Migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4 can be a daunting task for many businesses. However, with the right knowledge and best practices, this transition can be smooth and successful. In this blog post, we will explore some essential best practices that you should consider as you make the switch. Here are some best practices you should consider as you migrate from Universal Analytics to GA4.
Data Retention Settings in GA 4
Universal Analytics offered users almost unlimited access to data. Unfortunately, data retention via GA4 has always been very limited. For example, user data only gets retained for two months with the default setting in GA4.
The two-month timeline resets each time a customer heads to your website, but it is still an extremely short time frame.
You can change this timeframe in GA4. I recommend you change the data retention time to 14 months by clicking on Settings → Data → Data Settings.
From there, click on the Event Data Retention option, and choose 14 months.
You can also connect GA4 to BigQuery, which will let you keep user event data indefinitely.
Set up Internal Traffic Filter
Another best practice is to ensure your data is always accurate in GA4. That means filtering out internal traffic or any other visits your website gets from employees.
To do this, head to Settings → Data Streams → More Tagging Settings → and Define Internal Traffic.
Next, find your IP address using a tool like What Is My IP Address.
Finally, select “IP Address Equals” on the “Define Internal Traffic” page and paste your IP address.
Make sure to do this with other members of your team that will be frequenting the site to ensure data accuracy.
Set Up Custom Events in GA4
If you use events in UA, chances are you will want to create events in GA4, too. There are multiple ways to do this. You can set up events with Google Tag Manager, GA4 event tagging, or another tagging software.
Once you have created your events, you need to check that GA4 is capable of processing them.
To create custom events, head to the GA4 dashboard and click All Events under the Events heading. Then click Create event at the top of the page.
Name your event in a clear manner which is easy to understand, and ensure the event name value is an exact match for your event in GA4.
Set Up Custom Dimensions
When you create custom events, chances are you will send other parameters alongside your events, such as form names, page URLs, purchase total, and so on.
If this is the case, these additional parameters must be registered on GA4 via custom dimensions. To set these up, click on Configure → Custom definitions → Create Custom Dimensions.
Make sure you clearly name each parameter for clarity and add a small description for each one. Once you have it set up, hit save, and your custom dimension will be instantly available.
Connect to Other Google Properties
Just like in Universal Analytics, GA4 gives you the power to connect GA4 to Google Ads, Search Console, and other Google Properties.
To do this, head to Settings, select the Property column and click on the Product Links section.
From here, there are several services you can link to, such as BigQuery, Google Ads, and Search Console.
Once you have selected each one you want to connect to, follow the steps, and it will connect them to your GA4 instantly.
Final Thoughts: GA 4 Best Practices
Migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4 is a critical step in staying ahead of the game in the world of data analytics. By implementing the best practices discussed in this blog post, you can ensure that your transition is successful and your data tracking and analysis are optimized. Adjusting data retention settings, setting up internal traffic filters, creating custom events and dimensions, and connecting GA4 to other Google properties are all essential steps in this process. By following these guidelines, you can make the most of GA4’s capabilities and gain valuable insights into your website’s performance and user behavior. Embrace the power of GA4 and unlock the full potential of your analytics strategy.