MarketingPrime 4 Issues to Know About GA4 — Whiteboard...

Prime 4 Issues to Know About GA4 — Whiteboard Friday


The creator’s views are fully his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and will not all the time 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 speak about it when shoppers 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 identify 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 might be like, “Ugh, I do not need to study analytics,” which is completely truthful. I additionally didn’t need to study analytics.

After which I type of realized about it whether or not I preferred it or not. And it’s best to, too, sadly. 

So I feel the largest factor in regards to the transfer from Common Analytics to GA4 is that individuals are like they log in and all the pieces appears completely different. “I do not prefer it.” After which they go away. And I agree the person interface in GA4 leaves quite a bit to be desired. I do not suppose there’s essentially been a variety 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 a knowledge scientist. I do advertising. So what I am hoping is I can inform you the issues it’s best to learn about GA4 on only a fundamental type of degree, so that you’ve a greater vocabulary to speak about it when individuals are horrified by the transfer to GA4, which is inevitable. It may occur. You have to get it in your web site beginning principally instantly, in case 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. However it’s completely different. Okay, so in Common Analytics, there have been several types of hits that would go into analytics, which is the place hits got here from initially as a metric that individuals talked about. So, for instance, in Common Analytics, you could possibly have a pageview, or you could possibly have a transaction, or you could possibly have an occasion.

And people have been all several types of hits. In GA4, all the pieces is an occasion. There’s a pageview occasion. There’s a transaction occasion. There’s, nicely, an occasion occasion. I imply, you identify the occasions no matter you need. And due to that, it is really quite a bit higher strategy to report in your knowledge.

So, for instance, one of many issues that I do know folks all the time needed 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 difficult as a result of a pageview was one thing that was on the hit scope degree, which suggests it was identical 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 until you probably did some fancy mixing stuff in Information Studio. And who’s bought time for that? So now in GA4, as a result of all the pieces is an occasion, you have got much more freedom with how one can slice and cube and interpret your knowledge and determine what pages do folks have interaction with earlier than they really transformed, or what was that path, not simply the touchdown web page, however the whole person journey on their path to conversion. In order that half is actually thrilling. 

2. Engagement fee just isn’t 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 aggravated at it, so we’ll speak about this a little bit bit. Engagement fee just isn’t reverse bounce fee. However it’s in GA4.

So in Common Analytics, bounce fee was a metric that individuals reported on on a regular basis, regardless that they should not have. I hate bounce fee a lot. Simply image like a dumpster hearth GIF proper now throughout your display screen. 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 understand what, the bounce fee on our web site is just too excessive. Might you repair it?”

You are like, “Oh, yeah, boss. Completely.” After which what you do is each time any person comes in your web site, you ship what’s referred to as an interactive occasion off to Google Analytics on the identical time. And now you have got a 0% bounce fee. Congratulations. You bought a increase since you made it up. Bounce fee may 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, but it surely’s not measuring something much like what bounce fee was. Bounce fee in UA was an occasion did not occur. It did not matter in case you spent an hour and a half on the web page studying it intently. For those who did not have interaction in an occasion that was an interactive occasion, that meant that you simply have been nonetheless counted as a bounce if 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 energetic of their browser, or they visited two pages, or that they had a conversion. Now this 10-second rule I feel is fairly quick. Ten seconds just isn’t essentially a variety of time for somebody to be engaged with the web site.

So that you may need to change that. It is beneath the tagging settings in your knowledge stream. So in case 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 advocate enjoying 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 an alternative, take into consideration engagement fee, which I feel 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 just isn’t going to match. And that is irritating since you’ve been reporting on UA knowledge for years, and now swiftly it isn’t going to match and other people can be like, “However you mentioned there have been 101 customers, and immediately you are saying there have been really 102. What’s the issue?”

So, I imply, in case you have that type of dialogue together with your management, you really want to have a dialog in regards to the concept of accuracy in analytics, as in it is not, and error and all the pieces else. However I imply, actually the info 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 in a different way than UA did. There’s a web page on Google Analytics Assist, which fits into it in depth. However listed below are among the highlights that I feel it’s best to actually know type of off the highest of your head if you’re speaking to folks about this. 

Pageviews and distinctive pageviews

So very first thing, a pageview metric, which we’re all accustomed to, in Common Analytics, this was all pageviews, together with repeats. In GA4, identical, 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 appeared 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 in case you have been used to reporting on distinctive pageviews, that’s gone.

So I like to recommend now altering your experiences to type of like stroll folks by means of this consolation degree of getting them used to the very 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 in all my Whiteboard Fridays about having the ability to measure the proportion of people who find themselves reloading tabs and tab hoarders. You could possibly work that into this a little bit bit.


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

The true solely approach you’ll be able to actually measure if somebody is a person throughout a number of classes is in case you have a login in your web site, which not everyone does. A variety of B2B websites do not have logins. A variety of small enterprise websites do not have logins. So customers is already type of a sketchy metric. And so sadly it is one that individuals used to report on quite a bit in Common Analytics.

So in Common Analytics, customers was whole customers, new versus returning. In GA4, it is now energetic customers. What’s an energetic person? The documentation is a little bit unclear on how Google considers an energetic person. 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, until 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 experiences now in order that when it’s important to begin utilizing GA4, on July 1, 2023, for actual UA is completed, then a minimum of it isn’t a lot of a shock if you do make that transition. 


So one different factor to consider as nicely with the adjustments is classes. So in Common Analytics, a session was the energetic 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 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 referred to as session breaking, the place swiftly you’d have a session that principally began in the midst of your web site with a brand-new marketing campaign and supply and medium and utterly indifferent from the session that they only had.

They’d be a returning person 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, bear in mind, all the pieces is an occasion now. There’s an occasion that known as session begin. And in order that information when, nicely, 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 it’s best to go on the market and begin utilizing UTMs on inside hyperlinks. I nonetheless do not suppose it is an amazing concept, but it surely’s not essentially going to interrupt issues the best way that it used to. So now you can see the place did somebody begin on my web site by wanting on the session begin occasion. I do not know if it is essentially 100% dependable. We have seen conditions the place in case you’re utilizing consent administration instruments, for instance, like a cookie compliance device, 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 strategy to see the place folks began on the location in a approach that you could possibly not do that earlier than. 

4. Use BigQuery

So bonus, bonus earlier than we go. All proper, the fourth factor that I feel it’s best to learn about GA4, use BigQuery. There is a built-in BigQuery export beneath the settings for GA4. Use it.

The rationale why it’s best to use it’s: (a) the experiences in GA4 are usually not 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 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 rationale why is as a result of GA4 has some thresholding utilized. So you do not essentially get all the info out of GA4 if 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 trying 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 appeared on the knowledge in BigQuery and it mentioned 12. That quantity might 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 all the time advocate utilizing the BigQuery knowledge as an alternative of the GA4 knowledge. And in Google Information Studio, if that is what you utilize on your reporting device, the identical concern applies if you use GA4 as a knowledge supply.

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

I do not even realize it that nicely but. However it isn’t one thing it’s important to know with a purpose to report nicely on GA4. So I hope that you simply discovered this beneficial and you may have a little bit bit extra of a greater dialogue together with your staff and your management about GA4. I do know it appears rushed. It is rushed. Let’s all admit it is rushed, however I feel it is going to be a extremely good transfer. I am actually excited in regards to the new varieties 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 have been tremendous tied to in Common Analytics. We are able to report a lot extra attention-grabbing knowledge now on each occasion. So I am enthusiastic about that. The precise transition itself is likely to be type of painful, however then a 12 months from now, we’ll all look again and chuckle, proper? Thanks very a lot.

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