Best Practice Tips for Transitioning Google Ads to GA4

Tuesday, May 23, 2023


Written by

Senior Paid Media Executive

With the sunset of Universal Analytics (UA) fast approaching (only 42 days to go!), it is essential to ensure that you have transitioned your Google Ads effectively before it's too late. 

Below, we have compiled a list of some of the important areas to update and review for a smooth transitioning:

Conversion Tracking Switchover

One of the most essential aspects that you need to have transitioned over is your conversion tracking. If you have been using a UA goal import for your Google ads campaigns, this needs to be updated to a GA4 conversion goal import. 

UA stops reporting on July 1st, however it is recommended that you have all of your conversion goals switched over to primary goals by (at least) the end of May. Ideally, you’ll already have GA4 goals set up, imported and accumulating data within your Google Ads account, but if not, drop everything and do this immediately! This is to ensure that you have GA4 conversion actions with as much data as possible to switch over to, and at least 1 month to adjust your campaigns or review any issues that might arise.  

Whilst you are in the process of switching this over, there are some key components to consider: 

  • Once you have ensured that the GA4 goals are tracking accurately and you have switched over your GA4 goals to primary, remember to also set your UA goals to secondary to prevent any double tracking.

  • Remember to check and adjust any campaign level conversion tracking too.

  • It is likely that you will see minor fluctuations in performance after the switchover, therefore it is recommended to not make any major campaign changes for 1-2 weeks whilst your bidding strategy is settling and learning.

Campaign target adjustments

As mentioned above, there is likely to be a slight discrepancy in the conversion data between UA and GA4, and this is an important factor to consider for your campaigns as any changes made to the conversion tracking will have an effect on your account performance, especially on smart bidding strategies. 

Therefore, it is important to continually review and adjust your campaign bidding targets to align with your new conversion actions, making adjustments to cater for any increases/decreases in conversion volume. This adjustment should be continued after the learning phase is completed to ensure that your campaign targets are in line with your performance goals.

Migrating Your Audiences

If you are using Audiences within your campaigns, this is another important area that will need adjusting. By migrating your audiences from UA to GA4, you will be able to identify the same user groups and use these for your Google Ads campaigns. It’s important to ensure that you set up your audiences with the same conditions as UA to prevent any discrepancies in the users that could affect your campaigns. 

It’s also a great idea to make use of the wider audience capabilities of GA4, such as predictive audiences and audience triggers.

Again, it’s important to action these changes before the UA sunset date to allow yourself time to adjust anything if needed.