How to migrate to GA4 using Tealium. In-depth checklist.

Jun 16, 2023 | Digital Analytics, GA4, Tealium


In these weeks we’ll start with a new Posts Series on : How to migrate from GA3 (Universal Analytics) to GA4 – Tealium detailed checklist.

In this post we’ll discuss from top to bottom how to migrate from GA3 —> GA4 with emphasis on TealiumIQ. All information in the posts is to some extent Tealium-independent then I highly suggest looking at it regardless of the Tag Management System you have on your website ( even if you have none )

Let’s get an overarching view of the task at hand by analysing the following checklist. In part also graphically represented in the picture in this post. My suggestion when tackling migration is always to achieve 2 goals. The migration itself, of course, also takes the chance to improve the existing setup. With GA4 this should be always in your mind being the collection methods, in some situations, try different from former GA versions

0. Pre-work

  • Identify events to migrate. This will come in handy when we have to decide if we can leverage automatically collected events instead of custom ones
  • Identify custom dimensions/metrics . The limit set by GA4 is different from the former version. Here is the link to the Google documentation for details. Also, this step is important for further adjustments later

1. New GA4 Architecture

  • Make a list of all your GA properties/views. With the new capabilities, GA4 offers you can also drastically limit your property numbers as well as the views associated with them.
  • Learn about Data Streams and Sub Properties. Here 2 interesting articles about Data Stream and Sub Properties
  • Decide about the best architecture for your GA4 account. Will you use 3 different properties for each platform ( Web, Android, iOS )? Will you collect the Sandbox traffic in a new Data Stream or in a brand-new property?

2. Initial implementation

  • Install GA4 using Tealium.
  • Set the core variables mapping. I.E.  It can be that in the former GA version you were overriding the Page Location with a different page structure. In this and similar cases you have to first adjust the mapping to have reliable data collection

3. Audience tracking (Sessions, Users, Page Views)

  • Create reports and/or explorations to compare the GA3 <—> GA4 data collection. To have the most reliable comparison you should use GA3 report  vs GA4 report and GA3 Audience Segment vs GA4 Exploration
  • Understand the difference between Page views in GA4 compared to GA4. With GA4 the page view is now an event while with GA3 it had its own “hit type” Page View
  • Understand when a session starts in GA4 compared to GA3. Let’s explore when a “session_start” event happens in GA3 and GA4
  • Take always in account that a certain percentage of differences in the data collection should be present. I’d suggest to have 5% as Acceptance Criteria

4. Event Tracking

  • Get acquainted with Enhanced measurement and automatically collected events. They are not the exact same thing. More info on this article.
  • Decide if use automatically collected events or custom ones
  • Difference between standard and custom events. I.E.  Should you use the standard “generate_lead” event or keep your old different submit events ?
  • Difference between GA3 vs GA4 events
  • How to set up events in Tealium. Let’s have a look at how to map the right parameters to enable event collection
  • How to set up custom parameters in GA4 and in Tealium
  • How to setup goals in GA4

5. Custom dimensions & metrics

  • Difference between Custom definition scopes in GA3 vs GA4. Should I scope the CD/CM to the user or to the event ? Read here to know more about the difference. Also an extra bit about session and product scope parameters.
  • Workarounds for CD/CM and event custom parameters GA4 limits. Do you need more Custom Definition slots ? Here are a few tips on how to gain some new slots in your GA4 account.
  • How to set up custom definitions in GA4 and map them in Tealium

6. E-Commerce

  • Mandatory E-Commerce parameter to map in Tealium
  • How to setup E-Commerce using Tealium EventStream
  • Let’s explore Enhanced Ecommerce events
  • Can I have more than 1 E-Commerce flow tracked in Google Analytics 4?

7. Link 3rd party services to Google Analytics ( Google Ads, BigQuery )

  • How to link BigQuery. Differences between GA3 and GA4
  • How to link Google ADS to your GA4 Property

8. Traffic attribution

  • Custom and default Channel grouping. GA3 vs GA4
  • Referral exclusion list. GA3 vs GA4
  • UTM parameters.  GA3 vs GA4
  • Is Auto Tagging still working for Google ADS ?

It was a lot. I know. But after you’re done with this list you’re more than halfway trough a successful migration.

If you feel overwhelmed by all these action items get in touch with us to discover the best way to go through this migration.
We offer a free 15 mins consultation call to discuss your Tracking Environment. Not only GA but also other Digital marketing vendors like Facebook, Linkedin, Criteo and more broadly everything related to Tealium ( yeah, all the vendors present there ! )

Related posts

Tealium Crash Course

Tealium Crash Course

What will be covered in the course What is Tealium 2 Real World scenarios: 2 Google ADS tag implementations. </strong >While going through this scenario we’ll learn: How to request Permissions...

read more