At the end of 2020 Google introduced their new-and-improved 4th version of Google Analytics: GA4. After a few months of learning the ropes ourselves, we understand that investing time into understanding a whole new platform can be overwhelming. Especially since the new interface and features of GA4 is entirely different from what we thought we knew and loved about the former version.
Here are a few simple tips to get you started and ready to roll with Google Analytics 4.
1. Do not delete your Universal Analytics properties.
Even if you feel 110% confident in using GA4, it is strongly recommended that you do NOT get rid of your existing properties.
Unfortunately, setting up a new GA4 property does not retroactively include historical data. Even if you’ve previously been tracking your website traffic with a Universal Property, setting up a new GA4 property will start collecting data from scratch.
Instead, create a new GA4 property in tandem with your existing Universal property. This will ensure you can monitor previous activity while getting familiarized with the ropes of GA4.
2. Get comfortable with Google Tag manager to reap the full benefits of GA4
Universal Analytics users: you know how every audience, acquisition, behaviour, and conversion report is based on page views? Well GA4 is entirely based on events.
So what’s the difference? Event tracking provides a far more robust and flexible experience with more accurate data. This is because tracking events (versus pageviews with secondary dimensions) allows us to more accurately track behaviours such as clicks, scrolls, link clicks, and even page views.
The benefits of event tracking over page views is highlighted in the simple case of bounce rates which are known to be inaccurate. For example: let’s say you pull up a recipe on your phone and interact with the webpage by reading and scrolling for several minutes. With Universal Analytics, this would be considered a “bounce” if the user did not navigate to any other pages (let’s be honest, who needs more than one dinner recipe??). Any “bounce” will not record time spent on page, even though the page was, indeed, being interacted with.
With GA4 and event tracking, on the other hand, we can capture the insights that were lost with Universal Analytics.
3. Don’t get overwhelmed. You are ready for GA4.
Despite some big changes, setting up a GA4 property is straightforward thanks to Google’s “Enhanced Measurements” option.
When creating a new property, Google will now ask you if you’d like to set up a Universal Analytics and a GA4 property. Check this box to ensure you can collect data for both. Once this is clicked, check the box that reads “Enabled enhanced measurement for Google Analytics 4 property.” CHECK. THIS. BOX.
Even if you’re unfamiliar with setting up tags in Tag Manager, this option will immediately begin capturing basic interactions. And if you’ve never used Google Tag Manager, this option will generate a Google Tag for you. It’s easy and a great way to familiarize yourself with the new interface without being too intimidated by learning a whole new platform.
Overall, the benefits of the new GA4 far outweigh some of the initial drawbacks involved in setting everything up. Luckily, Intrigue clients can enjoy these benefits for their business moving forward. To learn more about how Intrigue can leverage GA4 for your business, contact us today.