How to upgrade to Google Analytics 4

Google announced that Universal Analytics would stop processing new hits in July 2023. Many people don’t know what they need to do in this case, and many ask if they should upgrade to Google Analytics 4. 

Should I upgrade to Google Analytics 4?

As I mentioned above, there are not so many ways to analyse your website using Google Analytics in the second part of the following year. Therefore, if you use Google Analytics as your primary analytics tool and want to use it further, you should switch to Google Analytics 4. 

How GA4 is structured and organised brings additional benefits to analysts and companies that use Google Analytics 4 more and more often. You can learn more about GA4 benefits in my article “Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4”

When you understand the necessity to upgrade to GA4, I should inform you that there are only 5 steps that separate you from using GA4. 

How to upgrade to Google Analytics 4?

  1. Select the most relevant way to upgrade to Google Analytics 4

    There are three options: Analytcs.js, GTAG.js or Google Tag Manager

  2. Set up Google Analytics 4 property

    Login to Google Analytics 4, click on the top pop-up and go through every step to setup Google Analytics 4 property.

  3. Start to track button clicks (events) in Google Analytics 4

    Use Google Tag Manager, Analytics.js or GTAG.js to send your first events into GA4

  4. Check if the events are tracked correctly

    Use GA4 Realtime report to identify if you made the previous steps right.

  5. Implement e-commerce tracking for Google Analytics 4

    If you are an online shop, setup e-commerce tracking for Google Analytics 4.

Select the most relevant way to upgrade to Google Analytics 4

There are two main methods to upgrade to Google Analytics 4:

  • If you use GTAG.js for Universal Analytics, you can use the connected tags feature or slightly adjust the code to send pageviews, events, and e-commerce data to GA4. You can learn more in my article “How to use GTAG.js (global site tag) for Google Analytics 4?
  • If you use Analytics.js for Universal Analytics, you can activate one GA4 feature that will allow you to migrate almost 99% of your setup into Google Analytics 4 easily. Please learn more about it in my article “Analytics.js + GA4. It’s possible!”
  • If you use Google Tag Manager,  you should create new events for Google Analytics 4. There is no possibility of using your existing setup for Google Analytics 4, unfortunately. 

After selecting the upgrade method, you can create your first Google Analytics 4 property. 

How to set up your first Google Analytics 4 property?

Login to Universal Analytics, and you will see a pop-up at the top of your screen. The pop-up will tell you, “Universal Analytics will no longer process new data in standard properties beginning July 1, 2023. Prepare now by setting up and switching over to a Google Analytics 4 property.” Let’s click on “Let’s go”.

GA4 Pop-up in Universal Analytics

If you don’t see a pop-up, go to the Admin section, and at the Property section, you will see “GA4 Setup Assistant” click on this one. 

Under “I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property, ” click on the “Get Started” button.

Google Analytics 4 property consent pop-up

After you click on it, you will see a pop-up, mark the checkbox and click on the “Create property” button.

When the property is created, go to the “Data Streams” tab.

Open “Data Streams” Tab in Google Analytics 4

Data Streams are your source of data. You can think about them as the codes for Universal Analytics properties. You add a new data source every time you create a data stream.

Google Analytics 4 Data Streams Tab

Let’s click on the data source and see what is inside. 

The following section is called “Web Stream Details”. You can provide changes to your tracking code and find the GA4 property ID here. We had property ID in Universal Analytics; GA4 has measurement ids. For instance, my measurement id is G-BJRM799W77. You should find yours and copy it.

GA4 Web Stream Details

You noticed that the GA4 property has an enhanced measurement section. GA4 tracks some website visitors’ actions by default. You don’t need to setup it up as it was in Universal Analytics.  For instance, Video Engagement or Outbound Clicks. 

Although Google Analytics 4 also tracks page scroll depth by default, it only tracks 90% scroll. It means that whenever a user scrolled less than 90%, you won’t see an associated event in analytics about that. You can enhance your tracking with 20, 30, 40, 50, 75, 90, and 100% scroll depth by following my other guide.

Now, it is time to work with Google Tag Manager. GTM will help us to add a pageview tag on our website and to send the first events into Google Analytics 4.

Open the Google Tag Manager and click on “Add a new tag” under the “New Tag” section. 

Click on “Add a new tag” in Google Tag Manager

Click on Tag Configuration and select “Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration” tag type.

Selecting GA4 Tag in GTM
Select “Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration” tag

Let’s name our tag “GA4 – Main Tracking Code” and paste the Measurement ID that we copied in Google Analytics 4 before.  

After that, let’s select the trigger for this tag. It will be “All Pages / Page View”. 

Select “All Pages” trigger

In the end, you should see the same concept as in the screenshot below.

Check if your settings are close to mine

Click on “Save” button.

Next, you need to go to preview mode and check if your tag is firing on your website. 

Click on the “Preview” button at the top right corner.

Click on “Preview” button

You should provide the URL of your website.

Provide the website URL

Open the tag assistant tag tab and find your Google Analytics 4 Tag.

Tag Assistant Tab – GA4 Pageview Tag

If you see that it fired, that means you are ok to move to the next step – Check your data in Google Analytics.

Open Google Analytics 4 Realtime Report (GA4 -> Reports -> Realtime Report). 

Check if you see yourself in GA4 Realtime Report

If you see users on your website. You are good! You installed the GA4 tracking code on your website right.

How to track button clicks (events) in Google Analytics 4? 

Now we know how to install Google Analytics 4 on our website. Apart from tracking pageviews, you can track many different actions on your website. Some of them are:

  1. Link or button clicks
  2. Form submissions (contact forms, comment forms, etc.)
  3. E-commerce Tracking (purchases, refunds, etc.)
  4. Scroll Depth Tracking
  5. Youtube Video Tracking 

I will show you how to add the event to track whenever a website visitor clicks on the button. 

So, to add your first event in GA4, you need to open your website through Google Tag Manager Preview Mode

I opened website, and we have two download buttons on the homepage; one of them is for Apple Store, and another one is for Google Play. 

Opened Nomos website through GTM Preview Mode

Next I click on the button and click “ESC” button on my keyboard. It helps to prevent the page to load. Now, I go to Tag Assistant Tab and look at “Link Click” trigger. 

Here is how it looks for me. I noticed that “Click URL” has a link to the Nomos app on Apple Store and it helped me to identify my click. 

GTM – Apple Store button (Link Clicked)

Now I return to Google Tag Manager and create the new tag. Let’s name it “GA4 – Event – Apple Store Button Clicked”.

As a tag, I select “Google Analytics: GA4 Event”.

Select Google Analytics: GA4 Event

Next, I select the configuration tag we created early and choose a name for my event. Please remember that GA4 only receives events without spaces in event names. Let’s call it “apple_store_button_clicked”. 

After we are done with Tag Configuration section, let’s move on to Triggering section. 

We need to create a new event with a trigger type “Clicks – Just Links”.

We want to track clicks only on this specific button, let’s select “Some Link Clicks”.

As conditions, let’s select 

Click URL  “contains

You should investigate what conditions your button has in Preview Mode and select the conditions that suit your button, link. 

Full GA4 Event Trigger Settings

After all that is done, you should receive close to what you can see on my screenshot below. 

Save the trigger and save the tag.

Full GA4 Event in GTM

How to check if the events are tracked correctly?

Click on Preview once again to test the event.

Our first GA4 event in GTM

If everything is correct, you should see your event in Google Tag Manager Preview Mode and in Google Analytics 4. 

Your first GA4 Event in GA4 Realtime Report

Now, you should publish your container, and every click of website visitors will be measured successfully.  To publish the container, click the “Submit” button right to the “Preview” button in Google Tag Manager and follow the instructions. 

Click on “Submit” button to publish GTM container

Final Word

Because Google Analytics 4 is replacing Universal Analytics, you should upgrade your account to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible. If you used GTAG.js for Universal Analytics, you can use GTAG.js for GA4 as well. The same is true for the Analytics.js library. If you used GTM, you must create events for GA4 from scratch. You can use the step-by-step instruction we discussed in this article. If you are interested in adding e-commerce tracking for Google Analytics 4, I have a post for you to read. 

Should I upgrade to Google Analytics 4?

If you use Google Analytics as your primary analytics tool and want to use it after June 2023, you have to switch to Google Analytics 4. How GA4 is structured and organised brings additional benefits to companies that use Google Analytics 4. You can learn more about GA4 benefits in my article “Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4”. 

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