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HomeSEOPrime 4 Issues to Know About GA4 — Whiteboard Friday

Prime 4 Issues to Know About GA4 — Whiteboard Friday

The writer’s views are fully his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and should 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 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 identify is Dana DiTomaso. I am President at Kick Level. And I’m right here at this time at MozCon 2022 to convey 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 find out about analytics,” which is completely truthful. I additionally didn’t need to find out about analytics.

After which I sort of discovered about it whether or not I appreciated it or not. And it’s best 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 seems completely different. “I do not prefer it.” After which they go away. And I agree the person interface in GA4 leaves lots to be desired. I do not assume 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 a knowledge scientist. I do advertising. So what I am hoping is I can let you know the issues it’s best to find out about GA4 on only a fundamental type of degree, 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 will 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 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, effectively, an occasion occasion. I imply, you identify the occasions no matter you need. And due to that, it is truly lots higher method to report in your information.

So, for instance, one of many issues that I do know individuals all the time 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 charge. 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 charge is a session scoped factor.

So that you could not mash collectively a success scope factor with pageview with conversion charge, which is session scoped. They simply did not mix collectively until you probably did some fancy mixing stuff in Knowledge Studio. And who’s acquired time for that? So now in GA4, as a result of every little thing is an occasion, you may have much more freedom with how one can slice and cube and interpret your information and determine what pages do individuals interact 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 admittedly thrilling. 

2. Engagement charge just isn’t reverse bounce charge

Second factor, engagement charge is a brand new metric in GA4. They do have bounce charge. They did lately announce it. I am irritated at it, so we’ll speak about this a bit of bit. Engagement charge just isn’t reverse bounce charge. However it’s in GA4.

So in Common Analytics, bounce charge was a metric that individuals reported on on a regular basis, though they should not have. I hate bounce charge a lot. Simply image like a dumpster fireplace GIF proper now throughout your display screen. I hate bounce charge. And why I hate bounce charge is it is so simply faked. To illustrate, for instance, your boss says to you, “Hey, what, the bounce charge 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 each time any person 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 may have a 0% bounce charge. Congratulations. You bought a elevate since you made it up. Bounce charge may completely be faked, no query. And so after we moved over to GA4, initially there was no bounce charge.

There was engagement charge. Engagement charge has its personal points, nevertheless it’s not measuring something much like what bounce charge was. Bounce charge 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. If you happen to did not interact in an occasion that was an interactive occasion, that meant that you simply 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 that they had a conversion. Now this 10-second rule I believe is fairly brief. Ten seconds just isn’t essentially a whole lot of time for somebody to be engaged with the web site.

So that you would possibly need to change that. It is beneath the tagging settings in your information stream. So in case you go to Admin and you then click on in your information 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 charge, which truly it’s reverse engagement charge. Please do not use it.

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

3. Your information won’t match

All proper. So subsequent factor, your information just isn’t going to match. And that is anxious since you’ve been reporting on UA information for years, and now unexpectedly it is not going to match and other people will probably be like, “However you stated there have been 101 customers, and at this time you are saying there have been truly 102. What’s the issue?”

So, I imply, if in case you have that sort of dialogue along with your management, you really want 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 generally it is lots completely different. It isn’t 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 fits into it in depth. However listed here are among the highlights that I believe it’s best to actually know type of off the highest of your head while you’re speaking to individuals 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, similar, pageview is pageview. Nice.

To this point 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 in case you had been used to reporting on distinctive pageviews, that’s gone.

So I like to recommend now altering your experiences to type of like stroll individuals by this consolation degree 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 in all my Whiteboard Fridays about having the ability to measure the share of people who find themselves reloading tabs and tab hoarders. You would work that into this a bit of bit.


Okay. Subsequent factor is customers. Customers is admittedly I believe a tough subject for lots of people to get their heads round as a result of they assume, oh, person, that implies that if I am on my laptop computer after which I’m going to my cell machine, clearly I’m one person. You are normally not, sadly. You do not essentially get related throughout a number of gadgets. Or in case you’re utilizing say a privacy- targeted browser, like Safari, it’s possible you’ll not even be related in the identical machine, which sort of sucks.

The actual solely manner you’ll be able to actually measure if somebody is a person 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 sort of a sketchy metric. And so sadly it is one that individuals used to report on lots 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 person? The documentation is a bit of 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, dangerous metric, however I do not assume 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 at the very least it is not a lot of a shock while you do make that transition. 


So one different factor to consider as effectively 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 might have heard by no means to make use of UTM tags on inner hyperlinks in your web site. And the rationale why is as a result of if somebody clicked on an inner hyperlink in your web site that had UTMs on it, your session would reset. And so you’ll have what’s known as session breaking, the place unexpectedly you’ll have a session that principally 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 might 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, 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 information when, effectively, 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 it’s best to go on the market and begin utilizing UTMs on inner hyperlinks. I nonetheless do not assume it is an important thought, nevertheless 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 in case 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 maintain that in thoughts is that it is not essentially completely foolproof, however it’s a actually attention-grabbing method to see the place individuals began on the positioning in a manner 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 believe it’s best to find out 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 sort 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 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 information out of GA4 while you’re truly experiences 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 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 suggest utilizing the BigQuery information as an alternative of the GA4 information. And in Google Knowledge Studio, if that is what you utilize to your reporting software, the identical concern applies while you use GA4 as a knowledge supply.

You will have the identical thresholding issues. So actually simply use BigQuery. And also you needn’t know BigQuery. All it’s worthwhile to do is get the information going into BigQuery after which open up Google Knowledge 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 be taught it, that is neat.

I do not even comprehend it that effectively but. However it’s not one thing it’s important to know to be able to report effectively on GA4. So I hope that you simply discovered this useful and you may have a bit of bit extra of a greater dialogue along with your group 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 may be a very good transfer. I am actually excited in regards to the new varieties of information and the quantities of information 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 will report a lot extra attention-grabbing information now on each occasion. So I am enthusiastic about that. The precise transition itself could be sort of painful, however then a 12 months from now, we’ll all look again and chortle, proper? Thanks very a lot.

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