabled, turn on Google signals.
- Now that you have your account and tracking code ready to go, there are a number of ways to install it. Please note that if you are not sure about any of the below, speaking to the person(s) that set up your website may be useful.
- First head to Admin > Data Streams and click on the data stream you have just made.
- Click on the yellow warning “View Tag Instructions” button.
- This opens up a number of options to choose from, either manually or via plugins depending on your website CMS.
- Installing GA4 manually requires you to copy the tracking code into the <head> section of your website.
- Using a plugin (some get recommended) will make life easier as it will provide detailed instructions for you.
- Once your tracking code is enabled on the site, you can use Google’s own tools to migrate your current conversion goals and users to GA4. Alternatively, you can set these up from scratch if you prefer.
Linking Google Ads to GA4
If you advertise with Google too, linking your Ads account to GA4 is a must. Happily, the process isn’t too complex – and most of your current settings and data can be migrated to the new system using Google’s own migration tools. Here’s how to get started.
- First off, head over to the Google Ads link migration tool to switch your ads to GA4. If you prefer, you can instead set up new Ads links.
- Then, either migrate your current audiences or set up new ones.
- You may also need to validate your conversions, import them into Google Ads for bidding, and add audiences to campaigns or ad groups for remarketing purposes.
With those steps complete, you should be all up and running on GA4! If you’re not already up to speed on the benefits of the new system, you can read our GA4 blog post for a round-up.