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Google Analytics 4: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

Google Analytics 4: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

Stella Gradiana
June 5, 2023

Google has announced that marketers will no longer be able to use Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 will completely replace it from July 2023. Some features will be discarded and replaced with new and more comprehensive ones. In this article, we will take you to a deeper understanding of this analytics property.

How Google Analytics 4 differs from GA Universal?

1. Customer Privacy is a priority in Google Analytics 4

As Google Analytics 4 does not allow third-party cookies to track your information, your information is safeguarded. Rather than sharing your historical usage with another platform, the platform will only use it to provide useful insight into your reporting. Additionally, you can modify the default cookie setting for Google's service to control how long the information is stored.‍

2. GA 4 report is more customizable

The new Google Analytics 4 report navigation allows you to provide more information about the metrics that are of most importance to your business rather than the metrics that are determined by the platform. On top of that, the feature β€œdetailed report” allows users to select the visualisation they prefer on the dashboard, whether it is a bar chart or a line chart.

3. Google Analytics 4 introduces engagement metrics and removes bounce rate

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) brings forth new engagement metrics while removing the traditional bounce rate. These metrics focus on understanding user engagement with your website or app. Engaged sessions are defined as sessions that last longer than 10 seconds, have a conversion event, or involve at least 2 pageviews or screenviews. The engagement rate represents the percentage of these engaged sessions, indicating meaningful interactions. On the other hand, the bounce rate, previously used as a measure of disengagement, is no longer available in GA4. Instead, GA4 emphasizes analyzing user interactions and meaningful engagement, enabling you to optimize your online platform effectively.

4. Google Analytics 4 event tracking

One of the major distinctions between Google's Universal Analytics (UA) and the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) lies in the transition from a Page View based model to an Event based model. This shift signifies a response to the evolving nature of the internet, where websites are no longer confined to individual web pages but encompass dynamic content and functionalities. GA4's Event based model offers a more modern and adaptable approach to tracking and measuring a website's performance. By focusing on events rather than page views, GA4 provides greater flexibility and customization options for monitoring user interactions. However, this enhanced functionality does come with the requirement of a more involved setup. Nevertheless, embracing GA4's event tracking empowers website owners to capture a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of user engagement in the ever-changing digital landscape.

How to Get More Familiar With Google Analytics 4

For the purpose of introducing users to Google Analytics 4, Google has created two demo accounts: Google Merchandise Store and Flood It! Google Merchandise Store is an e-commerce store which sells Google products, while Flood-It! is a simple mobile game available on Apple Stores and Playstores. Analytics show different metrics for each account. Users can therefore become familiar with different reports.
There are a few limitations associated with the demo account, however:

  • There is no ability for users to manipulate the provided data. They are only permitted to use it.
  • Configuration settings and reporting data are not accessible to users.
  • This account does not allow users to customize the report and collaborate with their colleagues.

Despite all the limitations, the demo accounts are sufficient to explore the basic features of this platform.Β 

‍How to Switch to Google Analytics 4

1. Create a Google Analytics 4 property

First, you will need to create a new property in your Google Analytics account. GA4 doesn't support historical data because it utilizes a different data model than GA3 - therefore both properties cannot share data. In order to keep your old data, you will need to create a new property and configure it to import data from the old one. The process can be accomplished by clicking on β€œAdmin” on your account page and selecting β€œCreate Property.” Upon selecting GA4, follow the prompts to complete the process.

2. Installation of the Global Site Tag

It's time to install the Global Site Tag (gtag.js) once you've got your new property ready. It's a JavaScript tagging framework that lets you send data to Google Analytics. The code for the new property can be found in the admin section of GA. Just click Admin > Property > Tracking Info > Global Site Tag. From there, you can copy and paste it into your website's code. Gtag.js can also be installed using plugins for content management systems like WordPress. If you use the Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin (GADWP), it'll insert the GA tracking code into the header or footer of your site.

3. Verify if the tag is working

After installing gtag.js, you should verify if the code is functioning properly. To accomplish this, Google Tag Assistant, an extension offered by Google, can be used for free. Install Tag Assistant and navigate to your website. With Tag Assistant, you can verify that all Google tags are working correctly on your page. GA Debugger is also a free Chrome extension that can be used to monitor Google tags. This tool will help you to see all of the tracking requests made by the gtag.js code, in addition to any errors that might have occurred.

With the deprecation of Universal Analytics nearing, it is crucial to transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) without delay. GA4 introduces event-based tracking, treating all user actions as events, and unifies data across platforms, offering comprehensive insights into complex user journeys. Embrace the enhanced features and metrics offered by GA4 to unlock valuable data-driven insights for informed decision-making.
When it comes to driving unparalleled results, KPI Media stands tall as Google's official partner. Our dedicated team is committed to keeping our clients at the forefront of industry trends, equipped with the latest features and updates.As the leading performance marketing agency, we have the proven strategies and expertise to propel your business to new heights. Don't miss out on this exclusive opportunity reach out and claim your FREE consultation with KPI Media.

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