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Complete GA4 Migration Guide for SaaS Products with Checklist

To migrate to Google Analytics 4, you first create a new GA4 property and add it to your website, update your tracking code, configure data streams, set up events and conversion tracking, and import historical data if needed. The steps to take for Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) migration include

Google has made an announcement that on July 1, 2023, it’s going to make a shift from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. On this date, Universal Analytics will completely stop processing data. In light of Google suspending Universal Analytics and switching to Google Analytics 4, businesses have to be prepared well in advance.

Migrating to Google Analytics 4, as with any migration, brings some challenges to website owners and legacy marketing reporting systems, as well as new reporting options particularly useful for SaaS companies.

We sat down with Alex Kupreychik, Rampiq’s web analytics wizard, to discuss the migration from Universal Analytics to GA4 and address the most challenging questions the migration raises for businesses with a special focus on what it entails for SaaS companies. Here are the answers to the most common questions, and a step-by-step GA4 migration guide with specific practical tips on making this transition as painless as possible.   

What does migration from Universal Google Analytics to Google Analytics 4 mean for B2B SaaS companies? How SaaS companies can address this industry change in the most effective step-by-step way? What are the key GA4 benefits and how can SaaS companies get the most out of this updated user behavior tracking technology? 

We have answered all these questions and will provide you with a GA4 migration checklist to follow. You can also find solutions to challenges you may encounter when migrating or implementing Google Analytics 4 for SaaS.

Business context: Google introduced Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in 2019, and since then website owners had a choice of using Universal Analytics properties or the ones on GA4.

Have troubles with GA4 Migration? Get free help – Book a call with Rampiq Experts

In a rush? Download the checklist as a PDF by filling out the form below.

Here’s our step-by-step GA4 migration checklist for SaaS companies:

ga4 migration checklist

GA4 migration checklist


Step 1. Prepare a Migration Plan

We highly recommend documenting all events, goals, and other important settings that you have in Universal Analytics in a spreadsheet or a migration document where you can get the full migration scope and then run the post-migration QA check.

It is also important to double-check user permissions and make sure your key stakeholders get access to GA4 reports.

prepare ga4 migration guide

Step 2. Set up the GA4 Account and Install the Code

Creating a new GA4 property is the first step in the migration process. This involves setting up a new property in your Google Analytics account and configuring it to meet your specific tracking needs. We recommend using Google Tag Manager (GTM) for this step, instead of adding GA4 code to your source code.

step ga4 migration setup code

It is worth saying a few words about some advantages of GTM:

  • Testing tools first of all. You can easily test all your tags before deploying them on the website in testing mode.
  • You see all your marketing tags and everything that you have added to the site in one place. In addition, built-in syntax validation and templates greatly reduce the likelihood that the tag will simply not work.
  • Fast Deployment: No need to involve developers or wait for the next release, just to add marketing tags (different pixels, conversions, audiences, tools, etc.)
  • Versions, security, and user permissions: All published versions are saved separately, you can roll back to the previous version at any time, view the history of changes, and control who and when made changes. Also, assign users to different roles with different levels of access.
  • Templates: GA4 has many templates to install your tags and tools. Found a new tool? Most likely this template will already be in GTM to install it, you just need to select it. Didn’t find a template? Simply use Custom HTML or templates built by the community.

And of course, it is worth saying that Google Tag Manager this is an absolutely free tool made by Google!

Step 3. Create and Launch GA4 Property with Necessary Data Streams

It is important to set up data streams from all environments you need to track, i.e. subdomains, apps, etc. In other words, you need to make sure you are collecting data from all resources you need to track your new GA4 property.

Step 4. Set Up Goals and Custom Events in GA4

We recommend setting up all important events and triggers using GTM, as this lets you keep all your GA4 settings in one place. GTM is a very flexible tool that can address 90% of the custom events setup. After setting up the events, you can then add goals to make sure that you can support your reporting infrastructure.

GA4 migration checklist GTM setupNote that although you can import some conversions from UA using the Setup Assistant tool, you must be careful and confirm that these events work. Do this because you need to fulfill a number of conditions to get them working.

To avoid problems when for some reason these conversions on the site stop working at some point, we highly recommend setting up all the necessary events separately using a special template for GA4 events and using the event structure designed for GA4.

Please note that when setting up from scratch, using the special GTM template for GA4 events, you can add additional parameters to your event, set conditions and configure events as flexibly as you wish. Knowing that a single trigger for this event will work the way you want it to.

If you track an event not only in GA4, say in Facebook, LinkedIn, Bing Ads, Google ads, etc., you probably want to have one properly working trigger that will fire for this event and send data to all systems at once. This will help you avoid large discrepancies in the data, which can only increase due to the fact that different systems may use different attributions.

Step 5. Cross-Validate GA4 Data With Your Internal Systems

As Google Analytics 4 works differently from Universal Analytics in terms of data collection and processing, it is important to validate form submissions, purchases, registrations, and other business-critical data with your internal systems. Thus you will make sure that GA4 reports reflect your conversions correctly.

Step 6. Build Reports and Funnels

Apart from standard reports, GA4 offers robust custom reporting capabilities called Explorations. We recommend adding Explorations based on the most common business questions you need to address on a regular basis. We found User Lifetime and Segment Builder to be quite useful to set up right after you validate your GA4 data.

google analytics 4 migration reporting build

Step 7. Link Your GA4 Account to the Necessary Tools

Set up integrations with Google Ads, Google Search Console, and other supported systems.

Step 8. Plan a Date to Migrate GA4 as Your Sole Source

Finally, after making sure your new reporting system works properly, plan the final shutdown of Universal Analytics for your organization. 

Step 9. Archive Your Universal Analytics data

Besides the forced migration to Google Analytics 4, Google announced that it will delete all Universal Analytics data beginning on January 1 2024. This means that you may want to download reports from your UA properties if you’d like to have access to your historical data after this date. 


Since Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data from July 1, 2023, your conversions, audiences, and site statistics used in your Google Ads campaigns will no longer be updated.

To ensure that your campaigns continue to collect accurate data and work towards your conversion and business goals, we recommend taking the following steps. 

Action plan:

  1. Set up Google Tag Manager (if applicable) for easy systems’ tags management.
  2. Check that all main GA4 conversions and remarketing audiences are set up correctly and imported to your Google Ads account.
  3. Set up a Google Ads tag and create conversion goals and remarketing audiences based on the tag to ensure all data is collected properly after July 1.
  4. Change your campaigns’ goal settings from GA UA to GA4 or Google Ads goals.
  5. Change your remarketing campaigns’ audience settings from GA UA to GA4 or Google Ads remarketing audiences.

If you have not used Google Ads Tag and Google Ads Conversions separately before, but only used imported conversions, then you have probably not maximized the effectiveness of your campaigns, as it could be done.

When do I Need to Migrate to GA4?

GA4 offers a range of new features and improvements over the soon-to-be-legacy Universal Analytics, such as more advanced tracking capabilities, deeper integration with Google Ads, and the ability to track user behavior across multiple devices. It gives you more valuable insights into your customer behavior and improves their overall digital strategy

Universal Analytics will stop collecting data in July 2023. However, we recommend that you migrate to GA4 early, as GA4 starts collecting data only since it’s set up on your website or app.

In other words, you can’t import your Universal Analytics data into GA4. Therefore, if you’d like to keep your historic website or app data in GA4, you need to install it as soon as possible. 


What are the Key Differences Between GA4 and Universal Analytics?

  • The way user data is collected: In GA4, every hit, or user interaction with your website, is an event. Compared to pageview-based tracking of Universal GA, this adds a ton of flexibility in how you can customize tracking based on your business needs. In addition to that, event-based analytics reduces data sampling, which is a big issue in Universal Analytics. 
  • Full-featured cross-device tracking: GA4 introduces full cross-device and cross-platform reporting. In GA4, you can combine a website data stream with an app data stream in one place and analyze how your users interact with both environments in one reporting space.


Machine Learning Features and Predictive Metrics

GA4 features an automated way to enrich your data with predictive models. Here are the predictive metrics you can get with GA4:

ga4 migration for saasSource: 

With this data, you can build better audiences for your ads campaigns and use these metrics in User lifetime evaluations. 


2 Critical Settings to Migrate to GA4

  • Conversions. First and foremost, you need to make sure that you have your goals and conversions properly set up in GA4. This is important because you will use this data in your reports, and it’s vital that you migrate your settings early. You are likely to see the difference in conversions between GA4 and Universal Analytics due to the different ways conversions data is collected. 
  • Custom events. If you rely on custom events in your reporting, this is the part that you’d want to learn how to migrate to GA4. This will let you keep your data infrastructure very similar to what you have in Universal Analytics. 

9 Key GA4 Migration Challenges

Here are the most common challenges you may face when migrating to GA4 and how to solve them:

  • E-commerce data integration
  • Costs import
  • Third-party systems integrations
  • Data thresholds
  • The default attribution model in GA4 is set to Data Driven
  • No automated costs import from ads systems other than Google Ads (as of yet)
  • Data thresholds based on increased user privacy
  • 24-48 hours delay in reporting
  • Just 2 months of data retention by default


1. E-commerce Data Integration

GA4 doesn’t have an out-of-box e-commerce tracking module, which means that you will have to set up e-commerce events and funnels manually for now or use a 3rd party extension for your e-commerce platform.

In other words, you will have to set up the most important e-commerce events (add to cart, checkout, purchase, etc) manually in GTM as custom events so that you can analyze users’ shopping behavior in GA4 reports.


2. Costs Import

Universal Analytics is open for costs import using solutions like OWOX or Supermetrics. However, for now, GA4 doesn’t support any costs import, including adding costs from Google Ads. This means that you will not be able to see any costs data in GA4 as of yet.

Using Google DataStudio dashboards which can pull Google Ads and other paid ads systems data directly from the systems is the workaround that we currently use to keep both GA4 and paid ads systems data in one report.


3. Third-Party Systems Integrations

The current list of GA4 native integrations is limited to the following systems:

  • Google Ads
  • BigQuery Export
  • Google Search Ads 360
  • Google Optimize
  • Firebase
  • Google Search Console
  • Google Merchant Center
  • Google Ad Manager
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud 

From the business perspective, it means that you will need to look into other ways to connect your data with GA4 across different platforms which are currently not on this list.  


4. Data Thresholds

GA4 introduces new ways of identifying users for reporting purposes. With increased privacy protection, some user data may not be used in GA4 reporting, therefore limiting your reports with data thresholds.

You can experiment with Reporting identity options settings to find the user identification model that works best for your business goals (switching between these options doesn’t affect data collection or processing, it only changes how reporting is done in your GA4 property).


5. The Default Attribution Model in GA4 is Set to Data Driven

This will mess up your conversion data which is especially critical for Google Ads and other ad systems which rely on conversion-based optimizations. In other words, due to the difference in attribution models, your conversions data in GA4 will be different compared to Universal GA, which can mix up your campaigns’ bidding strategies. 

Solution: set up conversions directly in Google Ads via GTM and use the same trigger to record conversions in GA4. For example, a contact form submission needs to send 2 events: one to Google Ads, and one to GA. 

Note: on the bright side, you can switch attribution models in GA4 for your historical data (yay!) and see how they compare. Therefore, by matching attribution models in Google Ads and GA4, your conversions data will be matching in both systems.


6. No Automated Costs Import From Ads Systems Other Than Google Ads (For Now)

You can integrate paid ads systems data via UTMs, but GA4 doesn’t support automated costs import (!). The only way to add cost data for systems other than Google Ads is manual import (!!). Therefore, your costs-based reports are currently limited to Google Ads and you will have to use 3rd-party systems to merge GA4 and costs data.


7. Data Thresholds Based on Increased User Privacy

By default, GA4 uses a combination of User-ID, Google signals, device ID, then modeling to determine the “reporting identity”. In other words, out of a sudden, you may have some of the user data under a threshold. 

Partial solution: you can switch to device ID to remove thresholds, however, this kills your cross-device analysis (1 user with 2 devices = 2 users in GA4). 

Note: some good news is that you can experiment with reporting identity on your historical data to see which one works better for your business goals. 

8. 24-48 Hours Delay in Reporting

You may have to wait for up to 2 days to see your data in GA4. Period. 


9. Just 2 Months of Data Retention by Default

GA4 default data retention is set to just 2 months. In other words, you may say goodbye to your quarterly and yearly user retention analysis unless you change this setting manually for your GA4 property (the max period is up to 14 months). Get in touch with us to discuss your GA4 migration project!

Conversions Counting Method

You set up a conversion event and marked it as a conversion. It’s time to choose how to count this conversion. By default, your conversion event will use the Once per event method. Count an event as a conversion every time it occurs.

google analytics 4 conversions counting methodLet’s say you have several buttons that a user can click multiple times in a session and you don’t want to see all 10 button clicks as conversions. You should select the Once per session method to Count an event as a conversion only once within a particular session.

What happens if you have similar, frequent events and you don’t change anything?

Let’s say you have the following 3 conversion events:

  1. Submitting a contact form (successful submission, not just a click on the Submit button, by the way).
  2. Clicks on CTA buttons
  3. Scroll pages up to 90%.

If you open any standard report in GA4 and you will see, let’s say 540 conversions, wow, great you think until you realize that behind all this garbage, only 10 conversions were important to you.

And what will happen to your conversion rate because of these events? Yes, another reason to think again about what you want to add to conversions and how to count it, and what you want to leave in events.

By the way, in Google Analytics 4, you can finally see events in almost all standard reports, in addition, you can choose which events and conversions to display from the drop-down list.


Migrating Libraries, Collections, and Custom Reports

At the time of publication of this article, many of the metrics and dimensions that you are likely to be interested in are not available in standard report sets.

But this is not a problem, because you can create a collection of your own reports, which you can easily customize for yourself or your team’s department.

migrating libraries custom reports collections ga4

Another well-known problem: at the time of this writing, it is impossible to create filters that, for example, will exclude a country from GA4 data collection. However, by customizing reports, you can easily fix this and get clean data.

Can’t measure performance without metrics like bounce rate and conversion rate? This is also not a problem, because now you can add these metrics and much more to suit your needs.

ga4 moving ua measure performance metrics

GA4 Migration Benefits

By migrating to GA4, businesses can benefit from more accurate and detailed data tracking, improved cross-device and cross-platform tracking, and enhanced user privacy features. 

Additionally, GA4 offers a more modern and flexible approach to analytics, allowing businesses to stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Here are the most crucial benefits of migrating to Google Analytics 4.

  • Cross-platform tracking. SaaS companies tend to use not just one environment to interact with their users. With GA4, you can implement cross-device and cross-domain tracking and analyze your users’ activity across all places where it happens.
  • User segments overlap analysis. GA4 is an event-centric platform, which makes user segmentation very powerful. Segment overlap exploration can bring valuable insights into how your SaaS audience behaves and overlaps. 
  • User Lifetime analysis features. In GA4, you can analyze the Initial interactions, Most recent interactions, Lifetime interactions, and Predictive metrics across both your website and apps.
  • Predictive metrics and predictive audiences. GA4 uses ML techniques to help you forecast Purchase probability, In-app purchase probability, and Churn probability. You can even build predictive audiences using these metrics, which unlocks a completely new way to target your prospects with paid ads.


Google Analytics 4 migration is not a trivial process and you will face a lot of challenges on the way that should be tackled. In this article, we have outlined the key steps you will need to undertake to run this migration with minimal changes to your reporting systems.

To keep your business data on the safe side, we recommend switching to GA4 as early as possible. This will give you time to adapt your business systems and reports to the new toolkit and iron out issues related to the updated GA4 technology. 

When you migrate to GA4, you get enhanced new user behavior analysis tactics for SaaS companies. We suggest exploring the cross-device tracking and Predictive audiences features in detail, as these Explorations give a new (and very powerful!) way to learn more about your customers. 

As GA4 is still a new technology, we recommend hiring a specialist skilled in both Universal Google Analytics and GA4 to run the migration for your SaaS business. Contact our SaaS digital marketing agency today to discuss your migration options!



Listen to Alex, our web analytics wizard, explaining the main differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics, and the reasons why companies should facilitate migration at their earliest convenience.

About the author
Liudmila Kiseleva

Liudmila is one of the best-in-class digital marketers and a data-driven, very hands-on agency owner. With top-level education and experience, Liudmila is a true expert when it comes to digital marketing strategies and execution.

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