Migrating from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4: An In-Depth Guide

April 20, 2023


Google Analytics is a popular tool that businesses use to analyze their website's performance and user behavior. With the recent release of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), many businesses are now considering migrating their existing Universal Analytics (UA) integrations to take advantage of GA4's new features. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of migrating your Able CDP integration from UA to GA4, addressing potential concerns and highlighting the benefits.

Setting Up a GA4 Property

Before you begin the migration process, you'll need to create a new GA4 property. Follow Google's step-by-step guide to setting up a GA4 property and configuring data streams. Be sure to properly set up your GA4 property and data streams to ensure accurate data collection.

Sending Events to GA4

Able Customer Data Platform (CDP) simplifies the process of attributing conversions and sending them to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) by automatically associating all customer activity with GA4 Client IDs. Able CDP supports sending all standard GA4 events, as well as custom events, through the GA4 Measurement Protocol.

One of the key benefits of using Able CDP for migrating to GA4 is that you don't need to make any changes to your tracking setup. Able's implementation of the integration takes care of transforming the events as required to be sent to GA4, making the migration process seamless and efficient.

To set up event tracking in GA4 using Able CDP, follow these steps:

  1. Obtain Measurement ID in Google Analytics 4 Settings: Open Web stream details in the GA4 admin panel to obtain your Measurement ID and set a Measurement Protocol API Secret.
  2. Save Google Analytics Tracking ID in Able: Open the Able Dashboard and press the "⊕ Add Service Integration" button. This will allow you to input your GA4 Tracking ID and enable the outbound integration.

After migrating your Able CDP integration to GA4, it's essential to ensure that all relevant events are being sent correctly. For example, you might have set up Purchase events to be sent to GA4 but not Leads. Depending on your setup, tracking Leads may be more for identification purposes than measurement. Nevertheless, it's crucial to confirm that e-commerce revenue is displayed correctly in your new GA4 property.

Differences Between UA and GA4

While there are no major differences between UA and GA4, there are some key aspects you should be aware of:

a. Sessions and users are counted slightly differently in GA4, which might result in minor discrepancies.

b. Attribution in GA4 is now customizable, which allows for more flexibility in assigning credit to marketing touchpoints. For more information, refer to Google's support article on customizable attribution: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/10596866?hl=en#zippy=%2Cin-this-article

Revenue Attribution in GA4

It's possible that you may initially see less revenue in GA4, or a large portion of revenue may not be attributed correctly. This can occur if the identifier sent to GA4 was only tracked by UA but not by GA4. Once both UA and GA4 are installed on the website, the user identifier is shared between the two. However, it's uncertain if UA shares sources of previously assigned identifiers with GA4.

Addressing GA4 Data Concerns

If you have any specific concerns about your GA4 data that can't be explained by the differences mentioned above, it's essential to communicate these concerns to Able CDP support team for further investigation.

Combining GA4 and Pre-GA4 Data

If you need to perform reporting that combines reporting periods stored in Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4, where neither has data that fully overlap the transition period, it's recommended to use Able CDP's data directly via BigQuery. Able CDP's documentation for the BigQuery connector is more technical and concise, but it's the most reliable method for combining data from both platforms. If you have a specific use case and need further guidance, don't hesitate to reach out for advice.

Best Practices for Migrating to GA4

To ensure a smooth transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, follow these best practices:

a. Keep both UA and GA4 running concurrently: During the migration process, it's a good idea to keep both UA and GA4 running simultaneously to ensure data continuity. This will also help you compare data between the two platforms and identify any discrepancies.

b. Review and update your goals and conversions: In GA4, goals are now referred to as "conversions." Be sure to review and update your conversions to align with your current business objectives.

c. Familiarize yourself with GA4 reporting: GA4 introduces a new reporting interface that may take some time to get used to. Spend time exploring the GA4 reporting interface to understand the available reports, metrics, and dimensions. Some reports are more in-depth and for others you may wish to use first-party data tracked by Able CDP via BigQuery instead.

d. Train your team: Ensure that your team members are trained on the new features and functionalities of GA4 so they can effectively use the platform for analysis and reporting.

e. Monitor and optimize: Regularly monitor your GA4 data to identify any issues or discrepancies, and continuously optimize your implementation to ensure accurate data collection.


Migrating your Able CDP integration from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 can be a smooth process if you carefully consider the differences between the two platforms, set up event tracking correctly, and follow best practices for migration. By understanding the potential challenges and benefits, you can make a more informed decision and take advantage of GA4's enhanced features and customizable attribution. With proper planning, testing, and implementation, your business can transition seamlessly to GA4 and leverage its powerful analytics capabilities.