Google Analytics (GA4) is the newest version of Google Analytics and is set to replace Universal Analytics on July 1, 2023. At that time, UA will stop collecting new data, and GA4 will be required for all Google Analytics tracking purposes moving forward.

In this blog, we’ll reveal all the latest news you need to know about the transition to GA4 and how your brand can be prepared. Bookmark this article so that you can stay up-to-date with the most current information on GA4!

January 26

Deciding where to start with GA4 reports

With GA4 comes a plethora of choices as to how to go about pulling the data and insights you need, and the user interface may not always be the right choice. The questions below should help reduce confusion and point you in the right direction for everything you need!

Are you looking for a general overview or deeper insights?

A general overview of common metrics is likely best for the Reports section, although you will likely need to build your own collection of reports to get started. Keep in mind that everyone with access can see and access the collections and topics you add.

Digging in for deeper insights most likely won’t be possible with Reports, so proceed to the following questions to decide where you should look instead.

Are you looking to analyze data on the fly or build a robust, reusable report?

Explore is best for deep analysis on the fly, with the ability to easily interact with data to dig deeper, slice and dice in different ways, compare user segments, or visualize data with funnel and path reports.

Robust, reusable reports are most likely better for Data Studio, especially if it needs to be accessible and editable by multiple people (see next question).

Does your report need to be editable by others on your team (including date range edits)?

If it’s just for you, Explore is a perfectly reasonable option. Sharing an Explore report only shares view-level access, so others will not be able to edit, even just to change the date range.

If you need to share the report with other team members, and those people need to have the same ability to edit that you do, Data Studio is likely the way to go.

Sharing Explore reports may be sufficient if you’re sharing the results of a recent one-time analysis you created, but data that needs to be accessed and updated repeatedly should be built in Data Studio.

The chart below provides a summary, with recommendations in teal. Start with this chart to decide which tool makes the most sense for each task you are looking to accomplish.

Chart to help users determine which tool to use in GA4 based on Reports, Explorations, Data Studio, and BigQuery

We know that many marketers are feeling overwhelmed about the transition to Google Analytics 4. It’s not just that capabilities are changing – so is the entire interface. Having a team of GA4-certified experts by your side could ease the stress a lot for you. To see how we can help you switch to GA4 smoothly, send a message to our team today.

January 12

Customizing your reports in library

With Admin access, you can create new collections, topics, and reports, and you can edit any of the existing collections, topics, or reports to fit the needs of your business. For example, if you’re a lead gen site, it might be smart to delete the monetization reports if you don’t track any revenue-generating metrics.

Note: The changes you make to Reports are applied to everyone with access, and it’s not possible at this time to have a private report collection.

To customize reports, navigate to the Library feature at the bottom of the Reports section. As mentioned above, editing and creating reports requires Admin access, so if you don’t see this option, that means you need Admin access.

Within the report Library, you’ll find all the prebuilt reports we mentioned in our January 5 update (below), and you can click to edit them from there. You can also edit existing reports by clicking the pencil icon in the top right corner of any report.

Building a report is a lot like building a custom report in Universal Analytics, but even more simplified. You can select as many dimensions as you need, and up to 12 metrics.

In your report, your selected dimensions will be provided as dropdown primary dimension options, so secondary dimensions can only be applied outside of the initial report configuration.

Finish out your report by adding dimension-based filters, selecting chart types, and building the summary cards you’ll want to have in your Overview reports. When you’ve finished designing your report, save it and give it a name and description.

Creating overview reports

The summary cards you’ll add to your overview reports are created within your detail reports, so make sure not to skip this step when building a detail report. After your topic’s detail reports are complete, you’ll want to create an overview report and select the summary cards you’d like to display in your overview.

Within the report configuration, you’ll be able to expand or collapse collection headers to find the summary cards from your specific collection. You may also find useful cards in the “Other Cards” tab.

Designing collections and topics

After you finish building all the detail and overview reports for your collection, click “Create new collection.” Once again, you can start from a template or build a blank collection from scratch.

From here, you can drag and drop your reports (provided in a list to the right) into your collection design. When you’re done, click Save and return to the main Library screen.

Publishing a collection

After you’ve finished designing your reports, topics, and collection, you’ll need to publish the collection before it begins showing up in your Reports navigation.

To do this, go to the main Library page, find your collection across the top, click the three dots, and select “Publish.” You will now see the reports in your main Reports lineup (and so will everyone else!). Collections are listed in alphabetical order.

It’s also worth noting that publishing collections and organizing reports into collections and topics is not required. If you save a report without adding it to a collection or publishing that collection, you can still access the report at any time by navigating to the Library screen.

Keep in mind that Reports are very limited, so you should design these to be as top-level as possible. Not all dimensions and metrics are available, so if you run into roadblocks, your report design may be better for Explore or Data Studio. In our next update, we’ll share tips to help you decide which feature is right for your specific needs, so stay tuned!

ROI Revolution is a GA4-certified agency, and our experts have already migrated over 225 websites to the new platform. If you’re dreading the transition or are simply looking for some support with this major change, our experts would be thrilled to relieve the stress for you. Send a message to our team today to connect with our GA4 experts!

January 4

Exploring predefined report collections and topics in GA4

The Life cycle collection of reports in GA4 is predefined to help you break down user activity at each stage of the customer user journey, from acquisition to retention. This collection includes the following topics, each of which houses an Overview report and up to three Detail reports.

Life cycle collection

Screenshot of Life cycle menu dropdown in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

ROI Tip: The Acquisition overview report contains a link to a Google Ads campaign report that uses a session-scoped campaign dimension by default. Change your primary dimension to “First user Google Ads campaign” for first-touch data, or use Explore or Data Studio to build a more comprehensive report with data-driven attribution.

User collection

The User collection is designed to tell you more about the users engaging with your website or app, such as their ages, interests, and devices.

Screenshot of User menu dropdown in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

We’re excited to help you stay up-to-date with everything you need to know about this major transition. Peruse some of our resources below to build up your knowledge – and if you’d like to partner with our GA4-certified experts to make sure your transition is stress-free and seamless, send a message to our team today!

December 16

A breakdown of reports in GA4

The Google Analytics 4 (GA4) interface is designed with four distinct areas to analyze data:

  1. Home: Bubbles up relevant information based on your previous behavior in GA4
  2. Reports: Contains predefined reports to give you top-level insights into your data
  3. Explore: A collection of advanced data analysis techniques that allow you to uncover deeper insights than what’s possible in Reports
  4. Advertising: Provides various tools for analyzing multi-channel attribution modeling and conversion paths

In today’s update, you’ll dive deeper into what the Reports section has to offer.

To access GA4 reports, click on “Reports” in the left-hand navigation of your GA4 property.

From here, you can navigate to the Reports snapshot, Realtime reports, or sets of report collections (report group headers) and topics (subsets of reports). The default report collections are Life cycle and User, and topics are the expandable report groups within these collections, such as Acquisition or Demographics. All but the Realtime reports are fully customizable by account administrators.

Reports snapshot

This is an overview report that opens by default when you first navigate to Reports, and can contain a collage of any of the summary cards available from any of your Overview reports.

Realtime reports

Realtime reports let you monitor current performance by showing information about the users on your website or app within the last 30 minutes, i.e. users whose sessions have not yet expired. You can apply comparisons to Realtime reports, but the report cards themselves cannot be edited.

Overview reports

Within Reports, collections contain topics, and each topic typically contains an Overview report. Overview reports are like the Reports snapshot in that they contain summary cards that link to detail reports in the bottom right corner of each card.

Not all linked detail reports are also shown in the left navigation, so going through the Overview report may be the only way to find certain detail reports by default (for example, the Google Ads campaigns report link shown in this Acquisition overview screenshot).

Detail reports

Detail reports are single reports that typically contain a data table, graph, and one additional chart visualization like a bar chart or scatter plot. Data tables in detail reports can show up to 250 rows and can have secondary dimensions and comparisons applied.

Stay tuned for more updates about reports in GA4, including details on the different types of report collections, how to customize GA4 reports to fit your unique needs, how to decide which report to use, and more!

Looking for a more in-depth look into how to use GA4? In our Getting More Out of GA4 webinar replay, you can watch a live walk-through of a GA4 account, plus get an explanation from our analytics experts of attribution models, lookback windows, and data retention in the new attribution platform. Watch the video here.

Colorful cards with question marks in glass jar on orange background. Space for text

November 10

A quick GA4 Q&A

The switch to Google Analytics 4 is just under 8 months away. Is your brand ready? There are a few things you should definitely know ahead of time to make the transition as low-stress as possible. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about GA4 to help you prepare.

ROI Revolution is a GA4-certified agency ready to help your brand track sales with high accuracy and low stress in the new platform. If your brand is looking to offload some of your concerns, send a message to our team today to see how we can relieve your worries.

Data science analyst working with statistics and report on computer. Concept with icons of charts and graph connected. Business analytics consultant analyzing metrics and key performance indicators

October 27

Getting More Out of GA4: Webinar Replay

Hopefully you’ve done the hardest part of transitioning to GA4 and beat the deadline to implement year-over-year tracking. But do you know where to start when it comes to understanding your data in the new platform?

In this webinar replay video, dive into the next generation of Google Analytics. In addition to giving you a live walk-through of a GA4 account, our analytics experts will help you understand concepts like:

Ready or not, GA4 will be the required path forward for marketers as of July 1, 2023. Watch the video to get ahead of the game when it comes to understanding your data in GA4.

October 13

4 Keys to Setting Up GA4 for Success

Picture this: You’ve migrated your Universal Analytics property over to GA4 and have basic year-over-year tracking set up. Now what? Taking a thoughtful approach to tracking and reporting design in GA4 now will empower you to truly take advantage of all the new features GA4 has to offer.

When setting up your GA4 property for success, there are four key GA4 attribution concepts you’ll want to consider.

  1. Event tracking: For most ecommerce organizations, pageview and purchase tracking are the bare minimum. These data points likely fall short of the tracking you have set up in Universal Analytics. Events have conceptually changed in GA4, and there are a few considerations to make before mapping them into your new property.
  2. Custom dimensions and metrics: These are important data points to track membership status, page types, and other details that Google Analytics does not provide by default. While these are still available in GA4, it is vital to review what is still necessary and how custom definitions have changed.
  3. Standard report customization: If you’ve started to dabble in GA4, you may have noticed that the standard reports and navigation structure contain elements that may not be directly applicable to your business. The good news is that GA4 makes this completely customizable.
  4. GA4 property settings: It can be confusing to determine what property-level customization settings apply to your organization vs. what might cause issues down the line if left unaddressed.

Want to dive deeper into these 4 keys to setting up GA4? Read our blog on how to set up your GA4 property for success.

October 10

What You Need to Know About Data Retention in Google Analytics 4

Data retention is one of the main factors that will change with the transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. Data retention refers to the amount of time before user-level and event-level data stored in GA4 is automatically deleted from Analytics servers.

In GA4, this only affects Explorations and does not affect any standard aggregated reporting. The recommended event data retention setting is 14 months to allow for year-over-year reporting on user and event-level data.

Data retention will be different in GA4 compared to Universal Analytics. One major change is that Universal Analytics allows for indefinite data retention, while GA4 allows up to 14 months of data retention.

UA offers 14-, 26-, 38-, and 50-month options, while GA4 also offers a two-month option.

Lastly, in UA, a change in the retention setting does not affect data that was captured while the old setting was applied. In GA4, a change in the retention setting also applies to data already collected.

The PPC and analytics experts at ROI Revolution are GA4 certified to make sure your brand is ready to track your sales with high accuracy in the new platform. Making the switch effectively can take a lot of time and bring a lot of stress. If your brand is looking to offload some of your concerns, reach out to our team today to see how we can make the transition stress-free and accurate.

October 5

ROI Revolution Becomes GA4 Certified!

As part of setting our clients up for success with GA4, ROI Revolution was one of the first agencies to earn a GA4 certification. We earned our certification within three weeks of the exam being released.

With Universal Analytics going away in July 2023, brands that didn’t transition before July 2022 won’t be able to track year-over-year data in GA4. ROI Revolution’s dedicated Analytics team has been working diligently to onboard clients to GA4 tracking and make GA4 their single source of truth, and we’ve completed GA4 tracking setups for over 200 websites!

We’ve worked with all of our clients on getting tracking implemented in GA4, pushing them through each stage of tracking implementation and ensuring that they actively analyze GA4 to ensure our clients have everything they need for tracking and their data looks as expected.

We provide recommendations on how to utilize GA4 features to your advantage, including how GA4 integrates with other Google products like Merchant Center, Optimize, Search Console, BigQuery, and Data Studio.

“Our goal is not to just get by with the transition to GA4 and do the bare minimum to be okay when it changes, but to really take advantage of the opportunities to help our clients make the most out of GA4.” – David Austin, VP of Technology, ROI Revolution

ROI’s technology team has also built out a proprietary tool for offline conversion tracking in GA4. Our internal RevolutionSuite technology empowers us to not only set up accurate GA4 attribution and tracking for our clients but also to provide strategic, data-driven insights.

In order to ensure you have the best ad performance, you need to have the best data. GA4 is the future of tracking – and you should have a great partner with you to go along with it.

If you’re considering making the switch to a new agency, the transition to GA4 isn’t something you’ll have to stress about with ROI Revolution. Our experts are equipped to effectively handle GA attribution models, data retention, reporting, tracking, and more so that you have a smooth transition to GA4.

Reach out to our team today to explore how we can ensure your brand has a smooth transition to GA4.

September 9

Scope & Lookback Windows in GA4

Scope describes the extent to which a metric or dimension is applicable in GA4. It allows advertisers to see what generated an event or a session and then zoom out to see where the user came from.

There are three main types of scope in GA4 reporting, each with an assigned attribution model that is used when a dimension of the corresponding scope is applied to a report:

  1. User scope: First non-direct interaction model (e.g. first user Google Ads campaign)
  2. Session scope: Last non-direct interaction model (e.g. session Google Ads campaign)
  3. Event scope: The attribution model selected in the property settings (e.g. Google Ads campaign)

Lookback windows are one of the main offerings that will change with the switch from Universal Analytics to GA4.

Lookback windows dictate how far back in time Google Analytics will consider an event for attribution credit. Once a lookback window is determined, the attribution model is applied within that timeframe. Scroll down to our last update for more on GA4 attribution models!

The key differences with GA4 lookback windows are:

As with Universal Analytics, changes to lookback window are not retroactive in GA4.

Computer with Icons

August 30

What You Need to Know About GA4 Attribution Models

In GA4 reporting, an attribution model can be a rule, a set of rules, or a data-driven algorithm that determines how credit for conversions is assigned to touchpoints on conversion paths.

In all attribution models, direct traffic is ignored and isn’t considered for attribution credit unless the entire conversion path is made up of direct visits.

Let’s explore the different types of GA4 attribution models!

ROI Revolution has an entire team of experts who are dedicated to analytics. We’ve transitioned nearly 100% of our clients to GA4, meaning no year-over-year data will be lost. Being ahead of the curve in adopting the changes means that we’re able to help brands like yours take serious advantage of all of the capabilities the new platform has to offer. Reach out to our team today to explore how we can help you discover untapped profitable growth opportunities with GA4!

Sources