Technology

Step-by-step guide to setting up GA4 on-site

GA4 became the 4th major Google Analytics update back in October 2020 and is set to be the only option available for this type of Google site analysis by 2023. So getting to grips with the update now is in everybody’s interest. 

We’ll show you how to get your account up and running as well as add tags to your site, test the tool, add conversion events and create reports.

Step 1 – Create a GA account and set up a GA4 property

Before you can embark on your journey into the GA4 Google Analytics reporting dashboard, you’ll need to have an account set up and ready to go. 

Firstly, head over to https://analytics.google.com/analytics, hit the Start Measuring button and follow these steps.

  • Enter a name for your account
  • Give the property name, select the time zone and choose a currency
  • If you want to create a Universal Analytics Property with the GA4 analytics property, head to the Advanced Options and select the relevant box
  • Enter the site URL and click the Next button
  • Enter any necessary business info
  • Click the Create button and accept the T&Cs

Step 1.5 – Upgrade to GA4 using setup assistant from existing analytics property

Upgrading to GA4 from an existing analytics property is simple thanks to the setup assistant. In just a few minutes, you can take your old Universal Analytics account and future-proof the whole experience.

  • Select Admin and then the GA4 Setup Assistant
  • Click the Get Started option and Create Property
  • Choose See your GA4 property
  • Click the > button next to the Tag installation
  • On the Data Streams screen, click the > button again to see your Measurement ID

Step 2 – Add GA4 tag either directly onto site or via Google Tag Manager

Adding tags can be done manually or by using the Google Tag Manager. If you aren’t happy with altering site code yourself, then opt for the automated tag manager to perform the task for you.

Add GA4 tags directly

There are 3 ways to perform this task. 

  1. Take the Measurement ID and connect it to a Universal Analytics Property 
  2. Add a ‘Config’ directive
  3. Paste the GA4 tracking code script into the page’s <head> section.

Using the Google Tag Manager

To begin the process, head over to https://tagmanager.google.com and log in to your Google account. After that, follow these simple steps.

  • Select the Add a new tag option
  • Click Tag Configuration
  • Select Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration
  • Enter the Measurement ID
  • Click on Triggering and choose All Pages
  • Rename the untitled tag GA4 Configuration Tag
  • Click Save
  • Enter the site URL and hit Start
  • Ensure that GA4 Configuration Tag appears under Tags Fired
  • Go to the Google Tag Manager Tab and Submit

Step 3 – Test if it’s working

After setting up your GA4 tags, you’ll be keen to get on and start reviewing the various insights available. But before you head off and assume that everything is working just fine, it always pays to double-check. 

The simplest way to see if everything has been set up correctly is to click on the Preview button in GA4. Now, you can enter the site or specific page URL to test and click Start. In the new browser window that appears, make sure that the Debugger Connected message shows. Back on the tagassistant.google.com tab, you should now see the Connected! message.

Step 4 – Add relevant conversion events

The data that you gather in GA4 comes from events that are predefined. These events are triggered as users make their way around your site and interact with the pages or app. Analytics will automatically select the following events as conversions.

  • purchase (web and app)
  • first_open (app only)
  • in_app_purchase (app only)
  • app_store_subscription_convert (app only)
  • app_store_subscription_renew (app only)

To track other existing events as conversions, head to the Events page. Here, you can also create new conversions too.

Step 5 – Create exploration reports for bespoke reporting

To get a better understanding of the journey that your visitors take when viewing your site, it’s necessary to use Explorations. They go far beyond regular reports that you may be familiar with in Google Analytics and give you a chance to monitor key metrics. 

To create an exploration, take these steps.

  • Click Create to make your own or use a template 
  • Choose a technique
  • Add items to the Dimensions and Metrics sections
  • Drag and drop the dimensions to the Tab Settings panel.
  • Add filters if required

Summary

Google Analytics has proven itself to be a vital tool for anyone who is serious about maintaining their site to the highest standards and creating the very best user experience. And now, with GA4, it’s possible to take this to a whole new level and begin to dig even deeper into the data that surrounds visitor behaviour.

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