Are you experiencing issues with the automatic migration of GA4? Let’s discuss alternatives!

Author : Ayruz

Insight by: Ayruz

As of July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics (UA) properties will no longer process new hits. This is because Google is phasing out UA and replacing it with their newer measurement solution, Google Analytics 4 (GA4). To help with the transition, Google offers UA users an automatic migration to GA4, which will occur unless you opt out. In this article, you’ll find details about the automatic migration process, any possible issues that could arise during a GA4 migration, and other options available.

Migration to GA4

Google has announced that starting in March 2023, they will be configuring Google Analytics 4 for users. Suppose you currently have a Universal Analytics (UA) property but have not yet migrated to GA4. In that case, Google will automatically create a GA4 property for you based on many of your UA settings. This includes your goals, audiences, Ads links, users, and more. Additionally, even if you have already set up GA4, you may still be subject to automatic migration.GA4 auto migration process

Google will automatically migrate your account in three situations:

1. If you have an active UA property but still need to create a GA4 property.
2. If you have created a GA4 property but have yet to connect it to your UA property.
3. If you have created a GA4 property but still need to complete the setup process.

What are the criteria for automatic migration eligibility?

If you have a non-360 UA property and have received data in the past 12 months but do not use goals, audiences, or Google Ads integrations, the deadline for opting out of automatic migration was February 28, 2023. However, if your property uses goals, audiences, or Google Ads integrations, you have until March 31, 2023, to opt out.

Once the automatic migration for a UA property begins, the ability to opt-out will no longer be available. If a UA property is 360-enabled, it cannot be migrated automatically and must be manually migrated. You have until July 1, 2024, to migrate in accordance with Google’s current deprecation timeline.

Opting out of auto migration

Google actually suggests that it’s better to create your properties manually rather than opting for GA4 auto migration. Although this may seem like a contradictory suggestion, it’s actually wise to do so as the automatic configuration doesn’t hold much value if you manually migrate your settings. By carefully examining the disparities between UA and GA4, you’ll come to the realization that manual migration offers you some control over what is migrated from UA, how it’s migrated, and when. When it comes to creating Google Analytics 4 properties, this is particularly important.

How to opt-out?

Those with UA property-level Editor access can go to the GA4 Setup assistant page to enable or disable automatic migration for UA properties. Simply head over to Admin and look for GA4 Setup Assistant in the Property column. Scroll down to find the switch for Automatically set up a basic Google Analytics 4 property and turn it off. Suppose you missed the opt-out window and ended up with an automatically configured GA4 property you don’t want. In that case, you can go to the GA4 Setup Assistant and disconnect the Connected property. Then, proceed to delete your GA4 property.

Opting out via API

If you have UA properties that are eligible for migration but you don’t want to migrate them, you can use the GA Admin API method “setAutomatedGa4ConfigurationOptOut” to confirm their opt-out status programmatically. For more information on how to opt out via API, please check the details.

Opting out via add-on for Google Sheets

To opt-out of multiple properties at once, you can utilize the GA4 Migrator for Google Analytics add-on in Google Sheets. Once installed, choose “Set the automated GA4 setup opt-out status” and simply follow the on-screen instructions. This is particularly useful for managing automatically created Google Analytics 4 properties.

GA4 auto migration problems

Before considering automatic migration from UA to GA4, it’s important to note that the migration process depends on your event tracking setup. If you use multiple UA goal types, avoiding automatic migration is best. Additionally, it’s important to understand that there is a difference in the data model between UA (session-based) and GA4 (event-based), although both platforms allow for tracking similar details.

It’s also important to note that the automatic migration only includes integration with Google Ads. Integrate data with other platforms or tools such as data visualization tools, BI platforms, data warehouses, and CRM systems. There may be better options than automatic migration for you.

Even if you use Google Ads, exercising caution with automatic migration is important. The rotation of primary and secondary conversions in Google Ads with no data validation could result in double conversions and false CPCs. Please refer to the Bidding to GA4 guide—conversions section for more information.

Though the automatic migration tool has been around for a while, there are some issues with it:

  • This direct mapping solution will disregard non-compliant GA4 tags, if they are present.
  • If your current UA setup has any issues, those same issues will carry over to your GA4 setup.
  • Using the GA4 function in UA may result in the exposure of PII in your Google Analytics 4 data, as the function cannot redact it from incoming data. Proceed with caution.
  • It’s possible to violate GDPR privacy rules if inline remarketing settings are set to OFF but automatically change to ON. The Google Ads cost data importer also automatically enables the ad personalization feature in the GA4 setup wizard.
  • Upgrading to GA4 provides an opportunity to improve tracking privacy by adding a consent mechanism during new property setup. The auto migration tool will retain the old tracking tags, allowing for the preservation of existing setups that do not comply with regulations such as GDPR.
  • In GA4, you can only have a maximum of 50 custom dimensions and 50 custom metrics for your event setup. If you exceed these limits, the automated migration might prioritize tracking less important events while omitting those you depend on in UA.
  • If your website uses mobile AMP pages, it may not be accurately reported by GA4 since it does not support AMP.

Bidding to GA4 conversions

If you allow Google to migrate your UA conversions without reviewing them, you essentially agree that these actions are still relevant to your business goals. This means that Google can change your UA goals to GA4 conversions and bid on them in Ads. However, if you don’t manually designate your GA4 conversion events as primary and import them, your conversion counts may be duplicated. It’s important to note that the auto migration process won’t automatically stop bidding on UA conversions when you start bidding on GA4 conversions.

If you haven’t set up these conversions, there’s a risk of automated processes spending your money in ways that don’t align with your current goals. This is particularly true when it comes to targeting ads to GA4 conversions. If you rely on Google to migrate your audiences, there’s a chance that they may not be up to par. As a result, you may end up bidding on audiences that aren’t optimized for your business needs.

Here are some issues with GA4 conversions and Google Ads auto migration/integration:

  1. The decrease in Google Ads prices could be due to issues with GA4 imported conversions, which can affect the effectiveness of CPA bidding.
  2. If you run GA4 imported conversions and Adwords conversions simultaneously, both set to primary for CPA bidding, it may cause inflation in Google Ads.
  3. Google Ads inflation may be happening because GA4 is counting conversions multiple times without removing duplicate same-session conversions. A visit to print order pages is one example of this.

Consider some examples of GA4 conversions where automatically imported goals could cause inaccuracies:

  • If you’ve manually created a GA4 property using the setup wizard and linked it to UA, the default currency may have been changed from what was originally imported. This can result in inaccurate migrated GA4 goal values. Newly added GA4 events are not automatically converted to the local currency, which can lead to over or underbidding and incorrect Google Ads conversion values being recorded.
  • When using Paypal with GA4, the exclude referral setting is not transferred over. As a result, conversions will not be properly attributed to SEO or PPC, but instead to referrals from In order to fix this problem, you will need to make some adjustments to the referral settings in GA4.
  • GA4 does not support importing Smart Goals, Duration Goals, or Pages/Session Goals.
  • Unfortunately, RegEx URL and event-based goals cannot be imported and must be copied manually.

GA4 does not test or verify that a goal is working when it imports from UA into GA4. Furthermore, there’s no automatic validation when it rotates your Google Ads’ primary and secondary goals from UA to GA4 as the primary goal to use for CPA bidding.

Read more about GA4 auto migration issues.

What are the alternatives?

There are a few things that you may do:

  1. To avoid automatic migration, navigate to the settings and opt-out.
  2. To personalize your migration, you can manually import the GA4 transaction or conversion if you’re using Google Ads. After importing, review it to ensure there are no duplicates of primary conversions, and then opt-out. To prevent these changes from being overwritten, change the Bid on GA4 conversions to Mark as complete in the GA4 setup wizard.
  3. Your GA4 property may have been set up automatically if you missed the opt-out deadline. In that case, you can delete it.
  4. Please search for a substitute to GA4.


Moving your UA properties to GA4 can be difficult, whether you attempt it yourself or rely on Google’s automation tool. This task becomes even more challenging if you have a significant amount of data or a lot of customized configurations. Your data is crucial, and its accuracy, control, and integrity are equally important. Therefore, it is wise to weigh all of your options before beginning the GA4 migration process. One possible alternative is to use a different platform with a session-based model, such as UA, to gather more data automatically without the need for customized implementations.

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