[GA4 Migration] How automatically created GA4 properties impact your Google Ads account

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has replaced Universal Analytics (UA). Starting July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties stopped processing data. (360 Universal Analytics properties with a current order will receive a one-time processing extension ending on July 1, 2024.) It's critical that you migrate your Universal Analytics property to Google Analytics 4. Learn how to Make the switch to Google Analytics 4.

Google Analytics 4 has replaced Universal Analytics. Starting on July 1, 2023, all standard Universal Analytics properties stopped processing data. 360 Universal Analytics properties with a current order will receive a one-time processing extension ending on July 1, 2024. Learn more about Universal Analytics going away.

As of April 2023, all your standard Universal Analytics properties that have received hits in the past 12 months have been replaced with automatically created Google Analytics 4 (GA4) properties based on the Universal Analytics conversions or audiences that you currently use.

Not all Universal Analytics configurations have an obvious Google Analytics 4 counterpart, and the automated process might not make the same choices as you would. We strongly recommend that you manually migrate your Universal Analytics property to Google Analytics 4.

If you don’t want GA4 key events and audiences to be automatically applied to your Google Ads account, you may be able to opt out.

In this article we'll explain:

How to opt out

The deadline to opt out of having Google Analytics 4 key events and audiences applied to your Google Ads account based on your Universal Analytics property was April 30, 2023. However, some individual properties still have opt out available. Check your Universal Analytics property to verify if opt out is still available for your property.

How automatically created GA4 properties work

Automatically created Google Analytics 4 properties can help you start your migration from Universal Analytics. Google is automatically migrating all Universal Analytics properties to Google Analytics 4. This migration will occur in 2 steps:

  1. Google will automatically create a Google Analytics 4 property for you based on the settings in your Universal Analytics property.

  2. Google will copy over any configurations (for example, goals, audiences, and more) from your Universal Analytics property that you haven't marked as complete in your GA4 property.

Eligible Google Ads links from your current Universal Analytics property will also be copied to your new Google Analytics 4 property. You’ll notice updated Google Ads key event and audience data that's been imported in your Google Ads accounts.

Step 1: Automated GA4 property configuration

Google will automatically create a GA4 property for you, based on the settings in your Universal Analytics property. If you have already created a GA4 property, and that property is connected to a Universal Analytics property, we'll copy over any configurations (for example, goals, audiences, and more) from your Universal Analytics property that you have not marked as complete in your GA4 property.

All of your eligible Google Ads links from your current Universal Analytics property will be copied to your new Google Analytics 4 property. You’ll notice updated Google Ads key event and audience data that has been imported in your Google Ads accounts.

For Google Analytics 360 customers: Automatically created Google Analytics 4 properties won’t be configured to replace your current Universal Analytics 360 properties. If you have Universal Analytics 360 properties, migrate on your own before your property stops processing data on July 1, 2024. If you have any questions, contact your Google representative.

Step 2: Automated switching to GA4 key events and pairing with GA4 audiences

Automatically created Google Analytics 4 properties can help you start your migration from Universal Analytics.

Review the following details to understand how newly created properties may impact your Google Ads account. Learn more about how an Automatically created property may impact your Google Analytics account.

Updated key events and key event goals

If you import key events from your Universal Analytics property into Google Ads and use them for bidding, your key events will be switched to the GA4 equivalent where possible. This involves the following steps in your Google Ads account:

  1. Import the equivalent GA4 key event.
  2. Set its action optimization setting to primary.
  3. Set the Universal Analytics conversion's action optimization setting to secondary.

You may notice discrepancies in your key event metrics because Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 measure key events differently. Switching your properties can cause short-term fluctuations in campaign performance and campaign spend as Google’s bidding models adjust to the new key events. Learn how to Fix your key event discrepancies.

To mitigate these fluctuations, you can adjust your budget and targets as needed. Learn more about Mitigating performance fluctuations and changes in Google Ads campaigns.

If you use a Universal Analytics conversion in a Google Ads custom goal, then the Universal Analytics conversion will be removed and replaced with an equivalent GA4 key event where possible.

If you use a Smart Campaign, your key events will be calculated with the Ads-preferred last click attribution model in Google Analytics before being imported into Google Ads. This helps capture more key events.

Learn more about Possible reasons for key event differences in GA4 vs. UA.

Paired Universal Analytics audiences

To facilitate the changes, we’ve attached equivalent Google Analytics 4 audience segments to campaigns and ad groups that are currently using UA audiences.

  • As of May 2023, the GA4 Setup Assistant set up a basic GA4 property for anyone who still depends on Universal Analytics audiences, and has not opted-out.
  • The new Google Analytics 4 property is linked to the same Google Ads account as the equivalent UA property. New audiences will automatically be exported from GA4 to Google Ads.
  • The equivalent GA4 based segments have been added to respective campaigns/ad groups that are using UA audiences. You may be able to opt out of this behavior.
  • To opt out, you will have to add individual Google Ads account IDs in the form. If you add a Google Ads manager account ID, this won’t opt out linked individual Google Ads accounts
  • Note that not all audience types will be automatically configured. We still recommend manual migration as the best path to move your campaigns from UA to GA4 audiences. Learn more about [UA -> GA4] Audiences migration guide.

Learn more about migrating audiences to Google Analytics 4.

If you import audiences from your Universal Analytics property into Google Ads and target them to or exclude them from your advertising campaigns, these audiences will be paired with the GA4 equivalent whenever possible.

To mitigate performance changes to audiences, learn more about Requirements to serve your ads.

Improve your migration experience

Before you confirm that your GA4 property is linked to your Google Ads account, complete your setup in Google Analytics.

If you've already started to migrate some of your Google tags, goals, audiences, Google Ads links, and/or key events used in Google Ads, but you haven't completed setup by early 2023, your property is also eligible for some automatic migration. For the best migration experience, make sure you Link a Google Analytics 4 property to Google Ads and Review linked properties in a Manager account.

You can learn how to increase confidence in your GA4 key event data and fix any key event discrepancies you might have.

How do I know if I use Universal Analytics or Google Analytics 4 currently?

If you currently use Universal Analytics, a blue notification at the top of your Google Analytics account that says "Universal Analytics will no longer process new data in standard properties beginning July 1, 2023" will be shown. Note that if you dismissed that notification earlier, it might no longer be displayed.

Another step is to look at your property ID:

  • Universal Analytics property IDs start with UA and end with a number (UA-XXXXXXXXX-1).

  • Google Analytics 4 property IDs have only numbers (XXXXXXXXX).

Next steps

Automatically created Google Analytics 4 properties contain only basic features. If you’d like to increase the value of your new property, be sure to review how to:

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