Google Analytics 4 Migration

How to upload UA data to GA4

Ken Bandong
February 2, 2023

How can I upload Universal Analytics data to GA4?

As you may already know, Universal Analytics will be going away on Jul 1, 2023. This means that Universal Analytics will stop processing data and data will only flow to Google Analytics 4 moving forward. You will still have access to your historical Universal Analytics data for 6 months starting July 1, 2023, and then will be permanently deleted after. This is why we strongly recommend migrating to GA4 as soon as possible to be able to familiarize yourself with the new user interface and ultimately collect data.

If you’re planning to migrate to GA4 or have already migrated, this article can guide you on what are the best and easy way for you to save your historical data which you may need in the future.

How can I export Universal Analytics Data to Compare to GA4?

There is no official documentation from Google on how you will be able to migrate your Universal Analytics data to GA4. I also don’t believe that this feature would be added because the 2 platforms use different data models. Please check out this blog discussing the difference between UA and GA4. What we can do is save your data for your future use.

It may have come across your mind to use Data Import Feature in GA4 but this isn't an option to upload your UA data to GA4. Data Import feature allows you to upload data from external sources which you can then join with your existing GA4 data. This means that you are unable to upload historical data that was captured way before your GA4 was setup. Additionally, the types of data that you can import to GA4 is limited to offline events, cost data, user data and item data.

At the moment there are several options for you to save your UA historical data which we will categorize as free and paid.

  1. For you to be able to save your historical data for free, you can always do the following

It is free but it is important to keep in mind that we are basically manually exporting each report so this can be time-consuming. That said, it is best to identify which report and dimensions you will need.

  1. Paid tools such as integrating UA to Google Big Query or with the use of Third Party Platforms such as Supermetrics and the like.

We can always use Google Data Studio for better visualization of your data when making comparisons to GA4. 

Why does this matters to my business?

Why is it important that we save our historical data? Well, Universal Analytics' historical data can be used to make important strategic decisions to better optimize campaigns and marketing efforts. Analysts can always benefit from having more useful data - and by collecting previous years worth of data, we’ll be able to identify trends.

At the moment, one thing is for sure, there is no direct way for you to migrate your UA data to GA4. 

However, I am still clinging to what Google has mentioned that they will provide a way for us to import UA data into GA4 which can happen in the next few months.

For now, the best action to take is to migrate to GA4 and start download your UA data based on our recommended methods.

Tools and Important Links

Google Analytics + Google Sheets Add-On

Google Sheets Sample Link

Dashboard Links

GA4 Dashboard

Google Sheets

Google UA

Session Difference:

Session in Universal Analytics is based on hits from cookie tracking, can start at midnight, when a campaign ends or encountering a new UTM tagging on your website.

Session in GA4 is using events based on activity upon loading of the website and is not restarted at midnight or on new parameters.

Ken has been providing Analytics support and giving insights for 4 years and currently works as an Analytics Specialist at AnalyticsMates and Zen Anchor. He is passionate in providing meaningful insights through data captured in Google Analytics. When not analyzing data, he is frequently backpacking the mountains with his dog and enjoys the serenity of being one with nature.