Accelerating activation by bringing over audiences & goals
This is the fifth 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.
Having all GA4 tracking implemented and all data sources integrated with the new platform is essential to preparing for the UA turn-off. However, there are two key features that are used to activate Analytics data and measure the results of this activation — audiences and goals (conversions).
Replicating UA audiences
UA audiences need to be replicated in GA4. The basic workflow is the same: Select a dimension, metric or event collected in the property; then specify an operator and the value being compared with. GA4 audiences offer additional customizations that you may want to consider implementing:
- Scoping improvements (conditions to match within an event, session, or all user activity)
- Time window for metrics (specify if a metric should have a specific value for all lifetime of a user or for a specified time frame)
- Time constraints for sequences (specify that a few or all steps in a sequence should occur within a defined time period)
- Dynamic evaluation of inclusion (users matching an excluding condition will be permanently removed or temporarily excluded while they match it)
- Usage of predictive metrics (Purchase Probability, Churn Probability, Predicted Revenue).
After you set up the audiences, there is no need to publish them; they will appear in all advertising tools automatically given that Enable Personalized Advertising is on (Google Ads, Display & Video 360). Backfilling an audience (30 days) will automatically happen for Google Ads as well as it currently does in UA.
Migrating UA goals
As an integral part of any measurement plan, you should build a list of conversions and determine which UA goals to migrate to GA4. There are different limits in the number of conversions vs. goals in UA to account for a need to possibly migrate goals from different views into a single GA4 property. Therefore, the first logical step is to map goals from all associated views.
If you’re using the same goal across multiple views, this will be a single conversion in GA4. Goals that are supposed to capture different actions will likely be independent conversions.
The basic version of GA4 has a limit of 30 conversions. If you know you will need to migrate more than 30 — or you experience issues mapping UA to 30 GA4 conversions — you should consider upgrading to the 360 version of GA4, which expands the limit to 50 conversions and allows for adding subproperties with differently configured conversions. Normally, having more than 30 conversions would only be needed when being analyzed by multiple teams, brands, or markets.
There are four main goal types in Analytics: Destination, Duration, Pages/Screens per session, and Event. Some of them directly translate into GA4 conversions, while others don’t.
- Event-based goals: The most straightforward setup would be for event-based goals, where you’ll only need to either a) mark the necessary event as a conversion in GA4; or b) set up a new event in the Create Events GA4 functionality by specifying the event category, action, and label being used to define a goal in UA. Additionally, if you’ve been using GTM as the tagging method, you can set up a new event directly in the Tag Manager interface.
- URL-based goals: The setup for URL-based goals mirrors that of event-based goals, with the exception that the page_view event will be used for modifications, specifying the rule with the page_location dimension. Otherwise, you can send a new event from the tracking code that would meet the goal’s conditions.
- Engagement-based goals: The least obvious would be the setup of Engagement goals, using pages per session. First, you must create an audience based on the number of pageviews/screenviews — then use an audience trigger to send an event to GA4 when this condition is met. There is no equivalent of the duration goal in GA4, although there is a similar event which can be used to some extent (user_engagement).
Next Up: Preserving Historical Data As You Migrate to GA4
In the next installment of our seven-part series, we’ll focus on the most pressing concern for businesses: Ensuring they don’t lose access to the invaluable historical data stored within their current UA properties when they migrate to GA4. We encourage you to check out the full Google Analytics 4 Migration Guide here: