Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the new generation of Google Analytics. This invaluable tool is a new way of tracking activity on your website.
In July 2023, Google will stop tracking website data on Universal Analytics - so now is the time to get prepared to make the switch!
But where do you begin? Read on to discover the essential steps for getting started with GA4…
1. Find out how Google Analytics 4 (GA4) works
This is an important first step for anyone transitioning to GA4. Google Analytics works by collecting information about your website (more on what kind of information shortly…) and then reporting on it. These reports allow you to track what’s working and change what isn’t.
GA4 offers some new features that make it quite different from the Universal Analytics version which many people are used to, with updated data modelling that utilises artificial intelligence. The tool draws on machine learning to help smooth over any gaps in data and provide predictions on things like your projected revenue.
Even if you already have a Universal Analytics account, GA4 does not automatically collect data; to use it, you’ll need to upgrade to the new Google Analytics module.
2. Decide which actions you want to track
Web visitors carry out a wide array of different actions when they visit your website. These activities can be tracked with GA4, helping you get a clearer understanding of both what people are doing when they browse and buy, and why they’re doing it.
Common actions to track using GA4 include clicks, downloads, logins, purchases, and reads.
GA4 allows you to track your customers actions without the use of third party cookies - as these are being phased out in the new privacy-centric online world.
3. Set targets and KPIs
Clear, smart target setting and KPIs (key performance indicators) are essential to success with GA4. These targets allow you to benchmark for success and make changes if things aren’t going to plan.
Your goals will be driven by variables such as the needs of your individual business, the capabilities of your website, and where you are in the wider marketplace.
GA4 allows you to build a stronger awareness of the way people interact with your customer journey and the role your website plays.
4. Get set up on GA4!
To use Google Analytics 4, you'll need to either set up a new Google Analytics account from scratch or make the switch to GA4 from your prior Universal Analytics account.
Setting up data collection and tracking is another vital step, as otherwise the tool isn’t yet ‘plugged in’ and won’t track all that delicious data!
5. Learn about GA4 reporting
Tracking your campaign metrics is an everyday activity for many digital marketers. GA4’s reporting is certainly a step away from Universal Analytics, with new navigation making it a challenge for some users to even find their reports until they get settled in and know their way around.
GA4’s interface includes - but is not limited to:
User reports (focusing on the key characteristics of your web users)
Conversion reports (helping you assess which actions are proving most successful)
Ecommerce reports (tracking what actions are drawing the most revenue).
Learning where to find these (and more) reporting tools will lead you to the next all-important step in getting to grips with GA4: learning how to analyse the data…
6. Discover how to analyse the data
If you’ve previously used Google Analytics, then you already have some insight into how data analysis is performed.
For those less experienced in analysing data, the GA4 platform has gone to great lengths to visualise data wherever possible, making it easier to stare at for extended periods of time!
This is particularly helpful for identifying trends and also makes GA4 data analysis more accessible than its prior incarnation.
Need help getting started with GA4?
This whistlestop tour of GA4’s capabilities barely scratches the surface of what GA4 can do, and how it’s done. To get hands-on experience and expert guidance, book a training session with our new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) course.
Our training programme has been designed with your needs in mind, ensuring you leave knowing how to get the best out of your website data and develop the confidence to tackle your analytics challenges in a way that truly benefits your business.
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