December 1, 2022

John Foster

How long does it take to migrate to GA4?

It’s just a matter of time before Universal Analytics stops collecting data. We have until July 1st, 2023, to switch to Google Analytics 4.

As you can see, this is not a straightforward one-click process, and you’ll need to look for GA4 migration services as soon as possible.

Despite offering much of the same functionality, Google Analytics 4 is a totally new product, with an entirely different interface, metrics available, and data collection methodology.

Even though the date for the official end of Universal Analytics might look far from now, it is really important to start the migration process sooner just to get more accurate data when the date comes.

Migration Period to GA4

So, how long does it take to migrate to GA4?

Well, it depends heavily on the architecture you’ve set up for your site and UA. While your GA4 account will contain the required data just 24 hours after you’ve installed the tag, it doesn’t guarantee that you’re all set. 

Since UA and GA4 have quite a few different metrics and tracking methods, you’ll need to make sure everything is set up correctly.

You may have to wait six to twelve months (or longer) before GA4 becomes your source of truth, even after getting started.

The faster you plan and implement GA4, the longer it will take to reap the full benefits. You may miss out on valuable data if you do not apply tracking and configuration retroactively (for the most part).

GA4 can be used in conjunction with your existing technology roadmap. For example, if you have a software release or a website redesign coming up, GA4 can be implemented as part of the launch process or as soon as it’s completed.

So, in other words, the official transfer of the date takes minutes to install on your website or app. However, the accuracy of your data can take a while. Setting up the GA4 property is easy if you follow all the steps, and starting with the process now, will help you avoid errors when UA becomes a thing of the past.

How to Transfer to GA4

It is imperative that you create your new GA4 properties and launch them as soon as possible.

UA historical data will not be imported into GA4 properties, so your GA4 property will only start tracking traffic data once you create it.

It will be easier for the GA4 property to populate with data the sooner it is created.

The goal is to create your GA4 property (or properties) by July 1, 2022. However, if you miss this deadline, you should create your GA4 property as soon as you can.

Launching a new property involves the following steps:

• Set up the new GA4 property.

• Make sure your site has the new GA4 tracking tag.

If you use Google Tag Manager, you can accomplish this easily. After deployment, verify that traffic data is populating the new property over the next few days.

Determine Which Events Need to be Migrated

Once the account setup is complete, you can move on to the measurement part. The GA4 event model differs substantially from UA, so careful planning is required here.

In order to migrate UA events to GA4, you should identify which UA events are valuable to your business and should be replicated.

Google has introduced a new tool that allows you to migrate events, automatically adjusting them to GA4.

Make Sure Custom Dimensions and Metrics are Set Up Correctly 

The difference between UA and GA4 is important to understand when it comes to custom dimension migration.

It is important to consider the notion of scope, which determines which events are included in a particular dimension.

GA4 has two kinds of custom dimensions: event-scoped and user-scoped. There are four types of scope in UA: Session, Hit, Product, and User.

You should either describe your event or your user in your custom dimension in GA4.

Final Words

So, in order to get accurate measurements and create different metrics that are valuable for your business, the GA4 transfer might take a couple of months. 

Therefore starting with the migration process should be your priority, especially if you track custom metrics on your UA property.