GA4 automigration : But why are people still opting for Manual Migration?

Mar 09, 2023

5 Minutes Read

By Abhishek Tiwari


Google will soon begin automatically converting your Universal Analytics assets to GA4 on your behalf.

As per the mail we received from Google’s end.

But will this be really helpful to know your data better? Most experts will say no to that because of multiple reasons.

Let us first understand what GA4 automigration is, and how it can be helpful in some scenarios and why people are not opting for the same though it is done from GA’s end.

What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4) automigration?

It  is a process where Google automatically creates a GA4 property for users who have a Universal Analytics (UA) property but haven't yet migrated to GA4. This is done based on the settings users have in UA, such as goals, audiences, ads links, and users.

But is it really enough to understand the data?.......

There are three scenarios in which users can be subject to automigration, but some people do not want this.

Firstly, for users who have a UA property but have not set up a GA4 property and have not opted out of the automigration setting, automigration is likely to happen. This is because it is a common scenario for users who have not had time or don't want to set up GA4 themselves.

Secondly, for users who have created a GA4 property but have not linked it to a UA property, Google does not know it is the same as the UA property and therefore doesn't consider this as migration.

Lastly, for users who have created a GA4 property and linked it to a UA property but have not completed all the GA4 setup assistant steps.

Now in such cases where we have limited time to migrate our UA to GA4 property in such cases or scenarios it is good to go for automigration as it will do fast filling but still where there is more than a quarter of time left we will suggest not to go for automigration.

How should the spaces be filled?

You can monitor the status of your migration with the assistance of the GA4 Setup Assistant, a 12-step tool.

Actually, it comes with some fairly helpful tools, like assistance with audience migration and a simpler procedure for Ads linking.

Some of the things are really useful in Setup Assistant:

  • Ads Linking: Usually, we require dual admin access, which means that in order to connect, you must be an admin on both the Analytics and Ads accounts. Making ensuring you have the appropriate access levels can be frustrating and time-consuming.

The setup assistant tool uses the links you already have in UA and links without requiring admin access to Ads, which is excellent if you're having someone who isn't typically engaged in Ads help you migrate.

A new screen appears after you select "Import from UA" and displays all of the Ads links you have configured in UA. After selecting "Import selected Ads links," you can mark or uncheck the boxes next to the items you want to transfer into GA4.

  • Conversions: Your conversions in UA will be compared by the tool to see if they qualify for migration to GA4.

Eligibility (for now): event or destination goals.

There may be more options in the future, but goals using other goal types or regex are not presently suitable for migration.

The eligible goals you want to move to GA4 conversions can be checked or unchecked on this migration screen, which is identical to the Ads linking screen. Goals that are not qualified will be greyed out.

You have the ability to alter the conversion's name, but because using an underscore is standard for GA4 I advise against doing so.

  • User’s Migrating: This one is less exciting than the other two, but it might be the most helpful if you want to copy a number of users who have access to your UA property to GA4.

With this one, selecting "Import from UA" will direct you to a Help Center page that describes the procedure.

For this, you'll need to use a Google Sheets Add-on application.. Although it may sound like labour, it is actually quite swift and not painful. It comes with excellent step-by-step instructions in the Help Center piece.

Now coming to the drawbacks, of automigration:

Everything you haven't "marked as full" in the GA4 Setup Assistant tool will be completed for you when you're setting up the automigration.

Certainly, as I already mentioned, the Setup Assistant has a few helpful tools. However, they are advantageous because you can manage the move on your own.

If you don't want Google to complete the Setup Assistant's 12 stages for you, you must mark each one as "Complete" even if you haven't completed it.

This is especially crucial for the following seven steps:

  • Turn on Google Signals
  • Conversions Set up
  • Define Audiences
  • Managing Users
  • Linking to Google Ads
  • Bidding to GA4 conversions
  • Targeting ads to GA4 audiences

Breaking a few of these down:

Connecting to Google Signals: Remarketing and retargeting with Google products involve Google Signals.

However, there might be legal consequences or restrictions in some nations, so I'd advise checking with your legal team to be positive.

Managing Users: No matter whether you want to grant them access to GA4 or not, Managing Users to Google will move every user from UA.

Bidding to GA4 conversions: The true threat starts at this point.

You are trusting Google's word that you still value the actions from UA that they could move if you allow them to migrate your conversions without checking them first.

The objectives that you are spending actual money on will change from UA conversions to GA4 conversions if you allow Google to bid on those conversions in Ads.

If you didn't set up those conversions, there's a chance that an automated process will spend your money in a way you don't want it to or that isn't tailored to your present objectives.

Trying to target Ads to GA4 Conversions raises the same issues as above because you would be asking Google to migrate audiences on your behalf and praying they are sufficient before placing a financial bid. Your supervision is eliminated from the operation.

Do you know how the migrated events would look like in GA4?

More information about the data you'll receive from automigration is provided below:

If using automigration, your UA events (in the form of Category/Action/Label) will be migrated to GA4.

However, they'll be moved in a less than optimal manner.

Event Label and Event Category from UA will become Attributes on the new event in GA4. The event name in GA4 will be the same as the event action from UA.


UA Category: purchase_journey

UA Action: add_to_cart

UA Label: items_added

GA4 Event: add_to_cart

GA4 Parameter category: purchase_journey

GA4 Parameter label: items_added

See how the definitions have completely changed, still it is easy to understand.

Let’s see one of the worst case scenarios.

UA Category: click

UA Action:

UA Label: (blank)

GA4 Event:

GA4 Parameter category: click

Although the first example shows how many UA implementations attempted to have appropriate conventions for event naming, the second example is much more typical.

As a result, hundreds or even thousands of distinct event names and URLs will be collected upon click, even through automigration.

The GA4 data schema is brand-new and provides the opportunity to greatly streamline data collection.

By enabling automigration, you will instantly contaminate your data and create a GA4 property that might be completely unusable.

Sincerely, this aspect of automigration by itself would make me want to flee, but when combined with the things I've said above, I think it's clear that you don't want Google to handle this for you.

Are you still sure that you ought to OPT-OUT of automigration??..

Here’s how:

To access the GA4 Setup Assistant in your Universal Analytics account, go to the Admin Property tab.

Turn OFF the switch labelled "Automatically set up a fundamental GA4 property" by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Dropping out will stop the migration of the UA property.

All 12 steps (or whatever you don't want automatically migrated) must be "Mark as Complete" in the Setup Assistant in your GA4 property if you don't opt-out but are linked (that popup modal we all keep receiving).

Be ready for Google to migrate some or all of your UA property to a GA4 property beginning as soon as this week if you do not opt out or designate everything as complete.

You'll benefit tremendously in the long run if you take the time and make the effort to deliberately adopt GA4.