GA4 Setup & Configuration

With Universal Analytics and 360 Analytics having their end-of-life dates now confirmed for 2023, it’s important that businesses look to move their web properties to GA4 (Google Analytics 4) as soon as possible to start collecting data ahead of the cut-off point.

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GA4 Setup Services

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) was launched in 2020 and by the end of 2023 will be the only analytics tool offered by Google. Unlike previous Google Analytics versions, GA4 can be used to combine app and website data, and offers a significant change in how data is presented and collected, versus the Universal Analytics and 360 Analytics views we have become accustomed to.

As part of our services, our data consultants can help you:

  • Install and set up new instances of GA4 alongside/in parallel with existing Universal/360 analytics, Matomo, or Adobe Analytics installations.
  • Work with you on upgrading your current Google Analytics properties to GA4
  • Troubleshooting and data.
  • GA4 conversion setup
  • GA4 custom audience creation

Custom Audience Creation

In GA4, you will need to create and configure custom audiences to be able to report on different traffic sources (Organic, Paid, Email, Social, etc) effectively.

As for terminology, an Audience is an assignable group, such as:

  • Users originating from the United States
  • Users originating from Asia
  • Users originating from Email
  • Users originating from Organic

It is also worth noting that a single user can be counted in multiple audiences if they meet the different criteria, e.g. a user in New York who came to the site via Google on their mobile would qualify for the US audience, mobile audience, and Organic audience.

The standard reports in GA4 provide top-level data around users by their first default channel grouping, but this isn’t the same immediate depth and breadth that you will be used to in your current Google Analytics.

eCommerce Reporting In GA4

GA4 eCommerce reporting differs greatly from GA3’s enhanced eCommerce reporting.

The tool currently focuses on four elements of site monetization, these being: A general monetization overview, Ecommerce purchases, In-app purchases, and Publisher ads.

This will require setup, and depending on how you currently report on eCommerce performance a revisit to your reporting structures.

Depending on how you currently report on your eCommerce store (e.g. if you’re on Salesforce and all data is pushed to Tableau), or you use other platforms like Amplitude, this change may not affect you.

  • GA4 set up for Shopify

    GA4 set up for Shopify

  • GA4 set up for Salesforce CC

    GA4 set up for Salesforce CC

  • GA4 set up for Magento

    GA4 set up for Magento

  • GA4 set up for WordPress

    GA4 set up for WordPress

GA4 Setup & Configuration Elements

Below are some of the elements you will need to need to know how to set up and interpret the data from in order to get the most out of your new GA4 environment.

User & Event Data Retention

Google Analytics 4 only has two options for user and event data retention, these being two months and 14 months. This differs from Google Analytics (three) which allowed you to store data “forever”. As a result, you will need to make sure you’re new reporting is robust enough to stand scrutiny when looking back at historical data and trends.

Google Signals

In order to view user data such as Gender, Interests, and Age bracket you need to enable Google Signals data. This is done by accepting the Google Advertising Features Policy, and enabling the data collection.

It is vital that your company reviews the policy first before accepting, as it is a legal data transfer with Google.

Connecting GA4 to Google Ads

You can connect a maximum of 20 Google Ads accounts to your GA4 property.

During the setup process, you will need to choose to enable or disable “Personalized Advertising”. If you disable this, then the GA4 audience list (remarketing events and parameters) will not be communicated to the associated Google Ads accounts. During this stage, you can also set up Auto-Tagging.

Cross-Domain Tracking in GA4

Cross-domain tracking in GA4 works in a similar fashion to GA3 and works to track users as a single data point across multiple domains, subdomains, and digital environments within your suite. Unlike GA3, you don’t need to deploy any code to cross-domain track, but simply change settings within your admin panel.

eCommerce Tracking via Google Tag Manager

If you’re currently utilizing Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics, then making the change to GA4 will require a number of changes to your setup, for example, there are 38 schema changes between GA3 and GA4. When setting up your new data layers it’s important to ensure all variables, triggers, and ultimately your tag is set up correctly.

Event-scoped custom dimensions

Like GA3, GA4 offers event-scoped and user-scoped custom dimensions. GA4 has increased the limit on the number of custom dimensions you can create on each property but has deprecated the use of custom-parameter reporting. During the transition, it is important to migrate all custom-parameter reporting to the more robust event-scoped and user-scoped tracking and reporting.

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