Migrating Reports from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4

September 6, 2022

 Leveraging new functionality to address your business’ reporting needs 

This is the seventh 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.

If you’ve followed along with our seven-step guide to migrating to Google Analytics 4, you’ve already set up your GA4 properties, implemented a measurement framework, linked all your other GMP products, and migrated both the analytics functionalities and historical data from UA. Now, you can shift focus to addressing the reporting needs of the business in the new GA4 platform.

Migrating Data Studio reporting

Most of the Data Studio reporting you’ve built on the UA infrastructure can be replicated on the GA4 data source. There are some limitations in the variety of dimensions or metrics you can select, but Google is working to ensure the same kind of functionality as UA. Best practice is to rebuild reports where possible, going through data validation rounds and starting to distribute the dashboards to internal or external stakeholders.

Migrating BigQuery and other BI reporting

If you’re using BigQuery as a data source for reporting, be sure to integrate GA4 to BigQuery and create insightful reports based on its new data schema. The integration is now available to all GA4 customers, so having a standard tool version won’t stop you from linking to Google Cloud Platform.

If you’re using a different BI tool, such as Tableau or Power BI, you will have to wait for the GA4 connector — and should instead use this time to plan what’s going to be visualized.

Migrating custom reports from Google Analytics

Any Google Analytics custom reports need to be reproduced as Explorations in GA4, using basic or advanced techniques of the tool. There is no one-to-one correspondence between UA and GA4 dimensions/metrics, so businesses must patiently wait to see what Google will propose as a replacement to the current use cases. However, you still can convert most of your custom reports to Explorations using the Free Form or Funnel report types. 

On a separate note, you may want to rebuild some of your standard reports as well — for example, Shopping Behavior or Landing Pages reports.

Oftentimes, building a report in Data Studio could give you more flexibility and quick access to multiple graphs displayed on a page. Unless you are not comfortable working with Explorations, this could be an option for migrating custom UA reports as well.

A final thought: Why fast-tracking GA4 migration gives you a competitive edge

It’s exciting to see marketers increasingly recognizing the promise and potential of the Google Analytics 4 platform. This next-gen platform was built for the future of data-driven marketing — designed from the ground up to operate across platforms, to measure and track in a cookieless world using event-based data to accurately measure cross-platform user journeys. 

Google has greatly expanded the enhanced capabilities of GA4 in the year since its introduction — and we expect that pace of improvement to accelerate. These capabilities align with the new paradigm of data privacy — giving marketers the tools they need to make genuine, personalized and relevant connections with customers, while meeting customer expectations and regulatory requirements around data privacy.

The looming UA sunset gives businesses a hard stop on using UA. But with the digital environment increasingly demanding cookieless, cross-channel journey personalization, the reality is that Universal Analytics will become an increasingly outdated and less-effective tool — regardless of its turn-off date. Moreover, there are major competitive advantages to getting ahead of this shift — planning and scaling up use of GA4 sooner rather than later.

But change is always scary and often difficult. So, it’s no surprise that many businesses are apprehensive about the complexities of migrating from the Universal Analytics platform — reluctant to move from tools they know and functionality they’ve mastered to a familiar-yet-different toolkit.

This guide provides a robust framework for a smooth and successful migration. And Delve is always ready to help — providing expert consultative guidance and hands-on support to simplify and accelerate your transition to Google Analytics 4.

Connect with us to talk about the UA-to-GA4 migration today.

You can read our full Google Analytics 4 Migration Guide here:

Read the full report