Google Analytics 4 (GA4), Let's Get Acquainted
Updated: Sep 20, 2022
The new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has changed the face of Google Analytics and the collecting of data from your sites and apps. This article discusses five items you should understand while diving into the new GA4 analytics. At the same time, not a complete list, but a short list to help you know some basics. The list of changes in the new analytics is long and growing, but touching on these five essentials will give you a good idea of what you will be looking at and doing in GA4.
What to Look Forward To in GA4
1. Google Universal Analytics (UA) is Going Away in July 2023.
Google Analytics users have been getting gentle reminders since 2020 to create a GA4 account in preparation for the sunsetting of UA. If you have not completed this action yet, do it today or contact Wendy Danko at
WenKo LLC for help. You can still use your UA account till July 2023, but the end is coming in July 2023, and creating a GA4 account to start collecting valuable data is in your company's best interest.
2. Customer Privacy Solutions
What are Identity Spaces?
Identity Spaces are identifiers or methods used to collect data across platforms and devices. For example, there are four Identity Spaces for collecting user data in GA4.
User ID for website login
Google signals for customers who are signed into Google and have consented to GS
Device ID from a web browser or an app-instance ID
Modeling data for similar visitors that don't accept cookies
GA4 collects this data and creates or "stitches together" a user journey.
"Analytics creates a single user journey from all the data associated with the same Identity. Because these identity spaces are used in all reports, they allow you to de-duplicate users and tell a more unified, holistic story about their relationships with your business." –Google
3. Reporting Identity Options
Reporting Identity Options are Blended, Observed, and Device Based, and it is your choice which option you use. You can switch between options when you want.
Blended: This is by User-ID, Google signals, device ID, and Modeling. First, the User ID is collected if available. Then, if the User ID is unavailable, Google Signals is collected if there is one. Next, the Device ID is used if neither the User ID nor Google Signal is available. Finally, if the previous three are unavailable, Analytics uses Modeling.
Observed: If User-ID, and Google signals, are unavailable, then device ID is used. If the User ID is uncollected, then Google Signals are used to collect data. Likewise, the device ID is collected if User-ID and Google signals are unavailable.
Device-based: If only the device ID is needed, all other IDs are ignored.
To access the report identity, you must have admin credentials to select which reporting identity you want to use to get to the property column. If you use Google signals, you must sign up for it to collect that information. Your visitors need to sign up with Google signals too.
4. Cross-Platform Data Collection
Since customers search for your products and services multiple times on many devices, viewing seven times on average, GA4 is designed to collect data across platforms, including the Web, the android app, and the iOS app.
Using the platforms listed above, User-ID, Google signals, Device ID, or Modeling can help you follow our visitor's behavior across platforms in many sessions. In addition, each visitor's ID is a separate user, providing a more accurate visitor count and understanding the bigger picture of the visitor's relationship with your website and apps.
Now you can view metrics and dimensions of your choice across platforms, giving you more information about your customer's journey. Viewing this data will help companies make smarter marketing decisions.
When setting up your data streams in GA4, select the streams you're currently using; you can always add the others later as you create them. For example, select only Web if you have a website and no Android or iOS apps. If you have all three, check all three to create the data streams.
5. Event Tracking
Another significant change to the collecting data is user interactions through Event tracking.
GA4 has Events tracking built right in, and it's easy to use. No need to rely on placing code within the HTML. You can create Events right in GA4. A later posting will explain how to set up Events.
Google Tag Manager is still a valuable program for placing some codes, for example, the GA4 identification (recommended in most cases) when you open an account and advertising tracking information to pause ads if needed among other things.
FYI: Tracking Events on a website is limited to 30, and in apps., it is 500.
What Events are Collected?
When setting up your GA4 account, check the box for "enhanced measurements." Checking this box will collect:
data for page views
page scrolling percentages
Or check the ones important to your company through the gear button.
You can also create your Events to track, for example, button clicks or form views. Again, there are many possibilities; it depends on your marketing needs. A later posting will explain how to set up Events.
Events are Tracking Active Users.
Active Users in GA4 are "engaged visitors." Engaged visitors who spend time on your website or apps by clicking, scrolling, filling out forms, and more, create valuable data. Whenever a visitor does something on your website that you want them to do, it is called a Conversion.
Conversions are visitors who are very interested in your products and services. Conversions tell us if marketing is working or not. Study your customer Conversions and adjust your content to improve the visitor's journey where needed.
Tracking Active Users means that bounce rate is going away and is replaced with Engagement Metrics that you can access through the Analysis Hub.
You can choose the dimensions and metrics important to your marketing team in the Analysis Hub. This hub has many possibilities for data discovery and reports you can create for sharing with others who need to know the numbers.
One of The Big Differences Between GA4 and UA
GA4 measures data differently then the UA version.
A short description for GA4 is that it counts Clicks for Total Users, Active Users, and New Users.
UA only measured data for Total Users and New Users with the time/sessions visitors spend on your site, but NOT Active Users.
Don't forget Universal Analytics is going away in July 2023
GA4 is all about Active Users and their engagement on your website and apps.
GA4 is about adapting to user privacy now and in the future.
Now is the time to get acquainted with Google Analytics 4, GA4.
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About the Author
Wendy Danko is an SEO Consultant and Web Designer at WenKo LLC. A design background has its perks, especially regarding SEO and website design. Wendy is determined to help all her clients understand and improve their SEO and website design. As a result, her clients have uncovered new leads to grow their client base with website improvements.