This week, I have been losing my mind after I saw new events and conversions appearing in GA4 with the number 2 appended to the end of existing ones. Like this:
But only for a couple of accounts.
And only custom events seemed to have this problem.
Which I thought was super weird.
At first, I was convinced this was due to the rollout of the new Google Tag which started this month, as I was only seeing these events being fired under the new tag in Google Tag Manager (GTM).
Assuming the new Google Tag was the thing causing the issue, I ran multiple tests. But I couldn’t work out why the duplicate event was only *sometimes* showing in GA4.
Anyway, after having a complete meltdown, I finally stumbled across the reason for this issue. GA4 had automatically imported legacy Universal Analytics (UA) settings on the affected accounts.
Why this migration happened now, and not in July when Universal Analytics stopped collecting data, who knows.
Here’s why it happened, why it sucks, and how to fix it.
Why am I seeing duplicate Events and Conversions with the number 2 in my reports?
This is due to the GA4 auto-migration. As part of the shift to GA4 from Universal Analytics, users were badgered to carry over Universal Analytics settings to a GA4 profile.
I mean, it sounds like a good thing that Google will carry over Universal Analytics settings, right?
Well, it wasn’t if you’d started from scratch, rebuilding events in GTM or directly in GA4 that already existed in UA.
Many people would have accepted the recommendation to do this, and Google was very persistent in its attempts to make users do so.
Google was constantly emailing account admins telling them to complete the GA4 setup (even if it was done already), displayed a stupid pop-up box asking if you wanted to connect a GA4 property to an existing Universal Analytics property EVERY TIME YOU LOGGED IN to Analytics, as well as constantly reminding people to go and tick off the boxes in the setup assistant with in-platform notifications.
Even if you didn’t accept the auto-migration, it may have gone ahead and done it anyway. If you didn’t mark the setup assistant tasks as complete, chances are the settings would have been migrated over, as you had to opt out prior to the sunsetting of UA to prevent it happening. Gah.
How can I identify if GA4 has created these duplicate events?
This will only occur if you had Events already set up in Universal Analytics previously and configured in the same way. You’ll also likely only see this if the setup was done via Google Tag Manager (GTM).
In the Engagement report section, you may have noticed that you are seeing Events and Conversions with the number ‘2’ appended to them, in addition to the original Event/Conversion you set up. For example, ‘email/email2’, ‘book_meeting’, book_meeting2’.
To find out if this is the issue for certain, navigate to Property > Property Change Settings under the main settings menu. Here, you’ll see all of the settings that were migrated from Universal Analytics to GA4.
How can I fix this issue?
The auto-migration doesn’t appear to be reversible. But the good news is, you can just go into Events and Conversions in GA4, and turn those suckers off.
Are you experiencing any other issues with GA4? Feel free to message me to have a good old rant here.