Google Analytics 4 now supports the use of regular expressions (regex) for creating and modifying events, allowing for a smoother migration of destination and event goals from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. This new feature offers a more programmatic approach to the GA4 migration process, especially as the deadline for the switch from UA3 looms just 87 days away.
Key Feature: Regular Expressions
Defining Conversions with Regex
Google has stated that this new feature enables users to define conversions using regular expressions for web data streams. However, it is important to exercise caution with regex, as it can be highly technical and exacting.
Why This Matters
As the deadline for migrating from UA3 to GA4 approaches, many are scrambling to not only transition to the new platform but also to transfer their goals and events. Regex support offers a powerful method for matching and migrating old events in a more programmatic manner, potentially aiding those in the midst of the migration process.
How to Use Regex in Google Analytics 4
To avoid using malformed regex expressions that may negatively impact site performance, Google recommends following these best practices:
- Use other operators where possible: Before resorting to regex, consider using other operators, such as exact matches or “contains,” if applicable.
- Test your regex: Ensure your regex matches what you expect by testing it against expected inputs.
- Specify case sensitivity: If case sensitivity is crucial, use an option that doesn’t state “(ignore case).”
Avoiding Performance Issues with Regex
Google also advises users to steer clear of unbounded or nested repetitions, as matching time can increase exponentially. Instead, make sure to define a maximum number of expected repetitions.
|Use other operators
|Unbounded or nested repetitions
|Undefined maximum repetitions
|Specify case sensitivity
What it looks like. Here is a screenshot of this interface for using regular expressions:
The Road Ahead: GA4 Migration
With only 87 days left before the deadline to migrate to GA4, it is crucial for users to make the most of the available tools and features, such as regex support for event management. By following Google’s best practices and recommendations, users can effectively migrate their destination and event goals while minimizing potential issues and maximizing the benefits of the new platform.