Properly Import Conversions from Google Analytics 4 (GA4) into Google Ads

Universal Analytics is going away. Google is moving from UA to GA4 on June 30th, 2023 [source]. Before making the migration, give Google Analytics 4 enough time to capture conversion data. This is a step in the process a lot of people are missing, which is causing Google Ads performance issues. My goal is to show you how to import conversions from GA4 to Google Ads in the proper manner. 

We had an eCommerce company that we did a consultation for. Unfortunately, their Google Ads performance suffered dramatically because they switched from UA to GA4 before collecting enough conversion data. I want to make sure the same issue don’t happen to your business during the GA4 migration. 

Best Practices For Importing Conversions From GA4 to Google Ads 

You should keep both tags, UA and GA4 on your website, allowing you to collect data from both sources. We recommend collecting data for at least two months from GA4 before making GA4 the primary conversion within Google Ads. 

Below is how your conversions should be structured initially within Google Ads, if you are importing them from Google Analytics. You should have both UA and GA4 conversions pulling into Google Ads, allowing each one to collect conversion data. UA should initially be set as the primary conversion while GA4 is set as the secondary conversion. Once you have sufficient conversion data from GA4, you can make the switch where GA4 will become the primary conversion. 

  • In order to locate the primary and secondary conversion within your Google Ads account go to “Tools and Settings” –> “Measurement” –> Conversions. “
  • To edit the primary and secondary conversion, click “Edit Goal” (highlighted) 
    • Below you can see how simple it is to change from primary to secondary action
  • If you need help importing conversions from Google Analytics to Google Ads, watch THIS VIDEO

The Power of Historical Data

Your Universal Analytics likely has a strong history of conversion data as this tag has been on your site for quite some time.

If you’re running Google Ads with automated bidding (Target ROAS, Maximize Conversions, etc.), Google Ads is relying on the analytics conversion data to properly optimize campaign performance. The last thing you want to do is create a brand new Google Analytics 4 property and import new conversion data into Google Ads. When your Google Ads campaigns are optimized for conversions and there is limited conversion data with GA4, performance will suffer as Google won’t be able to properly optimize.

Many people don’t understand that Google Analytics 4 has a unique tracking code and a different template tag in GTM [source]. You cannot simply “migrate” or “upgrade” a property from Universal Analytics to GA4; rather you must create a separate property altogether, meaning a new set of data needs to populate. This is why it’s important to keep GA4 as secondary conversion until you have sufficient data. 

What if I made the mistake of switching to GA4 As My Primary Conversion without giving it sufficient time? 

If you are seeing negative performance within your Google Ads account and realize that GA4 has been set as the primary conversion, consider switching back to Universal Analytics as the primary and moving GA4 to the secondary. Give your GA4 tag enough time to collect conversion data (ideally two months) before switching GA4 from the secondary to primary conversion. 

If the June 30th, 2023 deadline has passed, you won’t have the option of switching back to Universal Analytics. You must attempt to improve Google Ads performance with the GA4 existing pixel.

If you’d like professional assistance in migrating your conversion data or would like to speak with a team of experts to get a second pinion, contact The Media Captain

Jason Parks

Jason Parks started The Media Captain in 2010. He’s grown TMC into one of the largest digital agency’s in Ohio over the past decade.The Media Captain has worked with hundreds of small, medium and enterprise clients on digital marketing and development projects.The Columbus Based Digital Marketing Agency has received numerous accolades. TMC was named a Top 1% Agency in the U.S. by UpCity in 2019 and 2020. They also won the “Best PPC Campaign,” which was a national award from DashThis. They were also the recipient of the Top 10 Social Media Marketing Agencies in Ohio.

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