Google Analytics Four Tips and Tricks
If you own a website, one of the significant changes you will see in the next couple of months is the shift from Universal Google Analytics to Google Analytics Four. The current version of Google Analytics will stop collecting data effective 1st July 2023. The transition to Google Analytics 4 comes with a couple of changes regarding how websites track their visitors.
If it is your first time reading about Google Analytics four, this article is for you. We will share a few basics about Google Analytics four, plus the tricks and tips you can use to get the best out of the next generation of Google Analytics. By the end of the article, you will have all the essential information you need to know to get started using Analytics Four.
What is Google Analytics four?
Google Analytics Four or GA4 is an analytics service from Google that enables website owners to measure traffic and engagement across their websites and applications. This new version of analytics has a couple of differences from the previous versions. Some of the key differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics include the following;
Universal Analytics’ measurement model is based on sessions and page views. GA4’s measurement model is based on events and parameters.
GA4 has a more minimalistic user interface than Universal Analytics
GA4 provides more reliable and robust cross-device and cross-platform tracking than Universal Analytics.
There is no limit to the volume of hits that can be collected in GA4. The free version of Universal Analytics had a monthly limit of 10m hits, which was a limitation for some users.
GA4 allows a free Connection to BigQuery. In Universal Analytics, this feature was only available for GA360 users, so it wasn’t free.
Some metrics, such as bounce rate, are missing in Google Analytics Four. The equivalent of bounce rate in Analytic Four is Engagement Rate.
Tips and Trips to get the best out of Google Analytics 4
Make the transition now
As we shared earlier, Universal Analytics will stop tracking your website's traffic effective from 1st July 2023. If you want to compare year-over-year traffic, you will need to have installed GA4 a year before the expiry of Universal Analytics. It should be noted that you will still be able to access data in Universal Analytics after 1st July, but it won’t be in a position to capture more data from your website visitors.
The good news is that you can have both Universal Analytics and GA4 installed on your site. So, you will be able to view the metrics from both platforms. This will make the transition much easier than having to switch at once when Google finally discards Universal Analytics. You can follow this step-by-step guide to set up Google Analytics 4 on your website or mobile application.
Customize the reporting UI
For the first time, Google Analytics now allows you to customize the reporting interface to suit your needs. With this change, you can now build out reports for your different teams, making it easy for them to access the reports when they log into their GA4 dashboard. You will also be able to add your favorite reports on the left navigation bar for quick access.
You need to have admin privileges in GA4 to customize the reporting UI. To make these changes, navigate to the “Library” section of your GA4 property (bottom left-hand nav when you are in the “Reports” section).
Choose your favorite reporting graphs.
In GA4, you can change the chart type for the various reports. The chart options available for most reports include a line chart of a bar or a scatter chart. For most people, line charts are much easier to read at a glance, so we recommend hiding the scatter chart to avoid overcrowding the chart area.
To make this change, highlight the report you intend to view by clicking on it. Click the edit button (in the top right corner of the screen) to start editing the report. This will also allow you to choose the chart type you intend to view. Click the “eye” icon besides each chart type to hide or unhide it.
Make use of User engagement metrics.
As we shared earlier, GA4 doesn’t include the bounce rate metric, which many website owners have used for years. However, bounce rate is often misunderstood by some users. What bounce rate tells is only the percentage of users that didn’t send a secondary hit to Universal Analytics. It doesn’t tell us the users that left immediately after visiting a certain web page on our site.
With GA4, you will be able to get this data through the use of engagement metrics based on engaged sessions. With engaged sessions, you will be able to see the number of website visitors that spent at least 10 seconds on your site before leaving. You can also adjust the length of time from 10 seconds to 60 seconds if you wish to. This data allows you to assess the user experience of your site than using the bounce rate.
To make this change, go to Data Stream > More Tagging settings. To view more engagement metrics, go to Life cycle > Acquisition > Traffic.
It should be noted that Google will likely be adding more changes to GA4 before it finally becomes the default tracking platform come 1st July 2023. However, most of the current GA4 features will probably stay the same. Of course, you can’t rule out the fact that Google could make a few refinements to make these features much easier to access and use.
We recommend setting up your GA4 property right now so that you get used to its interface and features before it becomes Google’s sole traffic monitoring platform in the summer of 2023. The most important thing is knowing how the new changes will affect how you’ve been tracking traffic on your website or mobile application.
At Arekibo we have helped many of our partners make the transition across to GA4 if we can help you at all, please reach out to us.