Why You Should Opt Out of GA4 ‘Auto-Migration’

In February, Google announced its plan to start configuring Google Analytics 4 (GA4) for Universal Analytics (UA) users who do not switch to GA4 by July 2023. That means you could lose control over your data and not have the power to prevent any changes to your analytics setup. 

What Does GA4 Entail? 

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google’s web analytics service, which provides a more sophisticated way to measure user behavior–engagement and activities–on mobile apps and digital platforms, such as websites. It includes cross-device tracking, enhanced event measurement, and improved data privacy controls. 

Making the Switch to GA4

If you have UA but have not set up a GA4 property, Google will create a GA4 property for you based on some of the settings you have in Universal Analytics (UA), including your goals, audiences, Ads links, users, and more. The same applies to those who have created a GA4 property but have not linked it to a UA property and to those who have done the linking of their GA4 to a UA property but have not completed all GA4 Setup Assistant steps.

If you have not migrated, auto-migration may make your data look quite different after the migration. That is because Google may auto-migrate data and settings from UA to GA4 that do not align with your current goals. 

It may apply standardized settings to GA4 without copying over your data, such as filters or audiences. That may consequently reduce the long-term value of your analytics data.

“Opting out of auto-migration will enable you to preserve the valuable data you need to set goals for future development and maximize growth,” says David Brenton, President of BluShark Digital. To opt out of auto-migration, here is what you need to do. 

Log in to your Universal Analytics account. Go to Admin, click on the Property column, and then select GA4 Setup Assistant. Scroll to the bottom and turn off the switch labeled “Automatically set up a basic GA4 property.”

Using the GA4 Setup Assistant for Migration

You could use the assistance of professionals to set up analytics according to your requirements and objectives, enabling you to start using Google Analytics 4 immediately. You could also perform the magic on your own.

To monitor the progress of your GA4 migration, use the GA4 Setup Assistant, which has some helpful tools like assistance with audience migration and a simple procedure for Google Ads linking.

The setup assistant tool uses the links you already have in UA. Navigate to the Import from Universal Analytics. Once you click on it, the Ads links you have configured in UA are all displayed on a new screen. 

You can then check or uncheck the boxes for the items you want to import to GA4. After that, click the Import Selected Ads links.

The tool will also check your conversions in UA to see if they qualify for migration to GA4. The ineligible goals will be marked as gray. 

Select the eligible goals for GA4 conversions and choose Import from Universal Analytics. Then, a help center article will display systematic instructions on what to do.

Endeavor to mark each of the Setup Assistant’s 12 steps as complete. It is crucial for setting up conversions, managing signals, creating audiences, and linking to ads.

Now that you know that allowing Google to migrate your UA data to GA4 on your behalf is a bad idea, you should opt out of GA4 automatic migration.