Ultimate GA4 Migration Checklist: Transitioning from Universal Analytics

Google Analytics 4
Rafael Campoamor
March 11, 2024
Ultimate GA4 Migration Checklist: Transitioning from Universal Analytics

The GA4 migration represents a crucial analytics transition, marking a significant update in our approach to data analysis, emphasizing the need for professionals to adapt to new data analysis capabilities. This crucial phase of the analytics transition, known as GA4 migration, introduces advanced features for deeper insights into user behavior and improved data integration. Understanding and implementing these changes is critical for staying competitive in a data-driven environment.

To assist in this analytics transition, we have developed a detailed GA4 migration checklist. This resource streamlines the migration process, ensuring that data analysts can efficiently move to Google Analytics 4 without missing critical steps. The checklist covers essential migration activities, from setting up new properties to understanding Google Analytics 4 data model and reporting capabilities.

Additionally, we recommend familiarizing yourself with foundational Google Analytics 4 concepts through our Comprehensive Guide for Data Analysts, Mastering GA4, and our Step-by-Step GA4 Beginner’s Guide. These resources are essential for anyone looking to build a solid understanding of Google Analytics 4, offering guidance on setup, configuration, and utilization of Google Analytics 4’s features.

You can use this guide to begin the GA4 migration process. It is structured to provide a straightforward, actionable path through the migration process, equipping data analysts with the knowledge needed for a successful transition to Google Analytics 4.

Table of Contents

Understanding GA4 Migration

Comparative infographic displaying the differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics in terms of privacy controls, AI insights, and cross-platform tracking, with contrasting icons for enhanced clarity.

The analytics transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 marks a pivotal moment in the domain, signifying more than just a change in tools—it heralds a new era of data analysis. Analysts seeking to harness the latest in data collection, analysis, and reporting capabilities during their analytics transition will find this GA4 migration checklist integral. It's about ensuring your analytics practices, through this analytics transition, stay at the forefront of an ever-changing digital environment. 

Why Migrate to GA4?

The driving force for shifting to Google Analytics 4 from Universal Analytics lies in the robust, future-proof architecture of Google Analytics 4. Unlike its predecessor, Google Analytics 4 is designed from the ground up to cater to a cross-platform digital environment, offering a more comprehensive understanding of the customer journey. Not only is this transition beneficial, but it also becomes increasingly necessary as the digital analytics landscape shifts. For a more in-depth understanding of the differences and why this migration is crucial, our upcoming post, “GA4 vs. Universal Analytics: What’s Different?” will offer detailed insights.

Key Differences and Benefits 

Google Analytics 4 sets itself apart with several key innovations. It introduces an event-driven data model that offers flexibility in tracking user interactions across websites and apps. This model facilitates a deeper understanding of user behavior, enabling analysts to gather insights that were previously difficult or impossible to obtain. Google Analytics 4 also advances notably with enhanced privacy features and AI-driven insights, ensuring your analytics practices are not only compliant with current privacy regulations but also more predictive and insightful. The intricacies of these differences, along with their benefits, will be covered extensively in our forthcoming piece, providing a comprehensive comparison.

Embracing GA4 migration is a strategic move for data analysts aiming to stay ahead in the analytics game. This transition not only prepares you for the future of digital analytics but also equips you with the tools and insights needed to drive strategic decisions. As we continue to explore the capabilities and advantages of Google Analytics 4 in our series, we invite you to join us on this journey, ensuring you’re well-informed and ready to master Google Analytics 4 to its full potential.

Migration Steps

Step-by-step guide infographic illustrating five key steps for GA4 migration, including conducting a UA audit, setting up GA4 property, and configuring data streams, conversion tracking, and verification process.

Adopting the GA4 migration involves more than just changing platforms; it's a calculated move in the analytics transition to fully unlock your data analytics prowess. This segment aims to outline the crucial steps in the GA4 migration process, ensuring a seamless transition while maintaining data integrity and continuity.

Preparing for Migration

  1. Audit Your Current Universal Analytics Setup: Begin by thoroughly reviewing your existing Universal Analytics configuration. Identify all tracking codes, tagged events, and custom dimensions or metrics. This audit will highlight what needs to be replicated or reconfigured in Google Analytics 4, ensuring no critical data is lost during the transition.
  2. Understand Google Analytics 4’s Data Model: Google Analytics 4 introduces a new, event-driven data model that differs significantly from the session-based model of Universal Analytics. Familiarize yourself with this model by exploring resources like Google’s official documentation, which offers insights into how data is collected, processed, and reported in Google Analytics 4. Understanding these differences is key to leveraging Google Analytics 4's advanced capabilities.

Setting Up Your GA4 Property

The GA4 migration checklist starts with setting up a new property, an essential step in your analytics transition. This process includes creating the property, configuring data streams, and setting up data collection. Refer to our step-by-step beginner's guide for Setting Up Google Analytics 4 for a detailed walkthrough of each step. This guide gives you all the information you need to set up and run your GA4 property.

Import and Historical Data Considerations

Maintaining data continuity is crucial during the migration. While direct import of historical data from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 is not possible, strategies such as parallel tracking and using BigQuery for Universal Analytics data can help preserve historical insights. You must plan how to bridge the gap between old and new data sets for a smooth transition.

The transition to Google Analytics 4 is an opportunity to enhance your analytics practices. By carefully auditing your current setup, understanding Google Analytics 4's data model, and setting up your new GA4 property with future data needs in mind, you'll be well-positioned to make the most of what Google Analytics 4 offers. Stay tuned for our detailed guide on setting up your GA4 property, which will complement this checklist, ensuring you have a comprehensive roadmap for your GA4 migration journey.

Data Considerations in GA4

A successful GA4 migration, pivotal in the analytics transition as outlined in our checklist, requires a comprehensive understanding of GA4's data handling capabilities. In the context of the analytics transition, this section covers crucial topics like event tracking, conversion setup, and GA4's customizable reporting options, providing data analysts with the knowledge needed to effectively use this platform.

Event Tracking in GA4

The analytics transition to Google Analytics 4 introduces significant changes in event tracking, a key point in our GA4 migration checklist. You can collect a broader and more flexible range of user interactions in Google Analytics 4 with less dependency on manual tagging. This streamlined approach makes collecting data on user behavior simpler and more comprehensive. Adapting to GA4’s event tracking involves reevaluating which user actions are most relevant to your analytics goals and how they are captured.

Conversion Setup and Measurement

Conversion tracking in GA4 is notably more flexible than in its predecessor. With Google Analytics 4, any event can be designated as a conversion, simplifying the process of identifying key user actions. You need a strategic approach to define conversions, focusing on selecting events that accurately represent valuable interactions. Properly configured conversions are essential for gaining insights into user behavior and the effectiveness of your online presence.

Custom Reports and Dashboard Setup

Google Analytics 4 offers enhanced customization for reports and dashboards, allowing analysts to create tailored views of their data. This flexibility ensures that you can focus on the metrics that are most relevant to your needs, facilitating better decision-making. While Google Analytics 4 provides powerful tools for customization, maximizing the platform's analytical potential hinges on your understanding of how to best use these features. 

Concluding this section, it's clear that Google Analytics 4 brings advanced data considerations that require a new analytical approach. By familiarizing yourself with GA4's event tracking, conversion measurement, and customizable reporting, you'll be well-prepared to extract valuable insights and make informed decisions. This knowledge base will be crucial as you explore the broader capabilities of Google Analytics 4 for your analytics strategy.

Post-Migration Checklist

Checklist infographic for post-migration success in GA4, ensuring property setup verification, event tracking testing, conversion action review, data integrity validation, and team training insights sharing.

After completing the analytics transition to GA4, our post-migration checklist ensures everything is set up correctly and functioning as expected and functioning as expected. This post-migration checklist helps you confirm the success of your GA4 migration, optimizing the performance and accuracy of your data analytics processes.

Verification and Testing 

  1. Verify Property Setup: First, check that your GA4 property is correctly configured. This includes ensuring that your data streams are accurately linked and that user permissions are set up according to your team's needs. An accurate setup is foundational to reliable data collection and analysis.
  2. Test Event Tracking: Next, conduct thorough testing of event tracking within your GA4 property. This involves verifying that all intended user interactions are being captured and reported correctly. Testing can reveal if any adjustments are needed to capture the full range of user actions relevant to your analysis.

Training and Adaptation

Dedicating time to learn and adapt is crucial, as our GA4 migration checklist shows, to fully utilize Google Analytics 4 new features and abilities. Familiarizing yourself and your team with Google Analytics 4’s interface and features will pay dividends in efficiency and insights. By exploring our guides like “Mastering GA4”, you can gain in-depth knowledge and master GA4's full potential.


Successfully completing the GA4 migration, a key phase in the analytics transition as guided by our comprehensive checklist, is about more than moving data; it's about setting up your analytics for future success. Data analysts looking to master the latest analytics technology will find this transition critical, as it ensures access to the necessary tools and insights for data-driven decision-making. We encourage you to dive deeper into GA4's capabilities through our guides, “All you Need to Know Before Switching to GA4”, “Setting Up GA4: Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide” and “Mastering GA4”, which are designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of GA4. Or, if you’re wondering how Trackingplan can help you on your migration, we got you covered!

Your journey with Google Analytics 4 is just beginning, and these resources will ensure you're well-equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities this powerful tool presents.

Stay curious, keep exploring, and embrace the transformative power of Google Analytics 4 in your analytics transition. The future of data is unfolding—make it a pivotal part of your strategic toolkit.

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