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The Challenge

Sustrans are a non-profit organisation and custodians of the National Cycle Network, dedicated to making it easier for everyone to walk, wheel and cycle since 1977. 

They work across the UK to rally volunteers, fundraise and advocate for policy change to create healthier places and improve access to the outdoors for everyone. 

Sustrans needed help migrating their main website and multiple other project sites from Universal Analytics (UA) to GA4 before the switch-over deadline.

Google Analytics underpins any marketing team’s decisions with its in-depth website and app performance data. 

From providing traffic acquisition statistics to analysing how users engage with the site and monitoring the impact of any changes, it was vital that Sustrans were able to successfully migrate from UA to GA4 with specialist insight, expertise and experience for a smooth transition and uninterrupted reporting. 

We had to ensure seamless set-up, consistent tracking and comprehensive data reporting throughout the switch. 

Alongside the GA4 migration, it was imperative that we kept Sustrans’ online presence up to date with the latest cookie policies on tracking user data.  

In October 2020, Google unveiled GA4 as the default replacement of UA, with a gradual rollout planned over the next few years.

When Sustrans came to us, Google had announced that standard UA properties would stop processing new data from July 1 2023, encouraging users to adopt GA4 by June 2023 at the latest for a smooth transition and consistency in data reporting. 

A seamless and automatic transition was by no means guaranteed.

Manual migration was required to ensure minimal data discrepancies. 

We needed to transfer multiple Analytics properties over to GA4, including Sustrans’ three main websites, their online store and several smaller microsites. The deadline was tight, with nine different data accounts needing to be transferred.

This bespoke job required the expertise of our experienced Data Science team. 

While UA mainly reported on statistics around sessions and pageview data, GA4 is shaped to store the same information as events and parameters, so it was vital that we set up each property to collect the required data as accurately as possible for Sustrans to report on in future. 

What We Did

What We Did

Our Data Science team got straight to work reviewing Sustrans’ current tracking and goal setup. While our team were already well-versed in updating clients in readiness for the switch-over, the main Sustrans site proved more complex due to its size.

We immediately reviewed each account to determine what tracking and performance data already existed to envisage the scope of the job. 

This ensured we could replicate this for each account and track key metrics, as well as where conversions were being carried out on site.

We also produced technical documentation for Sustrans’ team to quickly and easily implement hard-coded Analytics tracking where needed. 

Our team also carried out a crawl of each site to support them with cookie compliance, checking each banner and policy was updated to include any new cookies required for GA4. 

Once this was complete, a workshop and comprehensive GA4 training was put in place for Sustrans’ marketing team and content writers to help them manage GA4’s elements with confidence. 

We provided a run-through, practical demonstration and bespoke training session with learning packs for a dozen Sustrans team members to help them manage performance data going forwards. 

As a final measure, we created a bespoke data dashboard for Sustrans to better visualise their overall performance 

Ascensor’s experts were on hand remotely afterwards, so their team could call on our expertise whenever it was needed.



Sustrans successfully migrated over to GA4 with close attention to detail and efficiency, enabling a smooth transition that followed GDPR guidelines. 

Our support allowed Sustrans to report nearly 150K sessions a month, tracking across 500 locations nationwide.

Having this data on hand helps inform Sustrans’ marketing strategy and improve overall engagement.

Both UA and GA4 views were brought under the same property for easy switching and comparison between the two datasets. 

Ascensor conducts GA4 training sessions so key members of teams can seamlessly gather insights. Our collaboration with Sustrans saved them time and boosted their reporting efficiency, with complete peace of mind on site performance metrics and retaining compliance with customer data policies. 

We continue to provide Sustrans with regular insights into website performance across their domains and look forward to our continuing partnership.

What Sustrans said...

Sustrans required expert help and guidance to support our migration from UA to GA4, I’m so glad we chose Ascensor to lead us through the challenging process. Their expertise allowed for a seamless migration during a sensitive and time critical period for Sustrans. The level and extensive nature of Ascensor’s expertise is exactly what Sustrans required during the project, and we were not let down at all, the collaborative approach meant that not only did we achieve completion within an aggressive timeframe, but we were left with significantly greater insight and capability to manage our website performance moving forward.  A great example of joined up, unified working across both our organisations, very much looking forward to working alongside Ascensor again in the future.

Barrie Grimshaw – Chief Information Officer

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