Top 4 Things to Know About GA4 — Whiteboard Friday

The creator’s views are completely his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and will not at all times mirror the views of Moz.

On this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Dana brings you some particulars on the thrilling new world of Google Analytics 4. Watch and learn to discuss it when purchasers and coworkers are intimidated by the transfer.

Click on on the whiteboard picture above to open a excessive decision model in a brand new tab!

Video Transcription

Hello, my title is Dana DiTomaso. I am President at Kick Level. And I’m right here as we speak at MozCon 2022 to convey you some particulars on the thrilling world of Google Analytics 4, which I do know all of you’re like, “Ugh, I do not wish to study analytics,” which is completely truthful. I additionally didn’t wish to study analytics.

After which I type of realized about it whether or not I favored it or not. And you need to, too, sadly. 

So I believe the largest factor in regards to the transfer from Common Analytics to GA4 is that persons are like they log in and every little thing appears to be like completely different. “I do not prefer it.” After which they depart. And I agree the consumer interface in GA4 leaves quite a bit to be desired. I do not suppose there’s essentially been lots of good training, particularly for these of us who aren’t analysts on a day-to-day foundation.

We’re not all knowledge scientists. I am not an information scientist. I do advertising and marketing. So what I am hoping is I can inform you the issues you need to learn about GA4 on only a fundamental form of degree, so that you’ve a greater vocabulary to speak about it when persons are horrified by the transfer to GA4, which is inevitable. It should occur. You have to get it in your website beginning mainly instantly, when you do not have already got it. So I began out with three issues, after which I spotted there was a fourth factor. So that you get a bonus, thrilling bonus, however we’ll begin with the primary three issues. 

1. It is completely different

So the very first thing it is completely different, which I do know is clear. Sure, after all, Dana it is completely different. But it surely’s completely different. Okay, so in Common Analytics, there have been several types of hits that might go into analytics, which is the place hits got here from initially as a metric that folks talked about. So, for instance, in Common Analytics, you can have a pageview, or you can have a transaction, or you can have an occasion.

And people had been all several types of hits. In GA4, every little thing is an occasion. There’s a pageview occasion. There’s a transaction occasion. There may be, properly, an occasion occasion. I imply, you title the occasions no matter you need. And due to that, it is really quite a bit higher option to report in your knowledge.

So, for instance, one of many issues that I do know folks at all times wished to have the ability to report on in Common Analytics is what pages did folks see and the way did that relate to conversion fee. And that was actually tough as a result of a pageview was one thing that was on the hit scope degree, which suggests it was similar to the person factor that occurred, whereas conversion fee is a session scoped factor.

So that you could not mash collectively a success scope factor with pageview with conversion fee, which is session scoped. They only did not mix collectively except you probably did some fancy mixing stuff in Knowledge Studio. And who’s obtained time for that? So now in GA4, as a result of every little thing is an occasion, you could have much more freedom with how one can slice and cube and interpret your knowledge and work out what pages do folks interact with earlier than they really transformed, or what was that path, not simply the touchdown web page, however your complete consumer journey on their path to conversion. In order that half is admittedly thrilling. 

2. Engagement fee will not be reverse bounce fee

Second factor, engagement fee is a brand new metric in GA4. They do have bounce fee. They did just lately announce it. I am irritated at it, so we will discuss this slightly bit. Engagement fee will not be reverse bounce fee. However it’s in GA4.

So in Common Analytics, bounce fee was a metric that folks reported on on a regular basis, regardless that they should not have. I hate bounce fee a lot. Simply image like a dumpster fireplace GIF proper now throughout your display screen. I hate bounce fee. And why I hate bounce fee is it is so simply faked. For example, for instance, your boss says to you, “Hey, what, the bounce fee on our website is just too excessive. Might you repair it?”

You are like, “Oh, yeah, boss. Completely.” After which what you do is each time someone comes in your web site, you ship what’s known as an interactive occasion off to Google Analytics on the identical time. And now you could have a 0% bounce fee. Congratulations. You bought a elevate since you made it up. Bounce fee might completely be faked, no query. And so once we moved over to GA4, initially there was no bounce fee.

There was engagement fee. Engagement fee has its personal points, however it’s not measuring something just like what bounce fee was. Bounce fee in UA was an occasion did not occur. It did not matter when you spent an hour and a half on the web page studying it intently. In case you did not interact in an occasion that was an interactive occasion, that meant that you just had been nonetheless counted as a bounce while you left that web page.

Whereas in GA4, an interact session is by default somebody spending 10 seconds with that tab, that web site open, so energetic of their browser, or they visited two pages, or they’d a conversion. Now this 10-second rule I believe is fairly brief. Ten seconds will not be essentially lots of time for somebody to be engaged with the web site.

So that you may wish to change that. It is underneath the tagging settings in your knowledge stream. So when you go to Admin and you then click on in your knowledge stream and also you go to extra tagging settings and you then go to session timeouts, you’ll be able to change it in there. And I might suggest taking part in round with that and seeing what feels proper to you. Now GA4 actually simply as I am filming this has introduced bounce fee, which really it’s reverse engagement fee. Please do not use it.

As a substitute, take into consideration engagement fee, which I believe is a way more usable metric than bounce fee was in UA. And I am type of excited that bounce fee in UA goes away as a result of it was [vocalization]. 

3. Your knowledge won’t match

All proper. So subsequent factor, your knowledge will not be going to match. And that is hectic since you’ve been reporting on UA knowledge for years, and now unexpectedly it isn’t going to match and other people will probably be like, “However you mentioned there have been 101 customers, and as we speak you are saying there have been really 102. What’s the issue?”

So, I imply, when you’ve got that type of dialogue along with your management, you actually need to have a dialog in regards to the thought of accuracy in analytics, as in it is not, and error and every little thing else. However I imply, actually the information goes to be completely different, and typically it is quite a bit completely different. It isn’t just a bit bit completely different. And it is as a result of GA4 measures stuff otherwise than UA did. There’s a web page on Google Analytics Assist, which works into it in depth. However listed below are a number of the highlights that I believe you need to actually know form of off the highest of your head while you’re speaking to folks about this. 

Pageviews and distinctive pageviews

So very first thing, a pageview metric, which we’re all conversant in, in Common Analytics, this was all pageviews, together with repeats. In GA4, identical, pageview is pageview. Nice.

To date so good. Then we had distinctive pageviews in Common Analytics, which was solely single views per session. So if I regarded on the homepage after which I went to a companies web page and I went again to the homepage, I might have two pageviews of the homepage for pageview. I might have one pageview of the homepage in distinctive pageviews. That metric doesn’t exist in GA4. So that’s one thing to essentially look ahead to is that when you had been used to reporting on distinctive pageviews, that’s gone.

So I like to recommend now altering your experiences to form of like stroll folks by this consolation degree of getting them used to the very fact they don’t seem to be going to get distinctive pageviews anymore. Or you’ll be able to implement one thing that I discuss in one other one among my Whiteboard Fridays about with the ability to measure the proportion of people who find themselves reloading tabs and tab hoarders. You may work that into this slightly bit.


Okay. Subsequent factor is customers. Customers is admittedly I believe a tough matter for lots of people to get their heads round as a result of they suppose, oh, consumer, that implies that if I am on my laptop computer after which I am going to my cell gadget, clearly I’m one consumer. You are normally not, sadly. You do not essentially get related throughout a number of units. Or when you’re utilizing say a privacy- targeted browser, like Safari, chances are you’ll not even be related in the identical gadget, which type of sucks.

The actual solely means you’ll be able to actually measure if somebody is a consumer throughout a number of classes is when you’ve got a login in your web site, which not everyone does. Loads of B2B websites haven’t got logins. Loads of small enterprise websites haven’t got logins. So customers is already type of a sketchy metric. And so sadly it is one that folks used to report on quite a bit in Common Analytics.

So in Common Analytics, customers was complete customers, new versus returning. In GA4, it is now energetic customers. What’s an energetic consumer? The documentation is slightly unclear on how Google considers an energetic consumer. So I like to recommend studying that in depth. Simply know that that is going to be completely different. You by no means ought to have been reporting on new versus returning customers anyway, except you had a login in your website as a result of it was such a sketchy, dangerous metric, however I do not suppose lots of people knew how dangerous it was.

It is okay. Simply begin altering your experiences now in order that when it’s important to begin utilizing GA4, on July 1, 2023, for actual UA is completed, then not less than it isn’t a lot of a shock while you do make that transition. 


So one different factor to consider as properly with the modifications is classes. So in Common Analytics, a session was the energetic use of a website, so that you’re clicking on stuff.

It had a 30-minute timeout. And you could have heard by no means to make use of UTM tags on inside hyperlinks in your web site. And the rationale why is as a result of if somebody clicked on an inside hyperlink in your web site that had UTMs on it, your session would reset. And so you’d have what’s known as session breaking, the place unexpectedly you’d have a session that mainly began in the course of your web site with a brand-new marketing campaign and supply and medium and fully indifferent from the session that they only had.

They’d be a returning consumer although. That is nice. You should not have been reporting that anyway. Whereas in GA4 as an alternative, now there’s an occasion as a result of, keep in mind, every little thing is an occasion now. There may be an occasion that is known as session begin. And in order that data when, properly, the session begins. After which there’s additionally a 30-minute timeout, however there is no such thing as a UTM reset.

Now that does not imply that you need to go on the market and begin utilizing UTMs on inside hyperlinks. I nonetheless do not suppose it is an incredible thought, however it’s not essentially going to interrupt issues the way in which that it used to. So now you can see the place did somebody begin on my website by wanting on the session begin occasion. I do not know if it is essentially 100% dependable. We have seen conditions the place when you’re utilizing consent administration instruments, for instance, like a cookie compliance instrument, you’ll be able to have points with classes beginning and whatnot.

So simply maintain that in thoughts is that it isn’t essentially completely foolproof, however it’s a actually attention-grabbing option to see the place folks began on the positioning in a means that you can not do that earlier than. 

4. Use BigQuery

So bonus, bonus earlier than we go. All proper, the fourth factor that I believe you need to learn about GA4, use BigQuery. There is a built-in BigQuery export underneath the settings for GA4. Use it.

The rationale why you need to use it’s: (a) the experiences in GA4 aren’t nice, the default experiences, they type of suck; (b) even the explorations are a bit questionable, like you’ll be able to’t actually format them to look good in any respect. So what I am saying to folks is do not actually use the experiences inside GA4 for any form of helpful reporting functions. It is extra like an advert hoc reporting. However even then, I might nonetheless flip to BigQuery for many of my reporting wants.

And the rationale why is as a result of GA4 has some thresholding utilized. So you do not essentially get all the information out of GA4 while you’re really experiences in it. And this occurred to me really simply this morning earlier than I recorded this Whiteboard Friday. I used to be seeking to see how many individuals engaged with the shape on our web site, and since it was a comparatively low quantity, it mentioned zero.

After which I regarded on the knowledge in BigQuery and it mentioned 12. That quantity may very well be lacking from the experiences in GA4, however you’ll be able to see it in BigQuery, and that is due to the thresholding that is utilized. So I at all times suggest utilizing the BigQuery knowledge as an alternative of the GA4 knowledge. And in Google Knowledge Studio, if that is what you employ to your reporting instrument, the identical concern applies while you use GA4 as an information supply.

You could have the identical thresholding issues. So actually simply use BigQuery. And also you need not know BigQuery. All you must do is get the information going into BigQuery after which open up Google Knowledge Studio and use that BigQuery desk as your knowledge supply. That is actually all you must know. No SQL required. If you wish to be taught it, that is neat.

I do not even comprehend it that properly but. However it isn’t one thing it’s important to know with a view to report properly on GA4. So I hope that you just discovered this useful and you may have slightly bit extra of a greater dialogue along with your crew and your management about GA4. I do know it appears rushed. It is rushed. Let’s all admit it is rushed, however I believe it will be a very good transfer. I am actually excited in regards to the new sorts of knowledge and the quantities of knowledge that we are able to seize now in GA4.

It actually frees us from just like the class motion label stuff that we had been tremendous tied to in Common Analytics. We are able to document a lot extra attention-grabbing knowledge now on each occasion. So I am enthusiastic about that. The precise transition itself is perhaps type of painful, however then a yr from now, we’ll all look again and snigger, proper? Thanks very a lot.

Video transcription by

Latest news
Related news


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here