Getting ready for GA4

Google's Universal Analytics is about to disappear and instead we'll be working with GA4 - Google Analytics 4.  The new Google Analytics 4 comes into effect from 01 July 2023 - are you ready?

Here's what you can do to get ready for Google Analytics 4 (GA4):

  1. Familiarise yourself with the GA4 interface:

    Take some time to explore the GA4 interface and get comfortable with its layout and navigation. GA4 has a different interface compared to the previous version (Universal Analytics), so understanding the new interface is crucial.

  2. Understand the key differences:

    GA4 introduces several new concepts and features compared to Universal Analytics. Educate yourself about these differences, such as the focus on events instead of pageviews, enhanced data modeling, and machine learning capabilities. Understanding these changes will help you make the most of GA4.

  3. Set up a new GA4 property:

    Start by creating a new GA4 property for your website or app. In the GA4 interface, go to the Admin section, click on "Create Property," and follow the instructions to set it up. Ensure that you have the necessary access and permissions.

  4. Install the GA4 tracking code:

    GA4 requires a new tracking code snippet. If you already have Universal Analytics installed, you can run both tracking codes in parallel. Add the GA4 tracking code to your website or app to start collecting data.

  5. Define events and parameters:

    GA4 focuses on event tracking. Identify the key events you want to track on your website or app, such as button clicks, form submissions, or video views. Define event names and parameters that align with your tracking requirements.

  6. Set up data streams:

    Data streams in GA4 allow you to collect data from various sources, such as websites, apps, or offline sources. Configure data streams to ensure you're collecting data from all the relevant sources.

  7. Enable enhanced measurement:

    GA4 provides enhanced measurement capabilities, such as automatic tracking of certain events. Review the enhanced measurement options available and enable them for your property to gather additional insights.

  8. Configure data filters and exclusions:

    Use filters and exclusions to refine your data collection. For example, you can exclude internal IP addresses or filter out bot traffic. Review the available options and apply the appropriate filters to ensure data accuracy.

  9. Explore reports and analysis:

    Once you start collecting data, explore the various reports and analysis tools within GA4. Gain insights into user behaviour, engagement, and conversion metrics. Experiment with different reports and features to understand the full capabilities of GA4.

  10. Learn from available resources:

    Stay updated on the latest GA4 developments by referring to Google's official documentation, blog posts, and community forums. Participate in webinars, online courses, or tutorials to deepen your understanding and leverage GA4 to its full potential.

Remember, transitioning to GA4 requires some learning and adjustment, but it offers new opportunities for data analysis and insights. Take your time to understand the platform and experiment with different features to make the most of GA4's capabilities. Jump over here if you'd like to learn more about Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

And if you find this all extremely overwhelming, at least become familiar with key metrics to watch and measure. 

My top 10 recommended GA4 metrics to learn, watch & measure are:

1. Users - Total number of unique users who logged an event

2. Active Users - Will be the primary user metric in GA4: Number of distinct users who visited your website or application. An active user is any user who has an engaged session or when Analytics collects various event information (see here)

3. Views Total number of app screens and/or web pages your users saw. (The Views metric found in the reporting interface is the combination of pageviews and screenviews.) Repeated views of a single screen or page are counted.

4. Sessions - Period of time a user is actively engaged with your website or app however it is triggered by events and also has a 30 minute time-out (same as Universal Analytics).

5. ConversionsYou specify a conversion event for each action that you want to count as a conversion. For example, if you specify that the “Form Submit” event is a conversion event, a conversion will be registered each time a user submits the form. Note, unlike Universal Analytics, if the same user submits multiple forms in 1 session, they will be counted multiple times.

6. Bounce RatePercentage of sessions that were not engaged sessions. For example, if a user visits your website, reviews content on your homepage for less than 10 seconds, and then leaves without triggering any events or visiting any other pages or screens, then the session will count as a bounce.

7. Event Count - Every "hit" is an event and GA4 events have no notion of Category, Action, or Label. For example, when someone views one of your website pages, a page_view event is triggered. 

All actions are events. Each event name is not necessarily unique (in fact, it’s best practice to reuse the same event name many times, differentiating the event by the parameter values collected). For example, a sign-up might have an event name of sign_up with parameters page_location, product, form_id, and so on. The same event name could (and should) be used on every sign up button across the site (whereas in UA, you would want to use unique event naming for each button).

8. Engagement Rate The engagement rate is the percentage of engaged sessions on your website or mobile app. (An engaged session is a session that lasts longer than 10 seconds, has a conversion event, or has at least 2 pageviews or screenviews)

9. Average Engagement Timethe amount of time someone spends with your web page in focus or app screen in the foreground, which allows you to measure when users actively use your site or app.

10. Total Revenue - with the Events now available as a tracking goal within GA4 you can assign a revenue value to an event eg product purchase, event ticket, online enquiry.

>> You can learn more about each of these from Google and how they differ in GA4 to the current Universal Analytics reporting.


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