High 4 Issues to Know About GA4 — Whiteboard Friday


The writer’s views are solely his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and should 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 discover ways to speak about it when purchasers and coworkers are intimidated by the transfer.

whiteboard outlining four insights into GA4

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 immediately at MozCon 2022 to deliver you some particulars on the thrilling world of Google Analytics 4, which I do know all of you’re like, “Ugh, I do not need to find out about analytics,” which is completely truthful. I additionally didn’t need to find out about analytics.

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

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

We’re not all information scientists. I am not an information scientist. I do advertising. So what I am hoping is I can inform you the issues you need to find out about GA4 on only a primary type of stage, so that you’ve got a greater vocabulary to speak about it when persons are horrified by the transfer to GA4, which is inevitable. It may occur. You have to get it in your web site beginning mainly instantly, should 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, in fact, 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 would have a pageview, or you would have a transaction, or you would have an occasion.

And people have 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’s, properly, an occasion occasion. I imply, you title the occasions no matter you need. And due to that, it is truly so much higher strategy to report in your information.

So, for instance, one of many issues that I do know individuals at all times wished to have the ability to report on in Common Analytics is what pages did individuals 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 stage, which implies it was similar to the person factor that occurred, whereas conversion fee is a session scoped factor.

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

2. Engagement fee isn’t reverse bounce fee

Second factor, engagement fee is a brand new metric in GA4. They do have bounce fee. They did lately announce it. I am irritated at it, so we’ll speak about this just a little bit. Engagement fee isn’t 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, though they should not have. I hate bounce fee a lot. Simply image like a dumpster hearth GIF proper now throughout your display. I hate bounce fee. And why I hate bounce fee is it is so simply faked. As an example, for instance, your boss says to you, “Hey, you already know what, the bounce fee on our web site is just too excessive. May you repair it?”

You are like, “Oh, yeah, boss. Completely.” After which what you do is every time anyone comes in your web site, you ship what’s known as an interactive occasion off to Google Analytics on the similar time. And now you might have a 0% bounce fee. Congratulations. You bought a increase since you made it up. Bounce fee might completely be faked, no query. And so after 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 should you spent an hour and a half on the web page studying it intently. In the event you did not have interaction in an occasion that was an interactive occasion, that meant that you just have been nonetheless counted as a bounce once you left that web page.

Whereas in GA4, an have interaction session is by default somebody spending 10 seconds with that tab, that web site open, so lively of their browser, or they visited two pages, or that they had a conversion. Now this 10-second rule I believe is fairly quick. Ten seconds isn’t essentially a whole lot of time for somebody to be engaged with the web site.

So that you may need to change that. It is underneath the tagging settings in your information stream. So should you go to Admin and then you definately click on in your information stream and also you go to extra tagging settings and then you definately go to session timeouts, you’ll be able to change it in there. And I might advocate 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 truly it’s reverse engagement fee. Please do not use it.

As an alternative, 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 information is not going to match

All proper. So subsequent factor, your information isn’t going to match. And that is hectic since you’ve been reporting on UA information for years, and now rapidly it isn’t going to match and other people might be like, “However you stated there have been 101 customers, and immediately you are saying there have been truly 102. What’s the issue?”

So, I imply, if in case you have that type of dialogue together with your management, you really want to have a dialog concerning 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 generally it is so much completely different. It is not just a bit bit completely different. And it is as a result of GA4 measures stuff in another way than UA did. There’s a web page on Google Analytics Assist, which matches into it in depth. However listed below are among the highlights that I believe you need to actually know type of off the highest of your head once you’re speaking to individuals about this. 

Pageviews and distinctive pageviews

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

Up to now 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 providers 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 actually look ahead to is that should you have been used to reporting on distinctive pageviews, that’s gone.

So I like to recommend now altering your stories to type of like stroll individuals by means of this consolation stage of getting them used to the actual fact they are not going to get distinctive pageviews anymore. Or you’ll be able to implement one thing that I speak about 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 just a little bit.


Okay. Subsequent factor is customers. Customers is absolutely I believe a tough subject for lots of people to get their heads round as a result of they suppose, oh, consumer, that signifies that if I am on my laptop computer after which I’m 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 should you’re utilizing say a privacy- centered browser, like Safari, you might not even be related in the identical gadget, which type of sucks.

The actual solely means you’ll be able to really measure if somebody is a consumer throughout a number of classes is if in case you have a login in your web site, which not all people does. A whole lot of B2B websites haven’t got logins. A whole lot 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 so much in Common Analytics.

So in Common Analytics, customers was complete customers, new versus returning. In GA4, it is now lively customers. What’s an lively consumer? The documentation is just a little unclear on how Google considers an lively 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 web site as a result of it was such a sketchy, unhealthy metric, however I do not suppose lots of people knew how unhealthy it was.

It is okay. Simply begin altering your stories now in order that when you need to begin utilizing GA4, on July 1, 2023, for actual UA is completed, then at the least it isn’t a lot of a shock once you do make that transition. 


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

It had a 30-minute timeout. And you will have heard by no means to make use of UTM tags on inside hyperlinks in your web site. And the explanation 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 rapidly 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 simply 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’s 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 isn’t any 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 a fantastic 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 web site by trying on the session begin occasion. I do not know if it is essentially 100% dependable. We have seen conditions the place should you’re utilizing consent administration instruments, for instance, like a cookie compliance software, you’ll be able to have points with classes beginning and whatnot.

So simply preserve that in thoughts is that it isn’t essentially completely foolproof, however it’s a actually attention-grabbing strategy to see the place individuals began on the location in a means that you would 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 find out about GA4, use BigQuery. There is a built-in BigQuery export underneath the settings for GA4. Use it.

The explanation why you need to use it’s: (a) the stories in GA4 aren’t nice, the default stories, 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 individuals is do not actually use the stories inside GA4 for any type 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 explanation why is as a result of GA4 has some thresholding utilized. So you do not essentially get all the information out of GA4 once you’re truly stories in it. And this occurred to me truly simply this morning earlier than I recorded this Whiteboard Friday. I used to be trying to see how many individuals engaged with the shape on our web site, and since it was a comparatively low quantity, it stated zero.

After which I regarded on the information in BigQuery and it stated 12. That quantity may very well be lacking from the stories 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 advocate utilizing the BigQuery information as an alternative of the GA4 information. And in Google Information Studio, if that is what you employ to your reporting software, the identical challenge applies once you use GA4 as an information supply.

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

I do not even comprehend it that properly but. However it isn’t one thing you need to know to be able to report properly on GA4. So I hope that you just discovered this beneficial and you’ll have just a little bit extra of a greater dialogue together 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 is going to be a very good transfer. I am actually excited concerning the new sorts of knowledge and the quantities of knowledge that we will seize now in GA4.

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

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here