How to upgrade to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Google has been showing the following display banner to all the Google Analytics users:

and asking them to set up a new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) property.

Note: If you already have Apps+Web property then you don’t need to do much. You already have access to the GA4 property as GA4 is just a new name for ‘Apps+Web’ property.

Scroll down to the bottom of this article and just connect your Apps+web property with your GA3 property. And your upgradation is complete.

What is Google Analytics (GA4)?

GA4 is the latest version of Google Analytics. Since it is the 4th version, it is called as GA4.

Following are the other three versions:

Note: GA4 also uses the gtag.js library but uses a new measurement model called ‘Event+Parameter’ model.

The GA4 allows you to integrate mobile app and website usage data into a single GA Property.

Even if you don’t have a mobile app, Google still recommends that you create and use the GA4 property. Run the G4 property in parallel with your GA3 property as eventually, Google is likely to discontinue support for GA3 and other older GA versions.

Note: GA4 won’t become a 100% replacement for your GA3 property, anytime soon. It is still not ready for commercial consumption mainly because of lack of robust ecommerce reporting. So keep your GA3 property intact.

If you are brand new to Google Analytics 4 then check out this article: What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

If you are installing Google Analytics tracking for the first time then follow the steps below to create a new GA4 property:

Step-1: Login to your Google account and then navigate to https://analytics.google.com/analytics/

Step-2: Click on the ‘Start Measuring’ button:

Step-3: Enter the name for your new Google Analytics account. The account name is usually your company name:

 

Step-4: Scroll down and then click on the ‘Next’ button:

Step-5: Select the ‘Web’ option to create a new GA3 property:

We will create GA4 property later from within the GA3 property.

For now, you would need both GA3 and GA4 properties because GA4 is still not a 100% substitute for the GA3 property. However, Google is likely to discontinue the GA3 property in the future. 

Step-6: Scroll down and then click on the ‘Next’ button.

Step-7: Enter your website name, website URL, select your industry category and reporting time zone:

 

Step-8: Click on the ‘Create’ button.

Step-9: Accept Google Analytics terms of service and data processing terms by clicking on the relevant checkbox:

 

Step-10: Scroll down and then accept the ‘Google Measurement Controller-Controller Data Protection Terms‘ by clicking on the relevant checkbox:

 

Step-11: Click on the ‘I Accept‘ button.

Step-12: Select your email communication preferences with Google by selecting the relevant checkboxes and then click on the ‘Save’ button:

 

Step-13: Close the product tour box (blue in colour) and then click on the ‘Dismiss’ button at the bottom of the screen:

 

Step-14: Deploy Google Analytics tracking code (gtag.js) on your website via Google Tag Manager(GTM). Check out this article for more details: How to Implement Google Analytics With Google Tag Manager.

If you do not have GTM installed on your website then check out this article: How to Install Google Tag Manager on your website

Step-15: To create a new GA4 property from your existing GA3 property follow the steps outlined in the section below.

If you already have GA3 property then follow the steps below to create a new GA4 property:

Step-1: Navigate to the admin section of your reporting view in your GA3 property.

Step-2: Click on the ‘Upgrade to GA4‘ link under the ‘Property’ column:

 

Step-3: Click on the ‘Get Started‘ button under the section ‘I need to create a new Google Analytics 4 property‘:

Step-4: Click on the ‘Create Property‘ button:

 

Google Analytics will now automatically create new GA4 property. This new property will open up in a different browser tab and you will be automatically redirected to it.

Your existing GA property will remain intact. So now you have access to at least two GA properties. One is your existing GA property and the other one is your new GA4 property.

However, this new GA4 property will not automatically start collecting data. You would need to configure your GTM so that the data start following in your new property.

 

Step-5: Click on the ‘Tag Installation‘ button:

 

Step-6: Click on your web data stream:

 

Step-7: Click on ‘Use existing on-page tag‘ under the section ‘Tagging Instructions‘:

 

Step-8: Click on ‘Google Tag Manager’ drop-down menu:

 

You will now see the instructions for setting up a tag for tracking your website data in the new GA4 property via GTM:

 

Step-9: Take a note of the measurement ID.

Step-10: Navigate to your GTM account and then click on the ‘New Tag’ link:

 

Step-11: Name your new tag something like G4 tracking – All pages and set the tag type to ‘Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration‘:

 

Step-12: Enter the measurement ID you recorded earlier in the ‘Measurement ID’ text box:

 

Step-13: Set your trigger to fire on all pages:

 

Step-14: Click on the ‘Save’ button.

Step-15: Click on the ‘Preview’ button at the top right-hand side:

 

The tag manager preview mode window would open in a new browser tab. If it doesn’t then it means your browser is blocking the window.

Step-16: Enter your website URL and then click on the ‘Start’ button:

Once you clicked on the ‘Start’ button one new tab will open up in your browser window which shows your website.

Step-17: Switch back to the browser tab which shows your tag manager preview mode window and then click on the ‘Continue’ button:

 

Step-18: If you see the tag G4 tracking – All pages under the Tags Fired section then it means your tag is firing correctly:

 

Step-19: Navigate back to your GTM account and then click on the ‘Submit’ button:

 

Step-20: Give your version a name and then click on the ‘Publish’ button:

 

Step-21: Navigate to your website and visit a couple of pages.

Step-22: Navigate back to your GA4 property and then click on the cross button next to ‘Web stream details‘:

 

Step-23: Click on the ‘Real-time’ icon to open the real-time report:

 

You should now be able to see data in your real-time report:

 

Note: When you create a new property from within an existing GA property, the GA4 property is now the default option.

What if you already have a Google Analytics Apps+Web property?

If you already have a GA Apps+Web property set up (as I do) then you already have access to the GA4 property. This is because GA4 is just a new name for the Apps+Web property.

Now all you have to do is to connect your Apps+Web property to your GA3 property (the one which uses the analytics.js or gtag.js tracking) by following the steps below:

Step-1: Navigate to your GA3 property.

Step-2: Navigate to the admin section of your main reporting view.

Step-3: Click on the link ‘Upgrade to GA4‘ under the ‘Property’ column:

 

Step-4: Scroll down and then click on the drop-down menu ‘Select an existing Google Analytics 4 property‘:

 

Step-5: Select your existing ‘Apps+Web property’

 

Step-6: Click on the ‘Connect Properties’ button. You should now see the following screen:

Your GA3 property is now connected to your Apps+Web property (aka GA4 property).

 

Step-7: Click on the ‘See your GA4 property‘ button.

Once you click on this button, you will be redirected to your existing Apps+web property. Remember GA4 is just a new name for your Apps+web property.

 

Step-8: Click on the ‘Property Settings’ link in your Apps+web property:

 

Step-9: Rename your property by removing the word ‘Apps+web’ and then adding the word ‘GA4’ somewhere like the one below:

 

Note: Even after you have created your new GA4 property or connected your existing GA3 property with your Apps+web property, you would continue to see the ‘upgrade to GA4’ option in your GA3 property:

 

However, when you again click on the ‘Upgrade to GA4‘ link, you should see the option to ‘See your GA4 property’ which confirms that you have successfully set up the GA4 property and also connected it with your old GA property:

 

Related Articles on GA4 (Google Analytics 4):

  1. What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – The Apps + Web Property
  2. How to set up cross-domain tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  3. How to setup enhanced measurement tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  4. How to set up event tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  5. How to set up conversion tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  6. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Data Studio
  7. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Ads
  8. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with BigQuery
  9. Analysis Hub Google Analytics – How to use the Exploration Report in GA4
  10. How to set up Custom Events in GA4 via Google Tag Manager
  11. How to set up site search tracking in GA4
  12. How to set up scroll tracking in GA4
  13. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics – What is the difference?
  14. How To Set Up Ecommerce Tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  15. Google Signals for GA4 – How to see gender, interest and age data in Google Analytics 4
  16. How to block internal traffic in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  17. How to import conversions from GA4 property to your Google Ads account

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Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers' purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years of experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence. The Digital Analytics Association is a world-renowned not-for-profit association that helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

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