How to Easily Upgrade to the Google Analytics 4 Property (GA4)

Google Analytics introduced GA4 property – a new era of Google Analytics has been announced. And this is scary. Why? Because the new interface is completely different from the old one. See yourself:

Google Analytics 4 Property

As an SEO, I care about it a lot. Google Analytics is one of my core tools (and skills). And this tool has just changed by 99%. 

Quick facts about GA4 first:

  • The new GA4 property combines web and app data under one roof. 
  • Many events won’t need a separate code installation (e.g. Scroll, File downloads, Video engagement)
  • It also lets you analyze funnels (this goes beyond classic goal funnels)
  • GA4 has new ways to control data and privacy

It’s not just a revamp of the tool, it’s a whole new tool (which is exciting but scary, to be honest). 

I switched my personal website to the new GA4, and here’s what I learned:

  • You can do the switch in your GA admin area.
  • If you create a new property from scratch, GA4 is a default option. To create a Universal Analytics property, you need to go to Advanced settings and switch it on. This is interesting because this means Google is pushing GA4. To me, this is too fast as there’s still not enough documentation to cover many things in GA4. 
  • You can have both Universal Analytics and GA4 simultaneously. It will not negatively influence your data collection. 
  • If you upgrade to GA4, you still need to add a separate tracking code to your website. It’s very easy, and Google Tag Manager has a new tag for GA4 property too. 
  • When you upgrade your Universal Analytics to GA4 property, your custom events are not automatically migrated. You will see general ones (scrolling, outbound link clicks) but more sophisticated events like ads to cart or blog subscriptions will need separate configuration.  
  • GA4 doesn’t have views, just Account and Property.

I created a video which explains how to upgrade to GA4 property. At the time of writing, more than 2k people have already watched it and found it helpful. Even the official Google Analytics account on Twitter shared this video:

Google Analytics shared GA4 property video

Watch this step-by-step tutorial and upgrade to GA4:

Video Transcript

Hey SEO followers! Welcome to the SEO follow YouTube channel. First of all, make sure to subscribe because they’re going to be lots of, lots of amazing videos. And today I’m going to talk about Google Analytics 4 which is a new type of property in Google Analytics. It was announced just two weeks ago and I switched right away one of my websites. And there are a few things that I have already found out while switching out.

So first of all, before we go into the details of how you do this, I wanted to share a few facts about GA4. First of all, it will work if you have only a website, but it will also work if you have a website and for example, Android and iPhone apps, you will have aggregated that data in your Google Analytics 4.

The second thing is that you can run the current Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 properties in parallel. You won’t have any problems in collecting this information from your users.

The next thing is that when you create your GA4, you will still need to install a code on your website. And guess what, I am going to show you how to do this just in a minute.

And one more thing is that G4 is amazing, but also it’s very different from Universal Analytics. And it will take time to learn how it works because trust me it’s completely different and it’s a little bit scary, but we are going to go through this.

I’m going to show you two things. First of all, how to upgrade to GA4 if your website has this option already, I bet it should. I’ll show you quickly how you would install Google Analytics 4 property to your website. Let’s go.

What we’re going to do is to upgrade the existing Universal Analytics property to GA4. To do this, you would need to go to Admin and I’m doing this for my SEO Challenge website because my website is already upgraded.

Upgrade to GA4 in Google Analytics

So I can see account property and view here, and I’m going to property and just click agree to Google Analytics 4. Then I get started, create a property, then the setup assistant. So, I have a few settings here and what I need to do, I need to make sure that I installed the code. So I click here and here’s where I get the information, the measurement ID. As I said, at the beginning of the video, you will still need to install a new code to track G4.

What do I do with this code? I go to Google Tag Manager. I need to create a new tag. So this is going to be the easiest basic tag that you’ve ever seen, right? So it’s going to be GA4, property and then that configuration and it already has GA4 configuration here. So I copy this and as you can see, the measurement ID is completely different. For Universal Analytics it has UA and then the code number and here is G and just random numbers and letters.

So I’m copying it here and for now, what I need to do is to just make sure that it’s going to work on all pages. I can quickly preview this. Yes. Now with preview, Google Tag Manager is completely different.

G4 property has fired, which is amazing. This is what I need. So we just click submit and it would be nice to just see G4 and publish. So basically I just installed the code on the website and it will work properly. I can add streams if I have apps, but I don’t have apps. And also here you will see that everything is empty because it’s just installed. But as I said, I installed it already for my other website.

So what I’m going to do, I have G4 on this website. So I’m going to quickly show you how this looks like when the data is already populated because the data will be collected from scratch. And even if you had Universal Analytics, the data won’t be transferred to your GA4, that’s why it just takes time to gather all the data.

So as you can see, it looks completely different and you won’t see, you know Behaviour, Acquisition reports here, they are completely different things.

And one thing which is really cool about G4 is that it tracks some events just by default. So yes, I can view these events, for example, page view, session start, user engagement, first views just scroll and click and also downloads. If I had downloads here, I have some downloads on another website. It will also be tracked here.

So basically, yeah, this is cool. I like this, but as I said, there’s going to be a huge learning curve to know how to use all of these reports. And I strongly recommend you to run GA4 in parallel with Universal Analytics, because this way, first of all, you can analyze how these different systems collect information differently or the same, and you can also learn. So it would be really hard to switch to just GA4 for serious reporting right now. But in case Universal Analytics will go somewhere, I hope it won’t, but just in case it’s important to learn G4 as well.

And one more thing, one more quick thing that I wanted to show you, which is really interesting in my opinion, is that if you want to create, by the way, GA4 doesn’t have views, it just has account and property, which is interesting. But if you want to create new property in Google analytics, Google analytics gives you Google analytics for property as a default property. And to me, this is a little bit too much because there’s not enough documentation on G4 yet. And I know many people in my SEO course, they were confused when they were installing Google analytics for the first time and they were confused because Google analytics didn’t look how they used to see it. So that’s because they used GA4.

But in case you’re creating your property and you need to use Universal Analytics instead, what you can do is to just click ‘Show advanced options’, and then create a Universal Analytics property. And you can create both Google Analytics and Universal Analytics simultaneously, but at least you will have Universal Analytics as well, in addition to GA4.

Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics

Okay, that was an easy guide on how to install GA4 on your website.

I hope it was helpful. Comment, like this video 100%, and also subscribe to this channel because as I said, you’re going to see so many amazing videos here. Thank you and have an awesome day. Bye.