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GA4 Best Practices

Before you do anything with Google Analytics 4 (GA4), ensure you’re using a version of Google Analytics that’s compatible with your platform. Proprietary website software may need to be updated to interact with the latest version of Google Analytics.

What is the best way to learn GA4?

Like previous versions of Google Analytics, each member of your team will interact differently with GA4. Some will focus on website data, while others are interested in the customer journey. 

Since GA4 allows your team the flexibility to manipulate data to uncover trends, each person should know how to utilize the platform correctly. 

Depending on the size of your organization, the paths you take to training your team will vary. For instance, larger organizations with bigger marketing budgets can bring trainers into the company for individual learning sessions. However, if you are part of a smaller company, then you may want to consider one of the following training methods:

  • Send one person from the team to Google Analytic-focused conferences
  • Encourage your team to complete training provided by Google
  • Look into virtual Google Analytics workshops   

Since GA4 is still new for many marketers, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with different setups. Over time as you collect more information, you’ll see new ways to optimize your organization’s data. 

Installing the GA4 tag

The steps you take to install GA4 on your site will depend on your technical expertise and website software. Most GA4 experts recommend using Google Tag Manager (GTM) as part of the setup process.

GTM ultimately makes deploying GA4 tags on your website or mobile app easier, giving you more control over when and how data is collected. GTM can also be an excellent option for hosting different scripts or pixels that haven’t been added to the website. 

GA4 data collection

Before data rolls into your GA4 account, you can adjust configurations and settings to improve the default data collection process.

By default, GA4 will retain your raw data in the system for two months. Many experts recommend changing this metric to 14 months in the Property Settings unless you have a good reason not to, such as your privacy policy.

The ability to track data over a longer period will assist in identifying trends and testing the effectiveness of various marketing strategies. 

If your company wants to retain data for an infinite amount of time, the best option is to Link GA4 to BigQuery, Google’s database system. This connection will allow you to keep user event data until you manually delete it.

GA4 events

The main focus of GA4 is capturing data around specific events like conversions, button clicks, video plays, and form submissions. With the information gathered, businesses can gain insight into how users interact with their website or app. 

Event data can also provide additional opportunities for marketers to capitalize on tactics such as remarketing campaigns. 

*User Tip*

Create at least two parameters for your business-specific conversions when setting up custom events. This format will make it easier to read the reports. 

Test GA4 before you go live

With Google Analytics moving to a new framework for collecting data, you should expect a few hiccups along the way. To help eliminate some errors, users can run tests on the platform through the debug functionality before officially publishing real-time GA4 reports.

GA4 and Google Ads

Google Ads are often the fastest way to drive traffic to your site. However, without the proper configuration, some of the data may fall into one of GA4’s  You’ll want to link your Google Ads account to the GA4 property to ensure this doesn’t happen. 

By linking both platforms, you can access the entire customer cycle and important data points like ad impressions, clicks, and user interaction metrics. The connection also makes it easier to see a customer’s journey to complete an online goal, such as purchasing a product or filling out a form. 

SEO data in GA4

The SEO options available in GA4 are similar to those offered in UA. One of the easiest ways to understand your current organic ranking and keywords in the platform is to use the Linking Search Console.

With the Linking Search Console, you can quickly see how specific keywords impact user behavior and overall organic search volume. 

GA4 reports 

Unlike UA, where several customizable set reports were available, GA4 only has top-level report options. Instead, users must use the analysis tab to find more detailed information on website activity now. 

Under the tab, it’s possible to drill further down further and segment the steps in a customer journey to identify areas of opportunity. 

Utilizing EMI to Improve GA4 Data Collection

With the transition of UA to GA4, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed at first. If you’re looking for a partner or need help setting up your company’s GA4, our team is here to help. 

Our expert marketers are happy to schedule a 30-minute information session or talk directly at 513-760-0560.