The migration deadline from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is right around the corner, and as we prepare for its imminency, an important step to consider is whether or not you should link GA4 to your existing UA property.
When you try to access your GA4 reports, you may be greeted by a pop-up that asks you if you want to connect the GA4 property you are accessing to an existing Universal Analytics property.
The popup message (below) states:
If this GA4 property is one that you’re migrating from UA, connect it to your UA property now. This will activate the GA4 Setup Assistant, which can copy your basic UA configuration details to your GA4 property. If you have a UA property that isn’t connected to GA4, a new property will automatically be created for you.
If you haven’t seen the pop-up, or clicked ‘Skip for now’, the wizard can be accessed by navigating to Admin > Property > GA4 Setup Assistant.
Good to know: You can use the wizard regardless of whether your website pages have a Google Analytics tag (gtag.js or analytics.js), a Google Ads tag (gtag.js), or a Google Tag Manager container.
By using the GA4 ‘Property Setup Assistant’ tool, you are able to:
- Create a new GA4 property.
- Copy the property name and URL as well as other settings from your UA property.
- Activate enhanced measurement* in your GA4 property.
- Create a connection between UA and GA4 properties – allowing you to migrate configurations from UA to GA4.
- Set the GA4 property to receive data from your existing Google tag – if you choose to reuse an existing site tag,of course.
*Enhanced event measurement lets you measure interactions with your content by enabling options (events) in the Google Analytics interface, without the need for code changes.
Good to know: Due to UA and GA4 quantifying activity differently, do not try to apply the data from both properties at the same time – the data won’t match!
Reasons for linking GA4 to your existing UA property…
- Automatically share the settings that you’ve already set up in Universal Analytics.
- Saves time
- Prevents Google from automatically creating, installing and sending data to a new GA4 property on your site through an old tracking code (i.e. duplicate GA4 properties).
The settings and configurations that you can import from your Universal Analytics are:
> Users and permissions
As it allows you to apply your configuration choices that you currently have in your Universal Analytics Property as well as give users access to the GA4 property that already has access to your Universal Analytics Property.
Don’t rely on the automatic migration
We at Click Consult recommend manually migrating your properties, rather than relying on the automatic migration from UA to GA4. This enables full control over your setup.
In addition, if you answer “yes” to the pop-up, you may be giving Google the right to make adjustments to your GA property.
Just for reference (after 01/07/2023)
If you are reading this after July 2023 and didn’t opt out of automatically configured Google Analytics 4 property, you can disconnect and remove the property.
- In your Google Analytics, click Admin.
- Select your Universal Analytics property from the main list of properties on the account.
- In the Property column, click GA4 Setup Assistant.
- Next to “Connected property”, click Disconnect.
- Go to your GA4 property and delete it.