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When should you complete your Google Analytics 4 upgrade?

You’ve probably heard by now that the current version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics, or UA) is being replaced in July 2023. Google Analytics 4, or GA4, will be taking its place. 

You likely have some questions…what’s it all about? When and how should you complete your Google Analytics 4 upgrade? And do you have to migrate to GA4? Let us walk you through it…


GA4 is the next generation of Google Analytics. It’s an improved, yet simplified version of website and app analytics. The new property type combines Universal Analytics (for website analytics) and mobile app analytics. GA4 is built for the future with its focus on data privacy regulations, cookieless data capture and enhanced, predictive data insights.


Those of us who love Universal Analytics will be sad to see a few features go…or change. Here are a few metrics that we will be either waving goodbye to or seeing differently. Watch out for the latter when comparing data in your reports, as they aren’t truly comparable to UA:

  • Bounce rate: this will be going completely. Whilst it used to be a useful metric, it became fairly unreliable as someone could have ‘bounced’ off your page because they found the information they need (e.g. a phone number to call), rather than because they simply weren’t interested in the page content.
  • Users: be careful when reporting on users in GA4, as it is calculated differently. UA focused on total users (named ‘Users’), whereas GA4’s ‘Users’ are actually active users
  • Pageviews: now known as ‘Views’ in GA4, these include screen views as well as page views (i.e. app screens).
  • Sessions: known as ‘Session Start’ in GA4. A session in UA is currently ended at midnight and a new session will begin (in the time zone that the view is set up in). This also happens if a user picks up new campaign parameters i.e. with a UTM. These types of sessions will no longer be reset in GA4, so you may see a drop in sessions going forward. 
  • Conversion goals: these will be known as ‘Conversion Events’ in GA4. They will be close to your UA goals (if you’ve set up equivalents), but GA4 will count each instance of a conversion event during a session, rather than only once. 

With the above said, GA4 has so much to offer and there are still a lot of important UA features that remain in place or have been improved. Once you’ve delved into it and got used to a different way of reporting, you will begin to love the new and improved analytics. 

Here are some intelligent and exciting features that GA4 has to offer:

  • Unified user tracking: enabling you to cross-track single user journeys through cross-device and cross-platform tracking.
  • Audience grouping: using the cross-tracking information, you will be able to create more precisely targeted audience groupings that can be used in your Google Ads PPC campaigns.
  • AI learning: incorporating Google’s AI, GA4 can fill in gaps where data may be incomplete.
  • Events and goals: event tracking setup has been simplified in GA4 and there are now ‘Conversion Events’ already in place (you can still set up more customised goals to match your KPIs too).
  • Engagement rate: not a direct replacement for bounce rate, engagement rate is shown by the percentage of ‘Engaged Sessions’ that either lasted longer than 10 seconds, had 2 or more ‘Views’ or produced a ‘Conversion Event’. 
  • ‘Explorations’: this new hub features template charts that you can customise to get quick in-depth insights e.g. funnel exploration, user exploration, user lifetime and more.


We often get asked ‘do I have to upgrade to GA4’? The answer is yes. The real question is ‘when should I upgrade’? If you leave your UA to run as it is, you will still need to set up your GA4 property by July next year. At which point, your UA will be integrated into your GA4 property. 

But don’t be fooled into thinking that means you can just leave it to do its thing and everything will be OK…it’s crucial that your current data is carefully migrated to prevent any loss of valuable historical data when UA is phased out. 

And of course, as GA4 works differently to UA, it means your reporting and data interpretation will not all be directly comparable. So, you’ll need to think about adjusting your reporting method, well in advance of the transition.


Act now. Google Analytics 4 is already available, so it would be wise to make the switch sooner rather than later and allow yourself time to become accustomed to it. You can complete your GA4 setup and allow it to run in parallel with UA, until the transition takes effect. 

If you act now, you can capture a year’s worth of data before the transition, meaning you can make meaningful Year on Year data comparisons when GA4 replaces UA in July 2023. 

Upgrading to Google Analytics 4 doesn’t involve transferring your existing data from UA directly to GA4. In fact, you will need to set up a new property. So for now, you can run your UA property alongside your new GA4 property. Whilst your GA4 property is collecting data, you can continue to use UA as normal, allowing you time to get up to speed on the ins and outs of GA4 in time for the switchover next year. By then, you’ll be a pro!


Google Analytics has a setup assistant wizard in place which is designed to help you create your new GA4 property to collect data in tandem with your Universal Analytics property (until it is phased out and no longer collects data). 

If you need any further support with your Google Analytics update and adding the new tag to your website, please get in touch below. We’d be happy to assist.


Need help with your GA4 migration or other web development projects? We can help. We offer a professional web development service and our expertise is second to none! Contact us for support today.

  • Written by Simon Proctor, July 01 2022