The basics of property creation and adding data streams to GA4
This is the second blog in our seven-part Google Analytics 4 Migration Guide series. The series focuses on how businesses can accelerate their move to GA4 ahead of looming sunset deadlines — to gain a competitive edge by mastering the GA4 platform’s next-generation data-driven marketing capabilities. You can read the full Guide here.
In the first part of our Google Analytics 4 Migration Guide series, we focused on how organizations can review their existing account structures to create a framework for the accounts, applications and data streams they’ll need to integrate with GA4. Once you’ve defined this architecture for measurement in GA4, the next step is to actually create a property.
In addition to the basics of property creation and setup, there is some light customization at this stage. You must specify the name, time zone and currency — and also have the option to indicate the industry, size of the business, and how you’re going to use Google Analytics. After that, you need to add data streams for all the sources you’re going to connect to GA4.
Adding a data stream for a website
To add a data stream for a website, you only need to specify the name of the stream and the URL of the website. Enhanced Measurement is enabled by default; you can disable or customize it before your move forward. Otherwise, it can be modified at any time after creation. Once a data stream is added, you get a measurement ID — equivalent to a tracking ID in UA — to be used in any kind of tracking code implementation.
Adding a data stream for a mobile application
The process to add data streams for mobile applications is completely different. If you already have a Firebase project (which is the most likely scenario if you have an app) and have implemented the Firebase SDK, you first check for an existing GA4 property and consider adding a website data stream into it — as per the planning work you’re doing in the first step of the migration process.
If there is no linked GA4 property (less likely) — or no access to the existing GA4 property — you’ll need to relink this Firebase project to your new GA4 property from the Firebase interface. Two new data streams would appear for iOS and Android apps in GA4.
If you don’t already have a Firebase project for your app, adding a new data stream for iOS or Android means creating a new Firebase and Google Cloud project. The rest of the installation will be on the Firebase side since you’ll need to add the Firebase SDK and set up custom tracking (event logging) in the app.
Configuring settings for GA4 tracking
Setup Assistant, a special menu item in the settings column of the GA4 property, provides good reminders of all the steps you may need to take after property and data stream creation. In general, best practice for setup includes the following tasks:
- Review the Enhanced Measurement settings and enable the types of events that will be collected automatically — reviewing advanced settings for pageview and site search tracking if needed.
- Check if any modifications are needed to incoming events and their parameters (the Modify Events and Create Events features), according to the measurement plan.
- Configure cross-domain tracking.
- Add internal and development IP addresses and exclude them from being collected.
- Add referral exclusions (a.k.a. Unwanted Referrals).
- Consider activating Google Signals and reviewing Ads Personalization settings.
- Review data retention settings.
- Create a Measurement Protocol secret if needed (optional).
After the tracking code is implemented, additional tasks may be necessary to migrate features from UA to GA4:
- Create custom dimensions and metrics.
- Set up conversions.
- Configure audiences.
- Link other GMP products.
- Set up data import.
Custom definitions should be determined in the next stage (Step 3), as part of creating a measurement plan. Conversions, GMP linking, audiences, and data import should be set up after the tracking code is implemented (Steps 4-5). The process of further GA4 tracking setup is described below.
Next Up: Measurement Changes in GA4
In the next installment of our seven-part series, we’ll cover the key changes you need to know about — and the key steps you need to take — around measurement in the new GA4 platform. We encourage you to check out the full Google Analytics 4 Migration Guide here: