Google Analytics is going to automatically create a GA4 (Google Analytics 4) property for you if you haven't yet upgraded the Univeral Analytics property to GA4.
However, I don't this is a good move by Google Analytics. Just like many other updates by Google Analytics, this is also not a well thought out step by them.
What is UA to GA4 Automatic Upgrade Process?
If you don't create a Google Analytics 4 property using "GA4 Setup Assitant" then Google Analytics will create a GA4 4 property for you. This new Google Analytics 4 property will be connected with the corresponding Universal Analytics property. It will also have equivalent basic features such as goals and Google Ads links.
Nothing wrong with it, right?
This automatic process is likely giving you a false send of security. We are all used to upgrades e.g. Windows automatically upgrades to the new version, iPhone automatically upgrades to the operating system, etc. However, the upgrade by GA4 is not that. GA4 is a new product with a new data model, reports, interface, etc. The upgrade process will create a new instance of GA4 and you likely won't have a clue about how to use it.
Additionally, the upgrade process will create a very basic setup of GA4. A lot of your goals, events, etc. might not even be configured in GA4 and even if they get configured they might not function properly.
The new setup will also use existing tags, which will send data to GA4 without you having a clear understanding of what data is being sent and from where.
This will leave you with a sub-optimal setup that will need to be cleaned and properly set up before you can use it to make any business decision. In most cases, you will have to start fresh and set it up properly.
What Should You Do?
Step 1: Disable the automatic upgrade process right away.
This will ensure that you don't unnecessarily create a property that is half-baked. If you are the only one using GA then that might be ok but if there are others logging into your account, you will end up answering a lot more questions about the new GA4 property than you might be prepared for. So disable this upgrade process. You have till Jun 30th to get ready with GA4.
To disable, go to the admin panel of UA property, click on "GA4 Setup Assistant", scroll down to "Automatically set up a basic Google Analytics 4 property" and toggle the button next to disable it.
Step 2: If you aren't familiar with GA4 yet then first learn GA4
We have several resources to get you ready with GA4. You can start by downloading the free GA4 guide.50+ things to know about GA4.
If you want to learn GA4 step by step at your own pace then check out GA4 Zero To Hero - Complete Google Analytics 4 course
We also conduct corporate training, so if that's what you are interested in then reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 3: Setup GA4 with proper settings and configuration
This is a time for you to evaluate your current UA setup and clean it. We have looked at a lot of setups recently and found that most setups are out of syn with current business requirements.
Work with your stakeholder and see which reports, metrics, goals, tracking, etc. make sense and which ones don't. Remove the clutter from your tracking. Many metrics that required setup in UA are now automatically tracked in GA4 so you might not need the previous tracking.
Create a well-thought-out measurement plan before you start tracking anything in GA4.
This is your time to start fresh.
If you need help then reach out to us and we can help you up and running smoothly.
Step 4: Leverage the new capabilities of GA4 to create a Data-Driven Culture
GA4 provides a lot more capabilities than UA ever did. You can conduct was deeper analysis to drive better business outcomes. You can even send the data to BigQuery and build a data warehouse that will let you analyze and target users with the right offers at the right time. Possibilities are endless with GA4. Check out Unleashing the Power of BigQuery and GA4: Why Marketers Should Use These Tools Together.