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Migrating to GA4: What You Need to Know

In today’s data-driven business landscape, understanding and leveraging user behavior data is crucial for success. Google Analytics has long been a trusted tool for businesses to gain valuable insights into their website and app performance. Recently, Google introduced a new version of Analytics known as Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which brings enhanced features and capabilities.

Beginning July 1, 2023, Google’s standard Universal Analytics (UA) properties will no longer process new data, however, you’ll be able to access your previous standard UA data for historical reporting purposes only for at least six months after the July 1st cutover.

Many of our customers have auto-migrated to GA4 but are facing these questions and concerns:

  • Did the automated GA4 process make the changes necessary to ensure reporting needs are met? Not all UA configurations have an obvious GA4 counterpart.
  • Are we 100% confident that GA4 is set up to collect the data we need to report on and run our business because it hasn’t been proven to us yet?
  • Are we 100% confident our analysts can rely on our GA4 data the same way they relied on Universal Analytics (UA)? Again, where’s the proof?

We want you to feel confident using GA4 to collect the same insights. In this article, we will explore what GA4 is, the differences between GA4 and UA, what you can expect as part of the UA deprecation, and how Edgio can help you with your migration from UA to GA4.

What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

GA4 is the next generation of Google Analytics, designed to provide a more comprehensive and unified view of user behavior across platforms and devices. It incorporates machine learning and advanced tracking capabilities to offer deeper insights and improved cross-platform measurement. GA4 also introduces an event-driven data model, where events are the primary data points, allowing for more flexibility and customization in tracking user interactions.

Additional benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Tracks users across multiple devices
  • Flexible data model
  • Privacy-focused features
  • Integrates with Google Ads
  • Streamlined reporting interface

So, what are the differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics (UA)?

There are several significant differences between GA4 and Google’s UA. We’ve outlined a few below, but for a complete guide, read through their original announcement here.

  • Data Model: GA4 adopts an event-based model, whereas UA relies on a session-based model. In GA4, events represent user interactions and can be customized to track specific actions, such as button clicks, video views, or form submissions.
  • Cross-Platform Tracking: GA4 emphasizes cross-platform tracking by default, enabling businesses to understand user journeys across websites, mobile apps, and other digital platforms. This is particularly valuable in today’s multi-device world.
  • Machine Learning Capabilities: GA4 leverages machine learning to provide more insightful and actionable analytics. It includes features like predictive metrics, which anticipate future outcomes based on historical data, and advanced analysis techniques that help identify trends and patterns.
  • Enhanced User Identification: With GA4, user identification is more robust and privacy-centric. It introduces a new User ID feature that allows businesses to track users who have logged in or provided identifiable information, even across devices.

What can you expect as part of the UA deprecation?

Google Analytics 4 - Consulting Services

GA4 is now the default experience for new properties and where Google is investing future improvements.

Beginning July 1, 2023, standard UA properties will no longer process new data. You’ll only be able access your previous standard UA data for historical reporting for at least six months after the July 1st cutover.

Here are some key points to consider as you migrate from UA and implement GA4:

  1. Data Continuity: Migrating to GA4 ensures continuity in your data collection and analysis. By transitioning early, you can start capturing data in the new event-driven model and benefit from the advanced features and insights it offers – but you’re running out of time. Don’t wait!
  2. Learning Curve: As GA4 operates on a different data model, there will be a learning curve involved in understanding and utilizing its capabilities effectively. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the new interface, reporting, and customization options. Here are some additional resources to help you with this transition:

    Here’s a full guide from Google to help you prepare for the UA sunset, and another here to help you make the switch from UA to GA4.

  3. Data Comparison: GA4 and UA data are not directly comparable due to their distinct data models. While historical UA data can still be accessed for the time being, it is important to establish new benchmarks and metrics specific to GA4 for accurate performance evaluation.
  4. Update Your Implementation: Migrating to GA4 requires updating your tracking code(s) and ensuring proper configuration to capture the desired events and user interactions accurately. Take this opportunity to evaluate and improve your data collection strategy.


How can Edgio help?

We understand this is all a bit daunting, even for seasoned GA professionals, so Edgio is here to help! We’ve deployed GA4 for dozens of our customers to date and we’d be happy to walk you through the best, and fastest way, to complete your migration. Migrating from UA to GA4 is important as it will ensure your website’s analytics are up-to-date, with little to no impact on your reporting.

We’re currently offering the following services to help you and your web team migrate to GA4:

GA4 Migration: Whether you’ve started your migration or not, we can provide the following:

  • GA4 Audit (Gap Analysis) – This includes a review of your existing analytics implementation, identify gaps and issues, and determine the best approach.
  • GA4 Migration Plan – Here we will create a migration plan that includes a timeline, tasks, and necessary resources.
  • GA4 Property with Configured Settings – Depending on the services scoped, this could include setting up a new GA4 property, configuring tracking code, adding event tracking, creating reports, and/or auditing the existing setup.
    GA4 Event Tracking*
  • Ecommerce and Performance Reports – Ensuring data collection is accurate and working as expected.
  • Training Sessions and Documentation – Provide training, support, and documentation to prepare for hand-off to internal teams

(*Assumes tags are implemented via GTM or directly on-page. Tag changes in other Tag Manager Systems are not supported (e.g. Tealium, Segment, Ensighten).

The outcome we hope to achieve here is getting you completely ready for the UA deprecation.

Universal Standard Saves Costs and is Prepared for GA4

Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, originally managed by a third-party vendor, were not well maintained. The client was concerned the auto-migration to GA4 would make its analytics even more difficult to get clear information on their e-commerce results and conversions.

Solution: Edgio proposed and implemented a migration strategy to move to GA4, cleaned up the Google Tag Manager setup, and advised the client on tag validations, report creations, and analytics validations.

Result: With a clean dashboard and clear view of website analytics, Universal Standard was able to remove the cost of the third-party vendor, previously integrated into their entire Google Analytics setup, and feels prepared for the July 1, 2023 cutoff.

GA4 Consulting: Maybe you’ve finished migrating from UA to GA4, but you want to optimize your feature usage. We can help here too with the following:

  • GA4 Audit
  • Implementation of Selected Recommendations*

(*Assumes tags are implemented via GTM or directly on-page. Tag changes in other Tag Manager Systems are not supported (e.g. Tealium, Segment, Ensighten).

Our goal here is to make sure your GA4 data is trustworthy so you can make informed business decisions.

One of the Largest US Automotive Retailers Gains Confidence Before the GA4 Migration

Challenge: The client was behind on their GA4 migration due to a lack of resources and other priorities. They were uncertain about how much work was left before the looming deprecation date.

Edgio Solution: Edgio quantified the customer’s GA4 migration progress across 9 core setup criteria. After the audit, which included a timeline, costs, and resources, Edgio provided recommendations to mirror their UA setup in GA4 and optimize GA4 feature usage.

Results: The audit clarified and structured the remaining work in the customer’s GA4 migration. The team is on track to migrate to GA4 before the July 2023 deadline.


Google Tag Manager (GTM) Consulting: You’re ready to optimize your GTM setup and we can help!

  • GTM Audit
  • Implementation of Selected Recommendations*

(*Assumes tags are implemented via GTM or directly on-page. Tag changes in other Tag Manager Systems are not supported (e.g. Tealium, Segment, Ensighten).

The outcome here will be making sure your GTM container is optimized for performance.

Expert GA4 Resources

By engaging Edgio to plan, execute, and validate your remaining GA4 setup needs, you can be confident that our recommendations and implementation follow Google best practices. In addition, you can free up internal resources for other important projects.

Whether you need immediate activation help or are seeking to mature your GA4 implementation, our service offerings, delivery model and resources will adapt to fit your needs. Our dedication to speed, quality, and performance is infused in everything we do, including Google Analytics implementations.

By working with our Edgio Expert Services team to migrate from Google’s UA to GA4, you can rest assured knowing that our GA4 recommendations are underpinned by how much we care about your site performance.

Customize your GA4 setup, restore confidence and trust in your current analytics schema, and don’t miss out on valuable, historical data! Talk to one of our experts to finish your GA4 migration today.