In early February, all Universal Analytics users with Editor and higher access received an email blast from Google with the subject line We’ll soon configure Google Analytics 4 for you.
If you haven’t received it, check your spam folder.
Look for an email sent from firstname.lastname@example.org during February 2-10.
The title and opening paragraph of the email looks like this…
Some of our clients have received more than one email.
We absolutely agree with the opening paragraph above.
To maximize historical data and to ensure that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) meets your specific needs, we recommend you make the switch to Google Analytics 4 now.
Don’t stop. Keep reading!
… For any customer who does not set up a GA4 property with basic settings, starting in March, we will configure one with a few basic settings consistent with the existing Universal Analytics property…
…we will create a connected site tag that will reuse existing tags when possible to send traffic to the new GA4 property…
What this means is that if Google does not detect that you have a GA4 property connected to your UA property, Google is going to create a new GA4 property for you.
Ughhh! Get ready for GA4 property spam and clutter !!!
It doesn’t matter if you already have GA4 properties in your account.
UA 360 properties are an exception.
- Google will not create a GA4 360 property for you if you have an un-connected UA 360 property.
- However, if you are a UA 360 customer AND if you have non-360, free UA properties, the above automatic GA4 property creation applies to those non-360 UA properties.
Unconnected, non-360 UA properties within a 360 Google Marketing Platform Home Organization will have GA4 properties automatically created.
What should you do if you do not want the automatic GA4 property creation to occur in March 2023?
You have two options:
- Manually map and connect your UA and GA4 properties, or
- Opt-out of automatic GA4 property creation
The first option, manually mapping a UA property to a GA4 property is not an option for most of our clients.
In many cases, we have consolidated more than one UA property into one GA4 property, primarily because of cross-domain or sub-domain tracking.
The old UA properties still exist for historical reasons.
Opting out is an option mentioned in the Google’s email.
If you do not wish to have a GA4 property created and configured based on your Universal Analytics property and existing tags, you may opt-out.
How to Opt-out of Automatic GA4 property creation
Here’s how you opt-out:
- Go to Admin and select your Universal Analytics Property (middle panel).
- Click on GA4 Setup Assistant
- Scroll down on the page to “Automatically set up a basic Google Analytics 4 property“.
The blue toggle switch will be on by default.
To opt-out, toggle the switch off. Switch to grey. If the toggle switch is already grey and off, someone with Editor access has opted out already.
You don’t need to do anything further.
Here’s the 3-step optout process visually.
If you want to opt-out, opt-out by February 28, 2023 at the latest.
We don’t know exactly when in March Google will start creating GA4 properties.
Like many changes, it may be a phased rollout across the globe.
Here’s the Google support article about automatic GA4 property creation, and the opt-out process.
For most, manual opt-out is tedious and a bother but not an issue.
However, if you have hundreds non-360 UA properties, toggling each property off will be more than tedious.
There is a bulk opt-out API.
We’re working on a user-friendly bulk opt-out by Editor signin ID. It’s not suitable for everyone. Drop us a note if you are interested in bulk opt-out.
Take action now and avoid GA4 property spam.
Yes, you can clean up after by deleting all the extra GA4 properties you don’t need.
However, you risk making an error and deleting the GA4 property you invested time and energy configuring and setting up.
Update: If you’re wondering why we discourage automatic GA4 property creation, read
Why [UA to GA4] Automatic Property Creation is Risky for You
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