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Google Analytics 4 (GA4): what to expect when migrating your UA widgets
Google Analytics 4 (GA4): what to expect when migrating your UA widgets

Advice on migrating your Geckoboard widgets from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

Updated over a week ago

On 1st July, Google will replace the current version of GA, Universal Analytics or UA, with a new version, GA4. If you're still using UA widgets on your Geckoboard dashboards, you must replace them with GA4 widgets. To do this, you'll need to:

Need a little help? If you're interested in us helping you migrate your UA widgets to the new GA4, please contact us.

1. Upgrade from UA to GA4

If you haven't already, you'll first need to upgrade from UA to GA4. While it is not possible to directly import your data to GA4, taking the necessary steps – creating a new GA4 property, transferring the required data, updating any necessary code, linking data from other sources, and validating data accuracy – it’s easier than you might think.

  1. Create a new GA4 property. Creating a new GA4 property is similar to creating any other Analytics property. Log in to your Analytics account, click ‘Admin’, then select ‘Create Property’. Once you've chosen the name and website URL, select ‘Create’. Then, it’s time to determine the data-sharing settings. You can also add a tracking ID to the source code.

  2. Transfer data. You must transfer data from your current property to the GA4 property. Log in to your existing Analytics account, click the ‘Admin’ tab, then select ‘Data Import’. Then select the data you are transferring and the new GA4 property.

  3. Update code. If you're transferring any code or tracking tags, update the code. This is especially important when using Measurement Protocol or the Global Site Tag.

  4. Configure your settings. To match your Universal Analytics setup, customize your GA4 property settings, such as timezone, currency, and data retention periods.

  5. Link data from other sources. You can link data from other sources, if applicable, like Google Ads or Google Tag Manager. Be sure to follow the instructions provided to update the current property.

  6. Validate data accuracy. To make sure that everything is correct, review the data accuracy after the migration. You can also compare your reports from the original property with the results of the GA4 property.

2. Find your UA dashboard widgets

Log in to your Geckoboard account and find where your UA widgets are located on your dashboards.

You can identify the widgets that need replacing by their logo: when you hover over the widget, you'll see a logo on the bottom left, and those showing Google Analytics – as opposed to Google Analytics 4 – need replacing.

3. Add a new dashboard

To avoid disrupting active dashboards too much, we recommend adding a new dashboard for testing your new GA4 widgets.

No room for a new dashboard? Your pricing plan will determine if you can create an additional dashboard. If you need an extra dashboard, please contact us.

If you're using old dashboard layouts

However, if your dashboard is one of our old layouts (as below), you can use the empty spaces below your dashboard to add your GA4 widgets.

4. Replace your UA dashboard widgets with GA4

It should be possible to recreate almost all of your widgets using GA4. See our article on how to customize GA4 widgets or read our Geckoboard Academy guide to using our GA4 data source.

Troubleshooting: Identify potential data discrepancies

There are many similarities between Universal Analytics (UA) and GA4. However, there are a few crucial differences that can cause discrepancies between the numbers you see in UA and GA4 and the number you see in Geckoboard. Here are a few to take note of:

Replicating filters applied to Views in UA

As GA4 doesn't use Views, if filters are applied to a View configuration in UA, you may notice some discrepancies between your UA and GA4 widgets. You must apply these corresponding filters to your GA4 widgets in Geckoboard.

🎬 Video demo: Watch how to find the View configuration in UA and how to apply applied filters to your GA4 widgets.

Video explaining how to fetch the view config in UGA

Using BigQuery to set faster refresh rates for GA4 data

Currently, Google refreshes GA4 metrics every few hours. The difference this will make to how your GA4 numbers compare to UA largely depends on the time period. The difference is typically negligible for periods such as this week, this month, etc., but more noticeable for 'today'.

The hope is that after Google sunsets UA, they will increase the refresh rate, but in the meantime, if you need faster refreshes, we recommend getting the data from BigQuery instead. You can use the BigQuery connector in Google Sheets to connect and run a query (and refresh the query periodically). Then get your data into Geckoboard using our Google Sheets data source.

  1. Open a new file in Google Sheets.

  2. In the menu at the top, click Data > Data connectors > Connect to BigQuery.

  3. Select your GA4 property from the project list.

  4. On the 'Choose table or view' panel, click Write a custom query.

  5. From the query editor, run a query. It's not essential to know SQL. There are pre-written BigQuery queries you can copy.

  6. To use your Google Analytics property's BigQuery event export data, look for the comment -- Replace table in each query and replace the sample dataset id. You can find your dataset Id by navigating to your BigQuery export project in the BigQuery UI.

  7. You can choose to query a date range or choose to remove it to allow Google to refresh all the data. Look for the comment -- Replace date range.

  8. When the query is ready, click Connect.

  9. Once connected and the data is extracted, click Schedule refresh.

  10. Choose your refresh frequency.

  11. Click Save.

Note: another reason you might opt for using BigQuery with GA4 is if you currently get extra data via the Google Analytics Spreadsheet Add-on.

Excluding bot filtering

GA4 automatically excludes bot traffic, and there's no option to enable it. In UA, bot filtering was not switched on by default and had the option to toggle on/off. If you didn't switch bot filtering on in UA, you might notice a data discrepancy.

Shows where to find bot filtering in Google Analytics admin

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