Setup GA4 – Upgrade to GA4 – Implementation Guide

Last Updated: November 15, 2022

This GA4 implementation guide will teach you how to set up GA4 or upgrade to GA4 (Google Analytics 4).

Since Google Universal Analytics will be discontinued from 1st July 2023, 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:

switch to ga4 1

Note: If you already have App+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 ‘App+Web’ property.

Scroll down to the bottom of this article and just connect your App+Web property with your GA3 property. And your process upgrade is complete.

What is Google Analytics (GA4)?

GA4 is the latest version of Google Analytics. Since it is the 4th version, it is called 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 will become a 100% replacement for your GA3 property by 1st July 2023. GA4 is ready for commercial consumption. So keep your GA3 property intact till the time it discontinues.

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

Why should you set up the GA4 property right now?

Google announced that it will discontinue Universal Analytics (GA3) on July 1st, 2023

You can see the following warning message from Google when you log in to your GA3 account:

Universal Analytics will no longer process new data in standard properties

That means your Google Analytics tracking will automatically stop working after July 1, 2023. And to make matters worse, Google will also delete all of your historical universal analytics data in 2023 or early 2024.

That’s why you need to set up your GA4 property right now. And not wait a day longer.

How to upgrade to GA4 (Google Analytics 4)?

Follow the steps below to upgrade from GA3 (Universal Analytics) to GA4:

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

admin ga

Step-2: Click on the ‘GA4 Setup Assistant‘ link under the ‘Property‘ column:

GA4 Setup Assistant

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

I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property

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

create a new google analytics 4 property

Google Analytics will now automatically create new GA4 property:

Google Analytics 4 Property Setup Assistant

Your existing GA property will remain intact.

So now you have access to at least two GA properties.

One is your existing GA3 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 flowing in your new GA4 property.

Step-5: Click on the ‘Go to your GA4 property‘ button:

go to your ga4 property 2

You should now see a new tab opened up in your browser window with the following similar screen:

connected

Step-6: Click on the ‘Data Streams’ link:

data streams ga4 1

Step-7: Click on your web data stream:

Click on your web data stream

Step-8: Click on ‘Use existing on-page tag‘ under the section ‘Tagging Instructions‘:

Use existing on page tag

Step-9: Click on the ‘Google Tag Manager’ drop-down menu:

Use existing on page tag gtm

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

tagging instructions gtm ga4

Step-10: Take note of the measurement ID.

measurement ID ga4 1

Step-11: Navigate to your GTM account and then click on the ‘New Tag’ link:

new tag gtm

Step-12: Name your new tag something like GA4 tracking – All pages and set the tag type to ‘Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration‘:

Google Analytics GA4 Configuration

Step-13: Enter the measurement ID you recorded earlier in the ‘Measurement ID‘ text box:

enter measurement ID ga4

Step-14: Set your trigger to fire on all pages:

trigger all pages gtm

Step-15: Click on the ‘Save’ button to save your tag.

Step-16: Click on the ‘Preview‘ button at the top right-hand side:

preview button gtm

The Tag Manager preview mode window will open in a new browser tab. If it doesn’t, it means your browser is blocking the window.

Step-17: Enter your website URL and then click on the ‘Connect’ button:

connect tag assistant to your site

Once you click the ‘Connect’ button, one new tab will open up in your browser window, showing your website.

Step-18: Switch back to the browser tab which shows your Tag Manager preview mode window, then click on the ‘Continue‘ button:

connected

Step-19: If you see the tag GA4 tracking – All pages under the Tags Fired section, then it means your tag is firing correctly:

the tag GA4 tracking All pages

Step-20: Navigate back to your GTM account and then click on the ‘Submit’ button:

submit button gtm

Step-21: Give your version a name and then click on the ‘Publish’ button:

submit changes ga4

Step-22: Navigate back to your website and visit a couple of pages.

Step-23: Navigate back to your GA4 property, scroll up and then click on the cross button next to ‘Web stream details‘:

web stream details ga4

Step-24: Click on the ‘Reports’ icon from the left-hand side navigation:

reports ga4

Step-25: Click on the ‘Realtime‘ report:

realtime report ga4

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

data flowing in real time report ga4

Note: When you create a new property from within an existing GA3 property, the GA4 property is now the default option:

create property
property setup ga4

NOTE: Even after you have created your new GA4 property, you will continue to see the ‘GA4 Setup Assistant’ option in your GA3 property:

ga4 setup assistant

However, when you again click on the ‘GA4 Setup Assistant’ 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 GA3 property:

google analytics 4 property setup assistant connected

How to Setup GA4 (Google Analytics 4) on your website from scratch

If you are installing Google Analytics on your website for the very first time, then follow the steps below:

Step-1: Navigate to https://analytics.google.com/

Step-2: Sign in with your Google username and password.

Step-3: Click on the ‘Start Measuring’ button:

welcome to google analytics

Step-4: Enter your account name (it is generally your company name):

enter account name

Step-5: Select all the Account data sharing settings (or the one you want) and then click on the ‘Next‘ button:

Account data sharing settings google analytics

Step-6: Enter the name of your Google Analytics Property (it is generally your website name):

property name ga4

Step-7: Set your reporting timezone and currency, and then click on the ‘Next‘ button:

reporting timezone and currency ga4

Step-8: Select your industry category and business size:

industry category and business size ga4

Step-9: Specify how you intend to use Google Analytics with your business. Check all the boxes that apply to you, and then click on the ‘create‘ button:

How do you intend to use Google Analytics with your business 2

Step-10: Select your country from the drop-down menu, go through ‘Google Analytics Terms of Service’, go through ‘Data Processing Terms‘ (as required by GDPR) and then click on the checkbox ‘I also accept the Data Processing Terms as required by GDPR‘:

google analytics terms of service

Step-11: Scroll down, go through ‘Google Measurement Controller-Controller Data Protection Terms‘, click on the checkbox ‘I accept the Measurement Controller-Controller Data Protection Terms for the data that I share with Google.‘ and then click on the ‘I Accept‘ button:

Google Measurement Controller Controller Data Protection Terms

Step-12: Choose the type of email communication you want to receive from Google and then click on the ‘Save’ button. I like to select all the available options:

My email communications google

Congratulations!

You have now created a new GA4 property from scratch.

Step-13: Take a tour of your new GA4 property by clicking on the ‘Next’ button:

Take a tour of your new GA4 property

Use the side panel to navigate to different reports. Click on the ‘Reports’ icon:

Use the side panel to navigate to different reports

Reports Snapshot

You will now see the Reports Snapshot, which gives you an overview of important information about your users and their engagement with your website/app. Click on the ‘Next‘ button:

reports snapshot ga4

Reports

You will now see the various life cycle reports, which provide important information about the users’ behavior on your website/app.

Through the user reports, you can understand the demographics and the technology used by your website/app users.

Click on the ‘Next‘ button:

life cycle and user reports ga4

Explorations

Click on the Exploration icon to view the various exploration report templates provided by GA4:

explorations ga4

You should now see a screen like the one below, which shows the various exploration report templates provided by GA4. Click on the ‘Next‘ button:

explorations report templates ga4 1

Advertising

Click on the ‘Advertising’ icon to see the various GA4 attribution reports through which you can understand your customers’ purchase journey:

advertising ga4

You should now see a screen like the one below, which shows the various attribution reports provided by GA4. Click on the ‘Next‘ button:

attribution reports ga4

Configure

Click on the ‘Configure’ icon to view events, conversions, audiences and user properties:

configure ga4

You should now see a screen like the one below. Click on the ‘Next‘ button:

configure reports ga4

Admin

Click on the ‘Admin‘ button to review and edit your account and property settings:

ga4 admin

You should now see a screen like the one below. Click on the ‘Next‘ button:

ga4 admin area

Search for specific GA4 report

Use the search box at the very top of your GA4 reporting view to search for a specific GA4 report, ask a question about your data or search for help:

ga4 search

Click on the ‘GOT IT’ button to end your guided tour of GA4:

end the ga4 tour

Step-14: Click on ‘Data Streams’ under the ‘Property‘ column:

ga4 data streams

Step-15: Choose a platform for your data stream. The platform could be Web, Android App or IOS App. Let’s select ‘Web‘:

choose a platform

Step-16: Enter your website URL and webstream name, and then click on the ‘Create Stream’ button:

set up data stream ga4 1

Step-17: Copy the measurement ID by clicking on the ‘Copy’ button:

copy measurement ID ga4

Step-18: Follow steps 11 to 25 mentioned earlier in the section ‘How to upgrade to GA4 (Google Analytics 4)?

How to connect to an existing GA4 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 App+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 the GA3 property you want to connect to your existing GA4 property.

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

admin section google analytics

Step-3: Click on the ‘GA4 Setup Assistant‘ link under the ‘Property‘ column:

GA4 Setup Assistant

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

Select an existing Google Analytics 4 property

Step-5: Select your existing ‘App+Web property‘ and then click on the ‘Connect Properties’ button:

select your apps and web property

You should now see the following screen:

connected

Congratulations!

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

Step-6: Click on the ‘See your GA4 property‘ button.

Once you click on this button, you will be redirected to your existing App+Web property:

setup assistant 1

Remember, GA4 is just a new name for your App+web property.

Step-7: Click on the ‘Property Settings’ link in your App+web property:

property settings

Step-8: Rename your property by removing the word ‘App+Web‘ and then adding the word ‘GA4‘ somewhere like the one below:

rename property

Note: Even after you have created your new GA4 property or connected your existing GA3 property with your App+Web property, you will continue to see the ‘GA4 Setup Assistant’ option in your GA3 property:

GA4 Setup Assistant

However, when you again click on the ‘GA4 Setup Assistant’ link, you should see the option to ‘See your GA4 property‘, which confirms that you have successfully connected your GA4 property with your GA3 property:

Google Analytics 4 property Setup Assistant

How do I transfer my Universal Analytics data into Google Analytics 4?

Both GA3 and GA4 use different data schemas. Because of that, it is impossible to transfer your GA3 data into your GA4 property directly.

But there is a workaround. You can transfer both your GA3 and GA4 data into BigQuery and then manipulate it there.

GA4 provides a free connection to BigQuery, but GA3 does not (unless you use GA360).

However, with the help of a third-party solution, it is possible to send data from GA3 to BigQuery without using GA 360.

For step by step instructions for sending data from Universal Analytics to BigQuery without using 360, check out this article: Sending data from Google Analytics to BigQuery without 360

How do I save my Universal Analytics data from being deleted?

Google will most likely delete all of your historical universal analytics data either in 2023 or early 2024.

If you want to save your historical Universal Analytics data from being deleted, then import it into BigQuery.

By backfilling Google Analytics data in BigQuery, you can export historical data into your BigQuery project.

For step by step instructions on backfilling GA data in BigQuery check out this article: How to backfill Google Analytics data in BigQuery.

#1 Google Analytics 4 Intro

  1. What is GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – The Apps + Web Property?
  2. Key Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Setup GA4 – Upgrade to GA4 – Implementation Guide
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics – What is the Difference?
  5. GA4 vs GA4 360 – Pricing, Limits, Billing and More
  6. Google Analytics 4 Training & Tutorial with FREE GA4 ebook

#2 Google Analytics 4 Property

  1. Google Analytics Account Hierarchy (Structure Explained)
  2. Understanding Google Analytics Measurement ID (GA4)
  3. Google Signals GA4 – See Demographics (Gender, Age) in Google Analytics 4
  4. Using the GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Test Property
  5. Google Analytics 4 Sub Properties Tutorial
  6. Roll up Property in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – Tutorial

#3 Google Analytics 4 Integrations

  1. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Data Studio
  2. How to link GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Ads
  3. How to link Google Search Console to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. How to Install Google Analytics 4 on Shopify
  5. GA4 Firebase Integration – Correctly Add App Data Streams to GA4 Property

#4 Google Analytics 4 Events

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Event Tracking Setup Tutorial
  2. Understanding Event Parameters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Recommended Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Enhanced Measurement Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Automatically Collected Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. How to Set Up GA4 Custom Events via Google Tag Manager
  7. Events Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  8. How to Rename Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  9. How to Use Google Analytics 4 Event Builder
  10. GA4 Form Interactions Tracking – Enhanced Measurement

#5 Google Analytics 4 Conversions

  1. Google Analytics 4 Conversion Tracking Guide – GA4 Goals
  2. How to Import Conversions from GA4 Property to Your Google Ads account
  3. GA4 Conversion Rate – How to find it and use it

#6 Google Analytics 4 Dimensions

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Dimensions Tutorial
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Dimensions Tutorial
  3. GA4 User Properties (User Scoped Custom Dimensions) – Tutorial
  4. Event Scoped Custom Dimensions in GA4 – Tutorial

#7 Google Analytics 4 Metrics

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Metrics Tutorial with Free Google Analytics 4 Ebook
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Metrics Tutorial
  3. What are Predictive Metrics in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#8 Google Analytics 4 Ecommerce

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Ecommerce Tracking via GTM – Tutorial

#9 Google Analytics 4 Specialized Tracking

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Enhanced Measurement Tracking Tutorial
  2. Cross Domain Tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Setup Guide
  3. GA4 Site Search – Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics 4
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Scroll Tracking Tutorial
  5. Self-referral Google Analytics 4 – Referral exclusion GA4
  6. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Data Import Tutorial
  7. Google Analytics 4 Content Grouping – Create Content Groups in GA4
  8. How to Track Single Page Apps in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  9. utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign Parameters – GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

#10 Google Analytics 4 filters

  1. GA4 filters – Understanding Data Filters in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to Create and Test Filters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
  3. Exclude Internal Traffic in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) via IP Filter

#11 Google Analytics 4 Explorations

  1. Free Form Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Exploration Report
  2. How to Use the User Lifetime Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to Use Path Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Path Analysis
  4. How to Use Segment Overlap Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. How to Use the Funnel Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Funnel Analysis
  6. Cohort Exploration Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  7. How to Create Landing Pages Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  8. How to Create Google Ads report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  9. How to Segment GA4 Data by Data Stream
  10. Organic Search Traffic Analysis in GA4 – Complete Guide
  11. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Outbound Links Tracking
  12. How to Track Email Campaigns and Traffic in GA4 

#12 Google Analytics 4 Advanced

  1. Understanding Google Analytics 4 Sessions
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Measurement Protocol Tutorial
  3. How to Build Comparisons (Advanced Segments) in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Understanding Automated Insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Understanding Channel Groupings in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. Understanding Data Sampling in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#13 Google Analytics 4 Reports

  1. How to Create Custom Insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  2. How to Use Debug View Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#14 Google Analytics 4 Attribution

  1. Guide to Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  2. How to Change Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)?
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Conversion Paths Report in Attribution
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Model Comparison Report in Attribution
  5. Advertising Snapshot in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Attribution
  6. GA4 Attribution Modelling Tutorial

#15 Google Analytics 4 Audiences

  1. GA4 Audiences – Creating Custom Audience in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to Create a Remarketing Audience in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Understanding Audience Triggers in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Predictive Audiences – Tutorial

#16 Google Analytics 4 BigQuery

  1. GA4 BigQuery – Connect Google Analytics 4 with BigQuery
  2. BigQuery GA4 Schema – Send Custom GA4 Data to BigQuery
  3. How to Backfill GA4 Data in BigQuery
  4. How to Connect and Export Data from GA4 to BigQuery

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Upgrade to GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

I already have App+Web. Do I have to do anything?

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

In this article, you will learn how to connect your App+Web property with your GA3 property, and your upgrade is complete.

What is Google Analytics (GA4)?

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

Should I stop using GA3?

GA4 won’t become a 100% replacement for your GA3 property anytime soon. It is still not ready for commercial consumption mainly because of a lack of robust ecommerce reporting. So keep your GA3 property intact. However, Google is likely to discontinue the GA3 property in the future. 

I’ve upgraded to GA4, but I still see a message asking me to upgrade. Is there a problem?

Even after you have created your new GA4 property or connected your existing GA3 property with your App+Web property, you will 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:

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