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HomeSEOHigh 4 Issues to Know About GA4 — Whiteboard Friday

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 will not at all times replicate 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 in the present day 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 study analytics,” which is completely truthful. I additionally didn’t need to study analytics.

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

So I feel 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 totally different. “I do not prefer it.” After which they depart. And I agree the person interface in GA4 leaves quite a bit to be desired. I do not assume 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 information scientists. I am not a knowledge scientist. I do advertising. So what I am hoping is I can let you know the issues you need to find out about GA4 on only a fundamental kind of stage, so that you’ve 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 website beginning principally instantly, in case you do not have already got it. So I began out with three issues, after which I noticed 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 totally different

So the very first thing it is totally different, which I do know is clear. Sure, in fact, Dana it is totally different. Nevertheless it’s totally different. Okay, so in Common Analytics, there have been various kinds of hits that might 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 various kinds of hits. In GA4, every little thing is an occasion. There’s a pageview occasion. There’s a transaction occasion. There’s, effectively, 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 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 price. And that was actually difficult as a result of a pageview was one thing that was on the hit scope stage, which suggests it was identical to the person factor that occurred, whereas conversion price is a session scoped factor.

So that you could not mash collectively successful scope factor with pageview with conversion price, which is session scoped. They simply did not mix collectively until 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 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 complete person journey on their path to conversion. In order that half is de facto thrilling. 

2. Engagement price shouldn’t be reverse bounce price

Second factor, engagement price is a brand new metric in GA4. They do have bounce price. They did not too long ago announce it. I am irritated at it, so we’ll speak about this a bit bit. Engagement price shouldn’t be reverse bounce price. However it’s in GA4.

So in Common Analytics, bounce price was a metric that individuals reported on on a regular basis, although they should not have. I hate bounce price a lot. Simply image like a dumpster hearth GIF proper now throughout your display. I hate bounce price. And why I hate bounce price is it is so simply faked. As an instance, for instance, your boss says to you, “Hey, you realize what, the bounce price on our website is just too excessive. May you repair it?”

You are like, “Oh, yeah, boss. Completely.” After which what you do is each time any individual 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 may have a 0% bounce price. Congratulations. You bought a elevate since you made it up. Bounce price may completely be faked, no query. And so after we moved over to GA4, initially there was no bounce price.

There was engagement price. Engagement price has its personal points, however it’s not measuring something much like what bounce price was. Bounce price 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 if 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 feel is fairly quick. Ten seconds shouldn’t be essentially lots of time for somebody to be engaged with the web site.

So that you would possibly need to change that. It is underneath the tagging settings in your information stream. So in case you go to Admin and then you definitely click on in your information stream and also you go to extra tagging settings and then you definitely go to session timeouts, you possibly can change it in there. And I’d 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 price, which really it’s reverse engagement price. Please do not use it.

As a substitute, take into consideration engagement price, which I feel is a way more usable metric than bounce price was in UA. And I am sort of excited that bounce price 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 shouldn’t be going to match. And that is disturbing since you’ve been reporting on UA information for years, and now swiftly it isn’t going to match and other people shall be like, “However you stated there have been 101 customers, and in the present day you are saying there have been really 102. What’s the issue?”

So, I imply, in case you have that sort of dialogue along with your management, you actually need to have a dialog in regards to the concept of accuracy in analytics, as in it is not, and error and every little thing else. However I imply, actually the info goes to be totally different, and generally it is quite a bit totally different. It isn’t just a bit bit totally 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 works into it in depth. However listed here are a few of the highlights that I feel you need to actually know kind of off the highest of your head if 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, identical, pageview is pageview. Nice.

Thus far so good. Then we had distinctive pageviews in Common Analytics, which was solely single views per session. So if I seemed on the homepage after which I went to a providers web page and I went again to the homepage, I’d have two pageviews of the homepage for pageview. I’d 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 stories to kind of like stroll individuals by way of this consolation stage of getting them used to the very fact they are not going to get distinctive pageviews anymore. Or you possibly can implement one thing that I speak about in one other one in every of my Whiteboard Fridays about with the ability to measure the proportion of people who find themselves reloading tabs and tab hoarders. You could possibly work that into this a bit bit.


Okay. Subsequent factor is customers. Customers is de facto I feel a troublesome 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 cellular system, clearly I’m one person. You are normally 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, you could not even be related in the identical system, which sort of sucks.

The true solely manner you possibly can really measure if somebody is a person throughout a number of periods is in case you have a login in your web site, which not all people does. Numerous B2B websites haven’t got logins. Numerous 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 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 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 totally different. You by no means ought to have been reporting on new versus returning customers anyway, until you had a login in your website 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 stories now in order that when it’s a must 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 if you do make that transition. 


So one different factor to consider as effectively with the adjustments is periods. 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 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’d have what’s referred to as session breaking, the place swiftly you’d have a session that principally began in the course 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 a substitute, now there’s an occasion as a result of, bear 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, effectively, 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 inner hyperlinks. I nonetheless do not assume it is an amazing concept, however it’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 website 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 possibly can have points with periods beginning and whatnot.

So simply maintain that in thoughts is that it isn’t essentially completely foolproof, however it’s a actually fascinating strategy to see the place individuals began on the location 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 feel 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 are usually not nice, the default stories, they sort of suck; (b) even the explorations are a bit questionable, like you possibly can’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 kind of helpful reporting functions. It is extra like an advert hoc reporting. However even then, I’d 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 stories 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 stated zero.

After which I seemed on the information in BigQuery and it stated 12. That quantity may very well be lacking from the stories in GA4, however you possibly can see it in BigQuery, and that is due to the thresholding that is utilized. So I at all times suggest utilizing the BigQuery information as a substitute of the GA4 information. And in Google Information Studio, if that is what you utilize in your reporting device, the identical challenge applies if you use GA4 as a knowledge supply.

You have got the identical thresholding issues. So actually simply use BigQuery. And also you need not know BigQuery. All it is advisable do is get the info going into BigQuery after which open up Google Information Studio and use that BigQuery desk as your information supply. That is actually all it is advisable 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 isn’t one thing it’s a must to know in an effort to report effectively on GA4. So I hope that you simply discovered this beneficial and you’ll have a bit bit extra of a greater dialogue along with your workforce 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 may be a very good transfer. I am actually excited in regards to 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 had been tremendous tied to in Common Analytics. We are able to file a lot extra fascinating information now on each occasion. So I am enthusiastic about that. The precise transition itself is perhaps sort of painful, however then a yr from now, we’ll all look again and giggle, proper? Thanks very a lot.

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