Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the new and improved analytics platform by Google to track all your properties online, both Web and App, all from a single property setup. You can try out the new upgrade without affecting your existing analytics properties and views. The new Google Analytics 4 property will only capture data from the date it was set up and not have any of the past data from your existing properties. My suggestion is that you maintain both your properties and don’t delete your existing property after the upgrade.
Steps to Upgrade to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Follow these steps to Upgrade your existing Google Analytics property to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) using Google Tag Manager in 10 minutes.
Installation TIme: 10 minutes
View your Property setting in Admin Panel
Go to the Google Analytics account you want to setup the GA4 property for. In the Admin panel which can be located on the bottom-left, go to the property for website, select “Upgrade to GA4”.
Create a new GA4 property or link an existing one
Since this is the first Google Analytics 4 property that we are setting up, select “Get Started” to create a new GA4 property.
Create a new GA4 Property
If the option is available, tick the box to enable data collection from existing tags. Then select “Create Property”.
Select Tag Installation in Setup Assistant
Once the property is created, the setup assistant will display all the data collection sources and links made to the property. To proceed to add the tracking code to your website, click the arrow button next to Tag Installation.
Setup a Data Stream for your property
We need to set up the tracking code of the property on the website so it is linked as a data stream. This can be done directly by placing the code in the HTML of your website or by using Google Tag Manager. Select the existing stream under App or Web, then click the arrow button accordingly.
Select measurement parameters and tag linking instructions
Since I had a website, I selected the web stream to link to my property. Copy your Measurement ID as it will be useful in the next step. Ensure that the Enhanced Measurement is enabled since it tracks important events on the website. If you have Tag Manager (GTM) already set up on your website, select “Use existing on page tag”. If you don’t have tag manager set up, follow our step by step guide to install Google Tag Manager.
Configure GA4 tag in Google Tag Manager
In the Tag Manager for your website, create a new tag for the GA4 configuration.
Select Google Analytics GA4 Configuration Tag
In the new tag setup, for Tag Configuration select Google Analytics GA4 Configuration tag. This is a predefined tag that makes it easy to setup.
Tag Configuration and Triggering for GA4
Give the Tag an easily identifiable name. Under the GA4 config tag, paste the Measurement ID that we got in Step 6. In the triggering section, set it to trigger on All Pages of your website. Finally click Save on the top-right to save the tag.
Submit Tag to make the changes Live
Once the tag is saved, click the Submit button on the top-right to make your tag changes live on your website. You may choose to give a description of the changes your did and give the version a name or else skip to proceed. And Voila! You have successfully upgraded to GA4.
Follow this tutorial if you would like to install the tag manager code on your website directly through HTML. If you would like to avoid making changes to the HTML code or are less tech-savvy, you can use a plugin on WordPress called Google Site Kit Plugin to enable GA and GTM integration on your website.
Google suggests waiting 24 to 48 hours for the tag to start collecting data but I started seeing traffic in the new GA4 property within 2 hours of the installation.
If you would like to read more about the differences between the existing Google Analytics platform and GA4, visit Google’s support page to learn more.
If you found this article useful or have any other queries or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment or get in touch.