All about Google Analytic GA4
What is GA4?
Google Analytics 4 is the next generation of Google Analytics which collects event-based data from both websites and apps.
Why GA4 is important?
Universal Analytics / Google Analytics will stop processing new data on July 1, 2023 (users will have at least 6 months to access data after that)
GA4 is the future of Google Analytics, and as such, businesses that migrate to GA4 will be future-proofing their analytics capabilities.
The Bottom line
Universal Analytics is being phased out and GA4 is the new analytics tool. Anyone who does not transition to GA4 will ultimately lose data!
Why is Google Making the Change?
- Universal Analytics (UA) is intrusive.
- Measurement Types are differing between data
- Limited reporting capabilities
- No AI/ML to enhance insights predictions.
- Inability to combine app and web data.
- Funnel Capabilities are limited.
GA4 vs. Universal Analytics
|Properties & Views (silo)||Integrated Data|
|Limited cross-device & cross-platform reporting||Full cross-device & cross-platform reporting|
|Session / Cookie Tracking||Event-based tracking|
|No Automation||Machine Learning Support|
|Tracks all conversion events.||Conversions by session tracked.|
Improved User Privacy
GA4 is designed with privacy in mind and includes new features like Consent Mode, which allows users to control their data privacy settings. This is particularly important given the increasing Focus on Data Privacy and Regulations like GDPR.
Improved Data Collection
GA4 included data collection capabilities, allowing businesses to Collect more Comprehensive Data about user behavior across different platforms and devices.
This is particularly important in a world where Users Interact with businesses across multiple channels.
Better Data Insights
GA4 includes improved data analysis and visualization tools, allowing businesses to Gain more Insights from their Data. This includes machine learning models that can help identify trends and patterns in data, making it easier to make informed business decisions.
Enhanced integration with Google Ads and Google Cloud
GA4 integrates with Google Ads and Google Cloud, allowing businesses to Track and Analyze their Advertising Campaigns more effectively.
Tips for Using GA4
Steps to Prepare your Website for Migration
Review your Existing Data
Update your Website Tracking Code
Identify Current (or new) KPIs to track
Can Data be transferred from Universal Analytics to GA4?
Is Available or Can Transfer
Google Ads linking
Custom dimensions and metrics
Funnel and goals
Enhanced Ecommerce data
Site Search data
Time to conversion data
Raw hit-level data
User-level data for users that have not provided consent
User-level data that had been deleted
Data from custom features or integrations that are not available in GA4
Some attribution models, such as the first and last click attribution models.
Data from session-level customizations, such as session-level custom dimensions and metrics
Some reports that are not available in GA4, such as User Explorer and Cohort Analysis.
Tip #1 Set up Conversion Tracking:
Conversion tracking allows you to track specific actions that users take on your websites, such as form submissions or product purchases. Set up conversion tracking in GA4 to Gain insight into your Website’s Performance and identify areas for improvement.
Tip #2 Use the Exploration Reports:
The exploration reports in GA4 allow you to analyze your data using a variety of metrics, dimensions, and filters. Use these reports to gain insight into User Behavior and identify trends and patterns in your data.
Tip #3 Create Custom Metrics & Dimensions:
GA4 allows you to create custom metrics and dimensions that are tailored to your business needs. Use this feature to track metrics and dimensions that are unique to your business and gain a deeper understanding of your data.
Tip #4 Use Machine Learning Insights:
GA4 includes advanced machine learning capabilities that can help you identify key insights and trends in your data. Use these insights to optimize your website and improve your business performance.
Tip #5 Utilize the Data streams Feature:
Date Streams in GA4 allow you to track data from multiple sources, such as websites and apps, in a single property. Use this feature to gain a more comprehensive view of user behavior across different channels.
Tip #6 Set up Audience Tracking:
Audience tracking allows you to track user behavior based on specific characteristics, such as age, gender, or location. Use audience tracking in GA4 to gain insight into your target audience and optimize your marketing efforts.
How to Setup GA4
- Create a new GA4 Property
- Link your GA4 Property alongside your Universal Analytics Property
- Enable Data Import
- Map Your Data
- Verify Data is correct
Common Challenges in GA4
Common Issues #1 GA4 not showing Revenue
Solution: GA4 is not like Google’s Universal Analytics where currency value was optional, it’s now mandatory. By default through, it will be set to USD. Not to fear through!
The solution is simple: Head to the setting cog in the bottom left-hand corner > Property settings > adjust the currency displayed as setting.
Common Issues #2 Missing Reports in GA4
Solution: A Google extension from the Chrome store can help install the extension to keep your annotations from UA properties by importing them to GA4 follow these simple steps:
- Download and install an extension from Google Chrome.
- Use the dashboard for all annotation functions.
- Click “Add Manual” to manually add annotations.
Our recommended extension – Automated Google Analysitcs Annotations GA4-UA.
Common Issues #3 GA4 not showing Conversions
Solution: The most common reason that you’re not seeing your conversions is that you haven’t marked your ‘events’ as ‘conversions’. Fixing this is simple:
- Go to your GA4 Account
- Go to settings
- Now click on ‘Events’
- You will see the events tab console like below. If you want a particular event (i.e. one of the most important ones) to be marked as a conversion, simply toggle to ‘Mark as conversion’.
- In our case, ‘Email_Click’, ‘Form_Submission’, and ‘Phone_Click’ are marked as conversions.
- Now click on the ‘Conversion’ tab available in the ‘Reporting’ menu. You will see your important events are now available as conversions. (Note this may take up to 48 hours to show)
Common Issues #4 GA4 “Missing” Metrics
Solution: There is no solution to bring some metrics back i.e. average session etc. You can report on similar metrics i.e. engaged sessions could replace bounce rate and average session combined.
An Engaged session means the user had 10 seconds or longer on the page or had 1 or more conversions, not the same, but the best replacement as you will find.
Tips for Avoiding Common Pitfalls when using GA4
Create a comprehensive implementation plan
Use a tag management system
Follow naming conventions
Set up enhanced measurement
Use data streams to collect data from multiple sources
Set up data filters
Test and validate your implementation
Always send the debug_mode parameter