Case Study: Media, Gaming, Sports & Entertainment

Successfully migrating Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 for a media mogul

Published on April 5, 2024

Successfully migrating Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 for a media mogul

Published on April 5, 2024 | 1 mins read

News media giant Business Insider publishes original journalism and aggregated content across multiple verticals, such as business, finance, technology, and lifestyle. Founded in 2007, it operates with an online delivery model using advertising-supported and subscription-based content models.

The challenge

As soon as Business Insider learned that Google was sunsetting its Universal Analytics product (UA) in favor of the newer Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the company knew it had a problem. As the system with data on web traffic, UA was a centerpiece of the data for this all-online publisher. The UA instance was highly customized, and migration would take a lot of work. Mismanaging this migration could result in end users losing trust in the data entirely.

Business Insider needed to understand what would need to change and how. It also had to discover whether any difference between UA and GA4 metrics was expected or if it resulted from flawed implementation (either of the old or the new tool). Undergoing this investigation was also an opportunity to reassess their GA data strategy, simplify Frankensteinian customizations built over the years, and better understand the nuances of the data – but due to the migration timeline set by Google, this had to be carefully balanced.

The solution

DAS42 created a migration and benchmarking plan for the UA-GA4 transition. We identified differences between the old and new systems and documented metrics that should be comparable and to what extent.

The plan involved creating aggregate tables at page/site/day level and a corresponding Explore to compare metrics across the two systems. We thereby facilitated Insider identifying problems with their GA4 implementation (and undiscovered issues with their old UA implementation) before the full launch and switch of their source-of-truth system.

How did it turn out?

Business Insider successfully migrated from Universal Analytics to GA4 with time to spare, meaning they could run both systems in parallel for a time, which enabled direct comparisons when appropriate. Using our systematic approach, we identified issues with GA4 implementation and issues with the old UA metrics, which facilitated fixes before production rollout.

Our approach contributed to building confidence that Business Insider fully understood the known and intended variations between the old and new systems. Some metrics were comparable, but others were generated so differently in the new system that they were simply not comparable. Knowing this in advance increased end users’ trust in both the data and the data team.

Services provided

Data Platform Modernization & Migration icon

Data Platform Modernization & Migration

Dive Deeper
Data & Cloud Analytics Strategy icon

Data & Cloud Analytics

Dive Deeper
Self-Service Business Intelligence icon

Data Governance

Dive Deeper

Start maximizing your data’s full potential.