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How to Setup Google Analytics 4

: 03rd Oct 2021         : Lovetto Nazareth

A Brief Guide to Setting Up Google Analytics 4 for Best Results

Table of Content

Google Analytics (GA) is the de-facto standard for digital analytics. It’s free, easy to use and extremely powerful. Digital marketers frequently use GA to track data, understand markets and tweak marketing campaigns.
So, there is a high chance that you’ve already used Google analytics, however, you might not be familiar with Google Analytics 4. Google App + Web Analytics, also known as GA4, is not a new version of Google Analytics 3 but a completely new system that was released in beta last year. Google Analytics 4 provides enhanced predictive insights, greater interaction with Google Ads, cross-device measurement capabilities, and more granular data management.
It can easily be said that we all will be using primarily GA4 in the near future so it is best to put in the effort to optimize it and set it up properly. If you haven’t started using it or at least set it up on your website, you’re already late.
The reason is that you’re most probably using it soon enough. Moreover, GA4 does not populate data from Universal Analytics. That means you need to get to tracking now.
Let’s discuss how to set it up properly to make the most out of it.

Primary properties of Google Analytics

One of the fundamental changes in GA4 is the way multiple properties are managed. In GA3, you had to create separate properties for all of your entities. However, GA4 pulls data from an online entity and pushes it to the properties. Properties are basically created using data streams in which each property can have 50 data streams.

Setting up data streams in GA4

To get the most out of GA4, you’ll have to make sure that you correctly set up the data streams. To create data streams, go to account settings and select data streams under Property.
Select Add stream from there and choose the type of entity you want to pull date from, e.g., iOS, Android app, or Web.
Don’t set up streams in rush and consider every factor because it could have implications in terms of performance. However, even if you’ve done it, you can go to Admin > Data Streams and make changes at any time.

Cross domain tracking

Cross domain traffic is one of the overlooked features in Universal Analytics. It gets a bit frustrating when people have multiple domains. It is not actually the most straightforward process in Universal Apps. However, in GA4 cross domain tracking can be found under More Tagging Settings.
To set up cross domain tracking in GA4, go to Admin > Data Stream > More Tagging Settings > Configure Your Domains.
You can easily define parameters from there and place the tag on websites. And that’s it. You have cross domain tracking.

IP Filters

You can filter out the IP traffic by choosing it from More Tagging Settings.
To define internal traffic or even some other IP traffic in Google Analytics 4, go to Admin > Data Stream > More Tagging Settings > Define Internal Traffic. You can also define the Ip addresses that you don’t want to track in terms of traffic.

Domain referral filters

You can also filter unwanted referrals from the Define Internal Traffic section. This is an important filter for those who use a third-party payment processor, a landing page platform, a blog platform, etc. You can select from match types to define the referrers you want GA4 to ignore. You’ll have an option to choose from the following:

  • Referral domain contains
  • Referral domain begins with
  • Referral domain ends with
  • Referral domain exactly matches
  • Referral domain matches RegEx

Adjust session timeout

You can also adjust session timeout from the More Tagging Settings screen. The default session timeout is 30 minutes but it can always be changed. If you think of it, 29 seconds is actually a long time to sit idle on a web page doing nothing.
Another thing you can do on this screen is to Adjust the Timer for Engaged Sessions. It can be altered but Google in GA4 recommends it to be 10 seconds or longer.
Although it may not appear to be a major problem, all engagement metrics are based on engaging sessions, and engagement metrics have largely supplanted behavior metrics. So, give it a thought before adjusting the timer.

Key Features of Google Analytics 4 Infographic

Connecting to Google Analytics

Following the creation of your data streams, the next step is to explore Google product linkage. Although GA4 is not as comprehensive as UA, there is still the possibility to link to Google Ads. You want to link Google Ads to GA4 if you are running Google Ads.
GA4 provides audiences that may be predicted. Google Ads may be used to sell to certain predicted audiences.

The big news for all big data lovers is that you can now connect to BigQuery without having Google Analytics 360. To connect your Google Analytics 4 account to Big Query, you’ll have to follow these steps.

  1. Go to the admin screen and select BigQuery linking under the property column.
  2. Select Link from the top left corner.
  3. Select, Choose a BigQuery Project.
  4. Here you’ll see all the projects you have permissions for, at least ‘read’ permission. You can choose the project you want to link to.
  5. Choose the location for the data.
  6. Specify the data streams to be exported.
  7. Chose how often you would be exporting the data.
  8. Review changes and then submit.

This is all you have to do and you’ve got BigQuery connection.

You may not be a fan of GA4, but in order to give it your best effort, it's critical that you set it up properly. It’s not that difficult actually, contrary to the popular belief. Google has done a good job making it as simple as possible and it is indeed an indication that they might have actually listened to digital marketers’ needs. This is it for today’s blog. Do share your feedback and write to me if you have any questions about GA4 or Google Analytics in general. If you run a business and you can’t get too technical with advertising and marketing, you can reach out to Prism Digital, the best advertising agency in Dubai, and our advertising experts will help you through the whole process or setting up Analytics to using it for your advantage.

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