Google Analytics

How to Set Up GA4: The Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics 4

Using GTM & Setup Assistant to Implement GA4 + In Depth Information on Event-Based Tracking

Main Image Courtesy of Littledata Blog.

In October 2020, Google launched the newest generation of its analytics platform known as GA4, which is a browser-based tool that can be used to analyze and monitor your website and apps.

GA4 utilizes Google's advanced ML models, which enable it to analyze and monitor the latest consumer behaviors and market trends across different platforms and devices. Its privacy-focused design helps boost ROI for long-term marketing campaigns.

With GA4, you can collect data from multiple sources, such as your website and apps. New features in the software include a variety of privacy controls and measures that help website owners collect users' data in a more ethical manner. It also stops keeping IP addresses.

One of the most prominent features in Google Analytics is event-based tracking, which allows you to track the activities of your users as they move from one point to another. You’ll be able to analyze and measure the customer's journey.

Predictive analytics is another new feature of GA4 that lets you predict the future behavior of your users, which uses a machine learning model to analyze and visualize data.

Setting Up GA4 with GTM (Google Tag Manager)

Installing GA4 is best done with Google Tag Manager (GTM), as the process is more simple and self explanatory for new users. To start things off, you will first need to download GA4.

To start using Google Analytics, go to the site's homepage and click on the "Get Started" button. You'll then need to enter the details of your account. For your profile, you'll need to use your company name as the primary one.

In the Account section, you'll be able to configure the data sharing settings that will allow you to share your Google account data with other services and products. You can also disable or enable the functions related to this process by pressing the options.

In the next step, you'll be asked to create a property that will allow you to measure the data that you collect. For instance, in this example, we'll create a website property. After you've finished setting it up, click the "Next" button.

The name of the property should be easy to remember, as you may use it multiple times to collect data. You can also change the details of the property by navigating to the "Admin" tab of Google Analytics.

In addition, provide some details about your business by choosing the industry category that you want to use Google Analytics for.

To finalize the Google Analytics account's setting, go to the settings and click on the "Create" button. You'll be asked to enter the country and region where you want to set up your account. You can then click the "I Accept" button to complete the setup.

Go to your dashboard and click on the "Administration" tab. Then, go to the "Data Streams" section and choose "web" as the mode for collecting data.

GA4 workspace
To create a web data stream, enter your website's URL and click on the "Create stream" button. You will then be able to see the section entitled "Data streams" under the "Administration" tab. Image Courtesy of Niche

You can add more streams if you want to track on different platforms or if you want to use them for other purposes.

Creating a GTM Account 

On the Google Tag Manager's home page, go to the section labeled Account Setup. You can then enter your country and business name.

In the container setup section, choose your target platform and create a name for your container. For instance, you can enter your website's name and click on "web" to measure it.

The Google Tag Manager's terms of service agreement will show. You can tick the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) box to confirm your participation.

Paste the code snippets into the body and head tags on your website. You can then go to your WordPress admin page and click on the copy icon for each tracking code.

To navigate to the theme file editor, go to Appearance and click on the "Theme File" option. You can then copy the code snippets from the header.php template to the head> and body> tags. You can then save your settings by clicking on the "Update File" button.

To add a new tag, go to the Google Tag Manager's dashboard and click on the Add a New Tag option. You can then see the different types of tags that the system supports.Next, head to the Google Analytics settings page and click on the "GA4 configuration" option.

You can enter your Measurement ID in the configuration section of the Google Tag Manager. You can find it in the Property -> Data Streams section. You can then select the data stream that you want to create and it will be displayed.

Finally, go to the settings page and click the "Configure" button. You can then select the triggers that will be used by GA4 using the All Pages option.

After creating a name for the tag, click "Save." You can then use your measurement ID to quickly identify the multiple tracking tags in your container. In the preview mode, make sure that the tag is working. The window for the Tag Assistant will appear, and you can enter your web address to continue.

The "Tag Assistant connected" message will appear in the window and will let you know that the installation of the tag has successfully completed. On the summary page, you can see some statistics related to the activity of the tag.

Setting Up GA4 with Setup Assistant 

The GA4 Setup Assistant can make the process of setting up your Google Analytics account simple.

You can easily create a new GA4 property and keep collecting data from your website using the same account. This is because the existing property will continue to work with the new one.

Navigate to the Google Analytics dashboard and click on the "Admin" button. You can then select the "Universal Analytics" option from the drop-down menu.

You can then create a new GA4 property that mirrors the one you currently have. After the setup is complete, you can see the details of the data stream and property.

How Does Event Tracking Function in GA4?

Before GA4 was released, events were used to track various actions taken within a website's pages. For instance, if you were tracking the number of people who downloaded a file, you would use event reports to see how many people did so.

The limitations of the previous generation of event tracking and the limitations on how much information one could collect were some of the issues that prevented people from using it effectively.

Event tracking chart
Prior to the release of GA4, event tracking was supported in the form of an action, category, and optional label, along with custom dimension and metrics. Image Courtesy of Google

If you were planning on capturing additional information about a particular activity, such as a click on a particular promotional banner, you would have to replace the existing values. For instance, you could define an event as a promotion, a click, and an event label, such as "summer specials."

When you implement event tracking on your site, all of the occurrences would be included in your reports within Google Analytics 4. This means that your reports can now be more flexible, as everything that you track within a page is sent as an event.

Tracking Events in GA4

You can use events in GA4 to track various activities or pieces of information that you're interested in. This feature allows you to send data to the company's analytics platform. For instance, you can see which pages people visited and which data they collected from your CRM or email marketing platform.

There are many ways to utilize events, and it all just depends on your audience, goals, and reporting requirements.

Automatic Events 

Adding the GA4 tag will let you track various events that happen when a user visits a particular page. For instance, it will notify you if the user spends more than ten seconds on your site.

These events are part of the essential components of Google Analytics, and they can't be disabled or switched off. They will appear in all the properties of the web analytics platform. Events that are tracked automatically include:

  • First_visit
  • Page_view
  • Session_start
  • User_engagement 

Enhanced Measurements 

You can also utilize the Enhanced Measurement option to collect additional data, which is a feature designed to analyze the data that you send to Google Analytics.

One of the most important features of Enhanced Measurement is its ability to track optional events. This feature allows you to set the specific events that will be shown in your reports according to your preference.

Actions automatically tracked by enhanced measurement include:

  • Scrolls
  • Outbound clicks
  • Site search
  • Video engagement
  • Files downloads 

Recommended Events 

The events that Google has recommended are those that you should consistently track in your GA4 application. They are grouped by industry, and they can be used for various purposes. For instance, if you’re planning on holding an event for online sales, you can use these recommendations to target your audience.

In addition to the event names, Google also offers recommendations for each one. After you identify the appropriate event name, you can input the parameters to send detailed reports.

Custom Events 

After reviewing the events that are currently being tracked, and checking the list of recommended ones, you can create custom events. The name of these events will be the one that you choose.

The name of the events should be consistent and follow the recommendations of Google. This will help keep the reports clear and logical.

For example, you could create a product-rating event that collects the ratings of users on your website. Although you can name it whatever you want, it should follow the Google convention.

When referring back to the events that were recommended, the naming conventions for products include select_item and view_item. This doesn't align with the custom events that we created. Instead, you should create a custom event that's related to the rating process.

Following the same approach with your custom events will allow you to create a more consistent and accurate report. For instance, you can use the recommended parameters for the rating process.

In your reports, you must register the custom attributes or metrics that you want to see.

Upgrade to GA4 & Improve Your Company’s Digital Marketing Strategies 

Compared to the previous version of Google Analytics, GA4 is on a completely different level when it comes to understanding customer data, particularly having to do with the new and innovative event tracking features. GTM and GA Setup assistant are the two main ways you can go about setting up GA4, where you can begin taking a deeper look into the business insights you never had access to before!

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