Data Migration

How Analytics Safe Simplifies the Transition from UA to GA4

Simplify your transition from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) with Analytics Safe, ensuring seamless data continuity and advanced analytics capabilities.

Jun 25, 2024

How Analytics Safe Simplifies the Transition from UA to GA4| Cover Image
How Analytics Safe Simplifies the Transition from UA to GA4| Cover Image

In the fast-paced digital landscape, the transition from Google Analytics 3 (Universal Analytics, UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) represents a significant shift for businesses reliant on data-driven decision-making. With Google's announcement to discontinue UA, many companies face the daunting task of migrating to GA4 while ensuring data continuity and integrity. Analytics Safe, a leader in data analytics solutions, offers a seamless and comprehensive service to navigate this transition smoothly. This blog explores how Analytics Safe simplifies the shift from UA to GA4, ensuring businesses maintain access to critical historical data while leveraging GA4's advanced features.

Why the Transition Matters

  • Discontinuation of UA- Google's discontinuation of UA has left businesses scrambling to adapt to the new GA4 framework. This shift is not merely an upgrade; it involves a complete overhaul of data collection and analysis methodologies.

  • Incompatibility and Data Loss- GA4 introduces a different data structure and does not support the direct import of historical UA data. This incompatibility poses a risk of losing valuable insights gathered over years, impacting strategic decisions and business continuity. For example, a business that has relied on year-over-year comparison reports to track seasonal trends and customer behavior will lose the ability to make these comparisons directly in GA4, as the historical data from UA cannot be seamlessly integrated.

Understanding the Platforms

Understanding the differences between the platforms are important. 

Universal Analytics (UA)

Some of the features and benefits of UA include: 

  • Detailed Visitor Tracking: UA allows for in-depth tracking of individual user interactions on a website, providing detailed insights into user behavior. This includes tracking page views, clicks, events, and conversions, offering a granular view of how users engage with the site.

  • Session-Based Data Analysis: UA employs a session-based data model, grouping user interactions within a specific time frame into sessions. This approach makes it easier to analyze user journeys and understand how users navigate through the site during a single visit.

  • Comprehensive Reporting Capabilities: UA provides a wide range of pre-built reports and the ability to create custom reports, giving businesses flexibility in how they view and analyze their data. The platform offers detailed metrics and dimensions, enabling businesses to segment data and generate insights tailored to their specific needs.


Let's go through the challenges: 

  • Discontinuation and Transition- The end of UA's support means businesses must transition to GA4, which is not just an upgrade but a complete overhaul of the analytics system. This transition poses the risk of losing historical data if not handled correctly, as GA4 does not support direct import of UA data.

  • Learning Curve- Moving to GA4 requires businesses to learn a new system with different data structures and reporting methodologies. Teams must undergo training to effectively use GA4, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

  • Compatibility Issues- GA4’s event-based model differs significantly from UA’s session-based model, requiring businesses to redefine their tracking and analysis strategies. This incompatibility can disrupt established reporting and analytics processes, necessitating a period of adjustment.

  • Impact on Marketing Strategies- Marketers relying on UA data for campaign optimization and customer insights need to adapt to new metrics and dimensions in GA4. The transition may initially affect marketing performance analysis and strategy adjustments until teams are proficient with GA4.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

GA4 shifts towards event-based data collection, offering more granular and flexible analytics.

Some of the key features include: 

  • Enhanced User Tracking Across Platforms: GA4 enables seamless tracking of user interactions across websites and mobile apps, providing a comprehensive view of user behavior.

  • Predictive Analytics Capabilities: Leveraging machine learning, GA4 can predict user actions, such as potential purchases or churn, allowing for more proactive decision-making.

  • Improved Customization of Data Reports: GA4 offers more flexibility in creating customized reports, helping businesses focus on the metrics that matter most to them.

BigQuery Integration

GA4's integration with BigQuery unlocks advanced data analysis and processing capabilities.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Real-time Data Access: Instantly access and analyze data as it streams in, ensuring up-to-date insights.

  • Massive Data Handling: Efficiently manage and query large datasets without performance issues.

  • Sophisticated Analytics Through SQL Queries: Use powerful SQL queries to perform complex analyses, uncovering deeper insights from your data.

How Analytics Safe Facilitates the Transition

Analytics Safe specializes in blending UA and GA4 data, ensuring a seamless transition and continuity of insights. This includes: 

Data Extraction

  • From UA to GA4: Extract and prepare UA data for integration with GA4.

  • Using GA4 API: Access and extract GA4 data through its API.

  • BigQuery Export: Set up GA4 to export data to BigQuery for advanced analysis.

Integration Strategies

  • Data Mapping: Align UA data with GA4's event-based model. For example, a company can map its UA e-commerce transaction data to GA4 by redefining purchase events and custom dimensions to fit the new event-based schema. This approach allows the company to maintain continuity in tracking sales performance and customer purchase behaviors across both platforms.

  • Data Storage and Management: Employ best practices for storing blended data, ensuring scalability and accessibility.

Custom Solutions Tailored to Business Needs

Analytics Safe provides tailored solutions to fit the specific needs of different businesses, ensuring a smooth and efficient transition. Some of the innovative use cases include: 

  • Predictive Analytics- By blending data from UA and GA4, businesses can utilize predictive modeling for advanced decision-making.

  • Customer Journey Mapping- Integrating data across platforms allows for comprehensive customer journey maps, enhancing user experience and engagement.

  • Advanced Segmentation- Leveraging BigQuery to perform advanced user segmentation helps in creating targeted marketing strategies, improving conversion rates.

Best Practices for Migrating to GA4

By following these best practices, you can ensure a smooth and effective transition from Universal Analytics to GA4, leveraging its advanced features and capabilities to enhance your data analysis and business insights.

  • Start Early: Begin the migration process well ahead of Universal Analytics' (UA) discontinuation to ensure a smooth and stress-free transition. Early planning allows ample time to address any challenges that arise and ensures your team can adapt to the new platform without rushing.

  • Maintain Data Integrity: Ensure accurate and complete data transfer during the migration to prevent data loss. This involves verifying that all historical data is properly imported into GA4 and that ongoing data collection remains consistent throughout the transition period. Regular audits and checks can help maintain the integrity of your data.

  • Leverage Analytics Safe: Utilize Analytics Safe's expertise in data blending to facilitate a seamless transition. Analytics Safe can help maintain access to historical data, ensuring that valuable insights from UA are not lost. Additionally, they can assist in integrating and unlocking new insights with GA4's advanced features, helping you to maximize the value of your analytics.

  • Update Reporting and Dashboards: Review and update your existing reports and dashboards to align with GA4's data structure. This ensures continuity in reporting and that stakeholders continue to receive the insights they need.

  • Monitor and Optimize: After migrating to GA4, continuously monitor your analytics to identify any discrepancies or issues. Use this period to optimize your setup and make any necessary adjustments to improve data accuracy and insight generation.

Conclusion: Act Now to Future-Proof Your Analytics

The transition from UA to GA4, complemented by the power of BigQuery, represents a significant shift in how businesses approach data analytics. By acting now and leveraging the expertise of Analytics Safe, companies can ensure a seamless transition, maintaining access to historical data while unlocking new insights with GA4's advanced capabilities.

Don't let the transition to GA4 disrupt your data-driven decision-making process. Contact Analytics Safe today for a demo or consultation, and discover how we can help you blend UA, GA4 API, and BigQuery data, ensuring your analytics strategies remain robust and insightful in the face of evolving digital challenges.