Update Universal Analytics to GA4

  • Updated

Although Google offers an automatic upgrade flow between Universal Analytics and GA4, Optimizely does not recommend that clients follow this flow. Instead, please create a new property by following the steps below.

You must complete four steps to set up Google Analytics 4 (GA4):

  • Log in to your Google Analytics account
  • Create a new property (per site, per environment)
  • Create a web data stream for the property
  • Add custom definitions to the property

Implementation of Google Analytics requires a testing process. Optimizely recommends that you implement Google Analytics on your Sandbox site first and verify accurate tracking of user events before recreating the tracking on your Production site. You must complete the following steps twice: once for Sandbox and once for Production. This additional testing step is important because once GA data has been captured and added to your Google Analytics database, it cannot be removed. 

Create or sign-into your Google Analytics account

Sign in to Analytics at https://analytics.google.com.

Create a new Google Analytics 4 web property for your site and environment

  1. Click Admin in the navigation bar. The Admin page has two columns: Account and Property.
  2. Open the dropdown list under Account and select the main account for your website.
  3. Review the list of Properties to see if GA4 has been set up for your site. If not, select Create Property.
  4. Enter a name for your site in the Property name field. Optimizely recommends that you indicate which environment the property relates to as well. For example, “My Website Name – GA4 Sandbox.”
  5. Update the Reporting time zone and Currency fields, as necessary.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Fill in the fields requested by Google for the Describe Your Business page. 
  8. Select the objectives that you are most interested in on the Choose Your Business Objectives page. Optimizely recommends selecting at least Drive online sales and Examine user behavior.
  9. Click Create. The page should automatically update to the Data Streams page with the headline Start collecting data.

Create a new web data stream

  1. Click Web to create a new Web data stream.
  2. Enter your Website URL and create a Stream name, such as "GA4 Web Property – Sandbox".
  3. Click the Settings wheel icon to the right of the page.
  4. Disable everything except Page views under Enhanced measurement.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Click Create stream. The Installation instructions screen displays, but you do need to install until you complete the steps for Google Tag Manager.
  7. Close the Installation Instructions page.
  8. Note the Stream Name, Stream URL, Stream ID, and Measurement ID on the Web Stream Details page. You need the Measurement ID to set up Google’s Tag Manager and for the Go Live Checklist.
  9. Close the Web Stream Details page.
  10. Click Next to complete the web data stream set-up.
  11. Click Continue to Home. If a pop-up screen appears entitled Migrating from Universal Analytics, Optimizely recommends selecting No for the most simple implementation of GA4. 
  12. Return to Admin > Property. Select the web property that you just created in the property list.
  13. Select Data Collection under Data Settings.
  14. Open User Data Collection Acknowledgement, and click I acknowledge.

Create custom dimensions for the property

  1. Go to Admin > Property.
  2. Go to Property and select Custom definitions Create custom dimensions.
  3. Create each of the below dimensions one at a time and click Save each time.
No. Dimension name Scope Description

Event parameter/

User property

1 Authentication_State Event Authentication_State Authentication_State
2 correctedQuery Event correctedQuery correctedQuery
3 endingUrl Event endingUrl endingUrl
4 ga_session_id Event ga_session_id ga_session_id
5 numSearchResults Event numSearchResults numSearchResults
6 Page_Path Event Page_Path Page_Path
7 Page_Path_1 Event Page_Path_1 Page_Path_1








9 searchQuery Event searchQuery searchQuery
10 User_ID Event User_ID User_ID
11 item_ID Item item_ID sku
12 item_name Item item_name name

Save or record the Measurement ID for your new GA4 web property

You must reference your Measurement ID during implementation. You can find the Measurement ID by following these steps:

  1. Log in to Google Analytics.
  2. Click Admin.
  3. Select the Account and Property associated with your GA4 instance. 
  4. Select Data Streams and select the Data Stream associated with your GA4 implementation.
  5. Notice the Measurement ID on the Web stream details page. 

You have now completed a basic set-up for Google Analytics 4. Once you have verified the Google Analytics data in Sandbox, you need to repeat the steps for Production. The setup for production is identical to Sandbox but with a different web property.