OH’s Comprehensive Guide to GA4

Here’s all the details on what you need to know about Google Analytics 4

Out with the old and in with the new – Please welcome the next generation of Universal Analytics…. Google Analytics 4! Google Analytics 4, or GA4, has launched and Universal Analytics will be sunsetting July 2023, but don’t worry, we’re here for you. OH Partners has broken down the new changes of GA4 and what this will mean for your company moving forward. We will show you how to implement the new property, list major differences between UA and GA4, and understand the new metrics GA4 has to offer.

What does this mean for business owners?

In the marketing and advertising industry, we all know the importance of collecting appropriate, accurate data to attain business growth and stay competitive in the marketplace. Google Analytics 4 shifts how marketers can measure their advertisement, giving the business owner full insight into their customer journey. GA4 will allocate a single user’s data from multiple devices and platforms, providing you a more in-depth and complete storyline. With this information, companies can capitalize on conversions, marketing objectives, and essentially, their overall business goals. Through integrated reporting, GA4 will take your company to the next level by giving you access to timely, accurate, and relevant data derived from multiple devices and platforms. The quicker you can get on board, the better. When Universal Analytics departs in July 2023 data will no longer be accessible which will hinder future reporting for year over year data. It is important to set up GA4 as soon as possible and export any substantial historical reports you may need. The good news is, if you have set up a website on Google Analytics after October 14th 2020, you probably created a Google Analytics 4 property. The new platform’s upgraded metrics creates a perfect time to re-evaluate your company’s KPIs to know which data points you would like to report on. Don’t wait, follow below to get started today!

Universal Analytics Vs. Google Analytics 4
Breaking down the platform differences

As we learn to navigate this new platform there are some key differences you’ll want to take note of to get the most from your metrics. Since they’ve updated metrics and given us more data to view and report from – this is the perfect time to revisit your KPI’s and determine which of these new data points you’d like to build new conversion events, tags and triggers.
Below is a breakdown of the differences between Universal Analytics vs. GA4.

1) First Party Data is now trackable, giving us deeper insight into cross device tracking due to data from all streams now living in the same property.

2) Users are getting a refresh in GA4 and expanding with the old metrics Total Users, New Users and now Active Users AND we can track a singular user over multiple devices and platforms.

3) Sessions are more mindful of people who open browsers and forget they left it open! GA4 now has Session Start, Session ID (to track the funnel of users) and 30 min Session timeout.

4) Bounce Rates will now be expanded and we’ll get a flip of the opposite with engagement rates.

5) Events are being replaced from Total Events to an Event Count where we can see how many times one individual is triggering an event.

6) Funnel Level Views are now 10 views instead of the previous 5, and are easily viewed through the Analysis Hub available in GA4.

GA4 Analysis Hub

GA4 Setup & Installation
Start Collecting GA4 Data

Most businesses have integrated GA4 between April and June to prevent any data loss when UA sunsets in July 2023. If you set up Universal Analytics and currently have Google Tag Manager (GTM) installed on your site, this should be a breeze.

Below is our step by step guide to

1) Google makes it easy to transition from a Universal Analytics account into GA4. Go into your analytics account and at the top you should be prompted with a blue bar. When you’re ready to set up, simply select the “Let’s Go” button.

2) From there you will be guided to the settings, specifically to the Google Analytics 4 Setup assistance. You’ll now select “Get Started” if you have never set up a GA4 property for your business.

3) Once selected you’ll see the screen below as a pop up asking for confirmation of property creation. Create your property and we’re halfway through!!

4) You’ll now see your property available when sorting through accounts, but your Universal Analytics account will remain unchanged. This will continuously collect data until UA is sunsetted in July 2023.

5) Open up that property and select the home button in the upper lefthand corner. You’ll see a blue button that will help you get tagging instructions.

GA4 Tagging Instructions

6) You’ll then be sent back into admin settings to view tagging instruction data. Our recommendation at OH is to use Google Tag Manager, instead of installing the Global Site Tag, in order to avoid having to edit any tags or pixels on the backend of your website in the future.

7) Take note of your measurement ID and your stream ID and then open tag manager.

8) If you already have a Google Tag Manager account, select “Use existing on-page tag” and you will be guided through the tagging instructions to connect your new GA4 account into the GTM account.

9) After the GA4 site configuration is complete and GTM is appropriately installed on the backend of your website, you should start seeing data pulled into your GA4 account within 24 – 48 hours.

10) Now you’re ready to set up your events, tags and triggers!

Integrating GA4 and Your current Reporting

Collecting the correct data is important, but the breakdown and understanding of the unique reporting metrics plays a vital role in the success or failure of your business.

With the transition between Universal Analytics and GA4, all of the historical data recorded in Universal Analytics will not be transferred into GA4 because it is an independent platform with a different approach to measuring performance, as described earlier. This poses a big problem by limiting any historical performance comparison, like Year-over-Year analysis, but here’s our solution. OH Partners has an in-house reporting platform called OHIQ. OHIQ’s tech stack includes a cloud database that will gather the maximum Universal Analytics records in addition to the ongoing GA4 records, once transitioned. Then, OHIQ’s custom Google Analytics reporting will run based on a joined dataset of these two data sources, maintaining the historical analysis opportunities missing in the GA4 platform interface.

OHIQ is a custom reporting platform and is how OH Partners provides industry-agnostic data solutions that deliver in-depth analytics for all the unique campaigns we create and execute. Google Analytics custom reporting like this is only one of the many available comprehensive reports that are both standardized for efficiency, as well as customized depending on client and campaign goals.

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