GA 4 of Google Analytics 4 is the newest analytics tool from Google enabling app and web analytics, which the predecessor didn’t include!
Data has become one of the most important aspects of running a successful business online. Whether this is through an APP designed to simplify the lives of individuals or through a website designed to provide information. Understanding the data and analytics can help improve content quality and traffic.
With the release of GA4, I and many others have made the swift transition from Universal Analytics, the predecessor, to the new and improved version. Starting can be tricky, but it shouldn’t be. Thanks to my journey of using the app over the last few months. I can provide a clear tutorial for beginners to start.
What Is Google Analytics 4?
First, I should start by discussing what GA4 is and why the new version is so much better than the previous version (Universal Analytics).
The key difference between the two stems from the additional feature, which enables the user to not only track web analytics, but app analytics as well.
The big change is that GA4 changes the structure with which data is handled. Compared to the predecessor, which focuses more on ‘hit” types (event hits, page hits, and eCommerce hits), the new version is event-based.
With GA4, everything that happens is captured as events, enabling the software to include additional information for the website owner. Thanks to the new design and additional information, I could create better funnels with the information.
The Difference Between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics
One of the first things you should know about Google Analytics 4, which we have already mentioned, is that hit types are registered as events. For instance, Universal analytics will show each hit type as a page view or social interaction. But Google Analytics 4 would register it as an event.
The way data is collected will be the main difference with sessions on Universal Analytics consisting of things like page views, events, and social interactions. When it comes to UA, a session is defined as finished once 30 minutes of inactivity have been registered.
For Google Analytics 4, the time is extended significantly, and a session metric would be derived from the start_session event. Duration would be calculated based on the first and last event to take place, giving you a more in-depth analysis of the specific session.
How Do You Set Up Google Analytics 4?
To set up GA4, you will either need to use Google Tag Manager or Setup Assistant. As a new user, I found that using Google Tag Manager is much easier due to the easy guidance provided. Some other people who are more experienced with using the system found that migrating the UA properties with Setup Assistant and changing the configuration settings can be easier.
Beginners Tutorial For Google Analytics 4
Setting Up GA4 with Google Tag Manager
For beginners, I would recommend that using Google Tag Manager should be far easier to help you get started. Here is how I found the best way to set up the system:
- Visit Google Analytics Homepage: First, you would want to visit the homepage. Which allows you to click on the ‘get started today’ button. You will need to follow the instruction and log in with your Google account. Once logged in, you will fill in the details for the account setup.
- Account Data Sharing: Next, you should enable your account data sharing with other Google products and services. This can be done by simply ticking the enable or disable function.
- Property Setup: Once you have progressed, you will reach the property setup. Now, you can create one, which would measure the data.
- Providing Additional Business Info: Finally, you will have the option to provide more information regarding your business and the selected industry. This will help ensure GA4 can work specifically to your needs.
- Finishing Up: Once done, you will need to click the ‘create’ button to finalize the account settings. After this, you can accept the terms and conditions to finish the setup process.
Once you have set up GA4, you can navigate to the Data Streams section in the admin tab. You should enable data collection for your site. You will be prompted to enter your URL and create the stream. Your data should slowly start to filter through under the “Data Streams” section. And you can simply add more streams if you need to track multiple platforms.
Adding Google Tag Manager
- Once you have your GA4 account created, you will need to log into the Google Tag Manager homepage using your Google account details. Follow the prompts by entering the name of your business and the country you are using it from.
- Next, you will create a container name on the container setup tab and select the platform you will use. You can choose between web and app analytics using the new GA4 software.
- To finish the setup, you also need to click on the Terms of Service and tick the GDPR condition. Once done, you can accept this by clicking yes, and you should be logged into Google Tag Manager.
- To integrate Tag Manager into your website, you will find <head> and <body> tags on your website. You can copy the code snippets into these tags on your website by opening the Theme File Editor on your WordPress site.
- Under the Theme Files, you will find the header.php template, and you can copy the code snippets into the <head> and <body> tags.
On the Google Tag Manager dashboard, you should click and add a new tag; this should reveal a few tag type options from Google Tag
- Manager. Here, you will choose the GA4 configuration option. You should enter your measurement ID. This can be found in the data streams section. (Admin> Property> Data Streams).
- Now, you should activate the triggering setup and select which pages you want to trigger. You will want to create a name for the tag to distinguish it from the others. And check via the preview whether it is working correctly.
- You will want to add your URL to the Tag Assistant window and receive the “tag assistant connected message before clicking finish and continue.
- The summary page will now give you some data, but you can use DebugView to ensure that Google Analytics 4 is collecting your data efficiently. The DebugView can be accessed through the GA4 dashboard and will be located on the sidebar.
- Once you are sure that everything works, you can click on the submit button and create a version name before clicking publish to finalize tracking.
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Using Google Analytics 4 with Setup Assistant
If you already have a Google Analytics account, using GA4 Setup Assistant would make the configuration process that much easier for users. The benefit is that you can create a GA4 account, without changing or losing the data on your previous Universal Analytics account. Here is how you can dothis:
- Migrating Universal Analytics To GA4: You would want to start by clicking on Admin in the Google Analytics dashboard and selecting the account you wish to migrate. Once selected, choose the GA4 Setup Assistant.
- Creating a GA4 Property: Now, you will see the option to create a property for GA4 that mirrors that of your existing analytics system.Finishing Up: Finally, you can click on the Get Started button, which will show you the property and data stream details which have been migrated.
If everything has been efficiently set up, you will be in a position where you can add new tags to existing websites and start the tracking process. Using the same method discussed in the previous section, you can efficiently set up your tracking for events.
Understanding Event Tracking On Google Analytics 4
As previously mentioned, the great thing about GA 4 is that you can not only track events on your website. You can now also track the events on your Android and IOS apps. When it comes to event tracking on GA4, you will find that four different events are tracked:
Automatic Tracked Events
Once you have set up your tag on your website or app. You will find that GA4 would automatically tracks certain events. These events are some of the most basic and do not require you to activate them for tracking specifically.
Advanced Tracking Events
Once you enable the enhanced measurement after creating a data stream. GA4 will continue to track some of the additional events happening on your website. Here are a few main events GA4 and that would be continue to track with this setting enabled:
- Page views – basic page viewing from the person viewing your page and the page location. The basic vies metric is used for this.
- Scrolls – Indicates whether a user has viewed at least 90% of the page for the first time.
- Clicks – indicates when a user clicks a link that directs them to a different domain, including the event data.
- Search results – Indicates the search query and keywords on the page URL from a user who performed a site search.
- Video start, and complete – Indicates when the user viewed a video and how far the user has viewed the set video. It ranges from 10% to 75%
- Files downloaded – Shares information about the files downloaded by the individual on your site.
Remember that this feature is not activated automatically and that you should focus on activating the metric on your GA4 dashboard.
Recommended events are a great additional feature that would ensure you can track some of the additional events that often happen across the platforms. It will make use of predefined names and parameters, including certain properties and sales.
It is one of the most useful additions to GA4 and would be a great option for those that need to create ad impressions. Now you can measure the engagement of users on your site and see what the biggest pulling factor is. This will be great for adding different ads and making the site more useful for the customer.
Custom events are the final part of the puzzle, and these events revolve around some events that you create unfortunately. These events are not available in the recommended events section. And you will need to create them based on the different metrics and data that you are looking for.
Once you set up custom event tracking, you will also need to define the tracking or event parameters. Which will be displayed in the reports tab and help you understand the user’s engagement on the site.
Main Type Of Reports On Google Analytics 4
All of us who have used Universal Analytics know that reports are broken down into predefined reports. However, GA4 offers few predefined reports. It gives you the ability to determine your custom reports using tags and gather the specific information that you could be seeking for your needs.
For GA4, the reports are broken down into two distinct broad categories, The categories are the Lifecycle and User reports. These reports all give different information depending on your needs. Here is a breakdown of the different reports:
- User Reports: User reports are straightforward and show you basic information like the devices used and country of origin.
- Acquisition Reports: The acquisition report is one of the best features and shows how the user eventually found the site.
- Behavior Reports: Behavior reports will do what the name states and show how the person acted when it comes to your site.
- Conversion Reports: Conversion reports are a valuable tool commonly referred to as goals in Universal Analytics. It shows purchases and when the individual fills out things like lead forms.
- E-commerce Reports: If you are used to running campaigns and different ads, the eCommerce report will be ideal for helping you establish which campaign drove the highest revenue.
- Multichannel Reports: Multichannel reports is kind of a newer feature which was introduced late in the lifecycle of Universal Analytics. It shows the different conversion channels which drove the best leads to convert on your site.
The use of GA4 is a new revolutionary tool for users to ensure that they get the best possible information for their site. It is one of the easiest to integrate into your current metrics and should be a great free addition to improving your website or apps.