Google Analytics 4 has taken over from Universal Analytics. It’s the next generation of analytics from Google. In the previous blog, you learned that Google Analytics 4 can track users and measure activity from desktop computers and other platforms using events instead of cookies.
It’s incredibly powerful and can help you learn about user habits and trends and make better marketing decisions.
When migrating from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, you might wonder what settings you should focus on.
This blog aims to help you learn some tips and settings on which you should keep an eye after migrating to Google Analytics 4.
As mentioned in the previous blog, you need to have goals to utilize the power of GA4 fully. Your goals should be things you want to measure, for example,
- Activity on your forms
- Clicks on your CTA button
- Clicks on your links
The above can be called ‘Events,’ and you can import them to Google Ads.
Once you’ve migrated to GA4, you should create a GA4 property. Remember that a GA4 property will inherit users from the Universal Analytics property you’re on. When creating a property, you should give it a simple name that makes it easy for you to find the property.
For example, you can add the term GA4 to your business name. For instance;
GA4-digital analyst team.
Next, make sure you add the correct time zone and currency that applies to your business.
Finally, choose a platform between iOS, Android, and Web and set your URL and data stream. The purpose of the data stream is to show where data will flow from the app (iOS or Android) or website to Google Analytics.
The enhanced measurement feature helps you to track various metrics such as page views, scrolls, site search, file downloads, etc. Ensure you turn it on. You don’t want to miss out on such information.
Connected Site Tags
This feature helps you to get additional tagging settings like cross-domain tracking, which specifies a list of domains for cross-domain measurement. If your business has different domains, this feature helps you track the same user as they travel across your domains.
Settings in Google Tag Manager
This feature drastically influences how GA4 collects data. So set up GA4 Events in Google Tag Manager with your parameters. If you don’t know what to do, at the very least, ensure you enable it and use its default settings.
You should remember to check and test if traffic is coming into GA4 using GA4’s DebugView.
Initial Settings in Google Analytics 4
Once you have migrated from Universal Analytics, you should know that you can’t set up Google Analytics 4 in one day. GA4 can be a bit overwhelming, but it will give you quality insights once you get it working. So to help you save time, this blog will help you to know what to do.
So without further ado, here are the initial settings you need to focus on.
- You should ensure that you allow enhanced measurement, which is allowed by default.
- Next up, activate and set up filters for internal traffic
- Set up a website search parameter
- Enable cross-domain tracking domains if you have multiple domains
- Remove unwanted referrals
- The default data retention is 2 months, so you need to increase the time. So go ahead and expand it to 14 months
- Ensure that your user identification is by user ID and device. If you don’t have a user ID, you can set up the device only
- Finally, confirm your settings in debug mode
Settings in Google Analytics 4 – after 24 hours
After the first 24 hours after the initial setup, Google Analytics 4 will start making suggestions after the first events. You might get very few events, but you shouldn’t worry. You should remember that all parameters of automatically collected events are not stored by default. They can be seen in debug mode but aren’t sent to BigQuery until you set up custom dimensions.
To enable custom dimensions, click Configure, then Custom definitions, and set up the dimensions you want in your reports.
Once you’ve set it up, you should be able to see some of your events. You can then create goals from the events.
Regular GA4 Tests
Once you’ve set up GA4, you need to check that everything is running correctly every once in a while.
This may sound like a lot of work, but the rewards are many. So after setting up the GA4, you can check back after 24 hours and test it. Then after a week, you should test it again.
When testing GA4, you should look out for the following;
- All the events you set up
- All the parameters you set up and their values
- Users in your audiences
- The percentage of people with user ID if you enable user ID
You should also remember that ad block users with tracking prevention systems may cause a data loss that may affect the information received.
The Google Analytics 4 Checklist after migrating
In this blog post, you’ve learned how Google Analytics 4 works and what you need to do to ensure that it’s running as well as your former analytics solution – Universal Analytics. In summary, you need to do the following;
- Enable enhanced measurements
- Verify the time zone for reporting.
- Setup GA4 data transfer to BigQuery
- Enable cross-domain tracking
- Verify the data retention period
- Set up Google Tag Manager
Ready to get started?
This blog post was just a very simplified look at the basic steps of GA4 settings that you should focus on when migrating from Universal Analytics. You should note that your Google Analytics 4 should collect enough data with enough quality to be used on your dashboard.
In terms of time, setting up GA4 for your website may take about 2 hours to a whole day, depending on the size of your website and the data needed to set GA4 up.
Google Analytics 4 is a quality analytics solution for businesses of all sizes. Once you use it, you’ll be hooked.