Last month we wrote a blog about the change from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and how it was best to make this change as soon as possible to start collecting data in GA4.
Now if you are anything like us you would have merrily clicked ‘Let’s Go’ on that blue bar on the top of your screen and switched over to GA4, wahoo, job done. But then hold on, where is all my data? What on earth is GA4 and where do I find basic statistics about my site!? HELP!
Now we are not going to lie, the changes are drastic and it can feel hard to get a handle on as GA4 is continually being developed as it is so new. But don’t close the browser in despair, we have put together this handy guide to help you feel more comfortable with GA4.
When you log on to GA4 you will see the option of Reports down the left-hand side, these are the pre-built reports that GA4 offers. Reports Snapshot the top option gives you a basic overview through widgets and underneath that Realtime shows you information about visitors on your site/ app in the last 30 minutes. Standard Reports will show you some of the information that you are used to viewing in UA, for example, Devices (Tech Overview), pages visited (Pages and Screens), and User Acquisition, as well as some new or improved information that you may not know about:
Mew Measurement Metrics
One of the new features in GA4 that we think is really cool is the new metrics that you have access to. In GA4 you can now measure scrolls, site search results, outbound clicks, file downloads and Youtube Video watches. We think this is really helpful as it shows you how your users engage with your website and your content. To access this you need to click on Engagement and then Events in the left-hand side menu.
Underneath Events is Conversions, this will have no data when you switch over to GA4 but is where you would measure Newsletter Sign Ups, Purchases, and anything that you consider an action that has converted a customer.
E-Commerce in GA4
If you run an eCommerce website then we recommend looking at the eCommerce Purchases section of GA4 underneath the Monetization heading. This will give you a helpful snapshot showing you your most popular products and the revenue from these. You can also look at sales funnels in the Explore section allowing you to see how many active users added products to their carts etc in a period of time.
Whilst you may find these Standard Reports to be useful and you should be able to get the majority of your data from here, if you want to delve a little deeper the Explore Tab is for you. Experts say that the real beauty of GA4 and the scope of its reporting comes into play when you access the ‘Explore’ tab on the left-hand side.
Now when you first click on the Explore tab it looks very intimidating (well we thought it did). But here you can really start manipulating the data. So for example if you wanted to see how many active users had viewed a video on your website you would build this in the Free Form section of the Explore Tab. You can name this something relevant and this report will then always be there on your Explore dashboard.
If you want to see the full list of dimensions and metrics that are now available in your reports Google has kindly published this guide.
This tab will continue to be developed as GA4 is still very much a work in progress but if you want to start using it, we highly recommend the Analytics Mania Youtube Channel which has some fab videos breaking down this section.
Some things we think are interesting:
Now, we may go a bit geeky here but here are some things we think are worth having a look at.
If you have an eCommerce site it is likely that a lot of your referral traffic will be from your payment provider (Paypal/ Stripe/ Worldpay etc) as when a transaction is completed a user is directed back to your site. You can now ignore these referrals by listing them as ‘Unwanted Referrals’ so it doesn’t skew your analytics.
Multiple Data Streams
If you have a number of websites or an app you can now combine all of this data to get a true picture of your audience.
When you switch your account to GA4 you will automatically have a data retention of 2 months, you can change this to 14 months in the Data Settings if you would like however that is the maximum that you are allowed in the free version. Bear this in mind when looking at the data and it won’t allow you to go further back.