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Welcome to our GA4 FAQ! Throughout this blog, you’ll find practical tips, insights, and step-by-step guidance to help you unlock the full potential of Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

Our aim is to make the world of GA4 accessible and empowering for every marketing leader. Let’s embark on this journey together and discover the possibilities GA4 has to offer!

Use the links below to jump to individual questions and answers:

GA4 FAQ: Getting Started With GA4

GA4 FAQ: Making Sense of GA4 Features

GA4 FAQ: What Kinds of Things Can I Do in GA4?

GA4 FAQ: Why Is GA4 Like That?

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GA4 FAQ: Getting Started With GA4

Q: What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

GA4, the latest version of Google Analytics, offers powerful tools to help you navigate the ever-changing digital landscape with confidence. As of July 1, 2023, GA4 has replaced Universal Analytics (UA) free accounts as the new way forward for marketers to track and analyze important ecommerce data.

That means UA is no longer collecting new data in free accounts, and 360 accounts will stop collecting data on July 1 of 2024. UA data can’t be imported into GA4, and historical UA data will go away in 2024 for both free and paid 360 accounts.

GA4’s capabilities and interface are vastly different from what they were in UA. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the transition, you’re not alone. Only 27% of marketers say they’re ready for the switch to GA4.

Q: Does GA4 replace the need for Looker Studio?

A: Looker Studio (previously named Data Studio) is more important than ever because of the limitations you will likely run into with the functionality in GA4 Reports and Explore. Looker Studio will give you a lot more flexibility when building reports. Looker Studio is still best for professional reporting, especially if you want to apply branding and have control over dashboard layouts, colors, etc.

Q: How do I configure Tag Manager correctly for my website?

A: This video should serve as a good starting point to configure GTM for GA4. Analytics Mania has a ton of similar, helpful GA4 content, so please check out their other content for additional help! Here is a more substantial course you can enroll in.

Q: How do I set up ecommerce tracking?

A: At ROI Revolution, we are big fans of Google Tag Manager (GTM) and highly recommend managing your tracking implementations through GTM. When it comes to the dataLayer implementation to track purchases, best practice depends on your ecommerce platform.

Here is great walk-through guide we highly recommend and here is a larger paid course if you are starting from scratch and would prefer a deep dive.

Q: Where can I find more GA4 resources?

A: If you’re looking to learn about GA4, you’ve come to the right place. Our GA4-certified experts are committed to unraveling the complexities of GA4 and equipping you with the knowledge and tools to make informed, data-driven decisions with the new tracking platform.

Explore the wealth of resources below expand your GA4 expertise:

Our GA4-certified experts are here to elevate your data analysis to new heights with personalized guidance and support. To start maximizing your digital insights and unlock the full potential of GA4 for your business, send a message to our team today.

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GA4 FAQ: Making Sense of GA4 Features

Q: How is the Cross-network channel defined in GA4? Can I customize it?

A: Cross-Network refers to Discovery, Smart Shopping, and Performance Max campaigns from Google Ads.

You can customize this with custom channel groupings. With custom channel groupings, you can define up to two groupings, where each grouping has up to 25 defined channels.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of custom insights I can create?

A: You can create up to 50 custom insights.

Q: When I create custom insights, are all GA4 users able to see them or just my specific login?

A: When you create an insight, anyone can go into the Custom Insights list and see it within the UI. Anyone can edit it except for those with Viewer access.

In terms of who receives email alerts from custom insights, you can list the email addresses you want to include when you build the custom insight.

Right now, finding this list is a bit tricky. Go to the Home or Reports Snapshot page, click “View all insights”, then click “Manage”.

Q: Can other users see what I create in GA4?

A: Any collections, topics, or reports you build out will be visible to everyone.

If you leave them unpublished, you can access them from the Library anytime, but other account admins will be able to do the same. Publishing reports to the official Reports section will make them visible to users at all levels of permissions.

On the Explore side, your explorations will not be visible to others unless you click in the top right to share with others. From there, they’ll be visible to others in read-only mode. At this time, Explorations cannot be edited by multiple users, even to change a date range.

Q: What’s the difference between conversions and transactions?

A: Conversions are anything you mark as a conversion in the Admin section of GA4. They can include more than just purchases. Conversions are a good metric to use because they can be used across all three types of GA4 scopes (user, session, and event) and can therefore show data-driven conversion values. Just be sure to filter for relevant event_names if you want drill down to one specific conversion, like purchases.

Transactions refers to transactions coming from any of the following events:

  • in_app_purchase
  • ecommerce_purchase
  • purchase
  • app_store_subscription_renew
  • app_store_subscription_convert
  • refund

Note that the Transactions metric is not compatible with event-scope (data-driven) traffic source dimensions.

Q: How is engagement rate calculated?

A: Engagement rate is the inverse of bounce rate and represents the percentage of users who are engaged (the remaining percentage being the bouncers).

An engaged session refers to anyone who:

  • Stays on your site for more than 10 seconds
  • Views at least two pages
  • Triggers a conversion

Since the 10-second qualifier is different from Universal Analytics, you can expect to see a lower bounce rate overall.

Q: Will there always be a 72-hour delay in reporting metrics?

A: We don’t expect this to change. Google is offering real-time data streaming exports with BigQuery, so we expect they will continue to push this method moving forward. With this option, you pay for data storage and data querying on your own servers rather than theirs.

If this interests you, check out BigQuery data streaming! The daily exports will also contain fully completed data, but they’ll be sent at the end of each day rather than being a constant real-time stream of data.

Since BigQuery has a big learning curve, you may want to use your back-end data to monitor revenue data in real-time. Depending on the CRM platform you use, you might be able to set something up that collects traffic source data for each user so that you can see your marketing impact by channel inon real-time. Another option would be to reference other channel-specific platforms like Google Ads, where data is usually fresh within three hours.

GA4 FAQ: What Kinds of Things Can I Do in GA4?

Q: How can I filter a report to show a subset of landing page traffic by day?

A: You might be able to get what you need in the Landing page report in the Reports section (under Engagement). You can add a secondary dimension of Date, and you can filter the report to include the subset you’re interested in by clicking the “Add filter” button.

If this doesn’t cut it or if you need to do a regular expression filter, you can build a Free Form report in Explore. Your dimensions would be “Landing page + query string” and “Date”, and your metrics would be whichever ones you’re interested in, such as Sessions.

Add those in the Variables tab, then double-click them all to populate them in the Tab Settings, which puts them in the table report.

At the bottom of the Tab Settings, you can create filters for the page group you’re interested in. This is where you could use a regular expression.

You can adjust the date ranges in the “Variables” tab for the date range you’re interested in. Some things you can try to make this report look the way you want it to are:

  • Toggle “Nested Rows” to “Yes”
  • Change the dimension order
  • Remove one of the dimensions from Tab Settings

Q: Can I migrate historical annotations from UA to GA4?

A: Unfortunately, annotations are not supported at this time. There is a solution that allows you to combine GA4 with annotations from Google Sheets to build annotated reports in Looker Studio.

Before you follow this outline, you need to manually store your UA annotations in a spreadsheet, as there is no way to do this through the GA4 API.

Note that you have until July 1, 2024, to pull anything you need from the UA user interface.

Q: How do I group a specific source / medium and then look at all of the campaigns for just that one source / medium?

A: It’s not the same easy drilldown process it was before, but you can still get there.

Add a secondary dimension of Session campaign (or First user campaign), then filter your report at the top of the report above the graph (“Add filter”) to pick the traffic sources you want to drill down into.

If you’re interested in just Medium, you can start by changing the report to a primary dimension of Session medium (or First user medium) before adding your secondary dimension of Session campaign (or First user campaign).

If you prefer to keep that as the primary dimension, you can edit the report and set Session medium as the default dimension.

Q: How do I find performance for “(Other)” sources?

A: If you see dimension values grouped into a row of “(Other)”, you have too many unique values for that dimension. This is called a high-cardinality dimension.

In standard reports, if cardinality is too high, the report groups the long-tail values into a consolidated row called “(Other)”. The exact limit is influenced by several factors, but you should generally try to avoid situations where a dimension could have more than 500 unique values.

See if you can consolidate your UTM tagging to prevent having too many unique instances of source and medium names. Alternatively, be sure to set up a BigQuery export of your GA4 data where you can query into unsampled, unlimited raw data.

Q: How do I change to a monthly view on Reports graphs?

A: The line graphs in Reports are unfortunately not customizable and will always be daily, even on large date ranges.

In Explore, you can create a Free Form report where you choose the line graph visualization instead of a table. Under that will be a dropdown where you can choose a granularity of Hour, Day, Week, or Month for your line graph.

Q: Can I customize the colors of the chart lines? Sometimes, Google uses colors that are quite similar (e.g. different shades of blue), which makes it harder to present data.

A: Unfortunately, this isn’t an option. Looker Studio gives you full control over color palettes and branding if you want to build out your reports and visualizations there.

Q: If users are required to log into my site, how do I connect the user’s ID with GA4 to see the individual’s journey on my site?

A: User ID is still supported, but applied in a much better way. To set it up, you can follow these instructions from Google.

This is mainly used for cross-device reporting purposes and deduplicating user counts, but it does not mean you will be able to pull reports by User ID to hone in on specific user journeys because that goes against Google’s user privacy policies.

That said, there is a more anonymized version of this kind of report that you can access with the “User explorer” technique in Explore. The “app instance ID” in this report is the device-based CID, and you can click on specific CIDs in that report to access their user activity. This report is similar to the User Explorer report in UA.

Q: How do I apply custom report configurations across multiple accounts that I manage?

A: Unfortunately, this isn’t possible right now. You need to build them all manually across all accounts. We hope to see Google release a share or copy feature someday!

Q: How do I see average order value (AOV) in GA4?

A: Unfortunately, AOV is not available in GA4 right now. We recommend exporting an Explore report to a spreadsheet and adding a column to calculate AOV.

For example, you can grab Item Conversions and Purchase Revenue by the dimension you’re interested in, such as source / medium. Once you export that, make a calculation that divides Purchase Revenue by Conversions for each source / medium.

If you partner with ROI Revolution’s analytics team, we can set this up for you in an automated Looker Studio report. To discover how our GA4-certified experts can help you accomplish your goals in the new platform, send our team a message today.

Q: How do I find revenue from my Google Ads or Shopping campaigns?

A: In Reports, this is pretty hidden by default, but it’s not impossible to see.

Go to the Acquisition Overview report and look for the “Sessions by Google Ads campaigns” card. Click “View Google Ads campaigns” at the bottom of this card. You’ll be taken to a detailed report of your Google Ads campaigns, where you can scroll to the right to find Total Revenue (using a last-touch attribution model, since you are using a “Session” Google Ads campaign).

You can also find and publish this report to your left navigation in Library!

In Explore, we recommend choosing the “Google Ads campaign” dimension with “Conversions” and “Purchase revenue” as your metrics. This will show you campaign attribution from a data-driven perspective, which is a more sophisticated model.

Q: In Explore, how can I get a visual chart to update when I filter the data below it?

A: To update both the table and the graph, follow these steps:

  1. At the top of the report, click “Add filter”
  2. Select the dimension you’re filtering on
  3. Select the values you’re interested in from there

This will update the table and graph, rather than just searching the table itself.

Not all dimensions are available in filters, so if you can’t find what you need, you can build a graph report in Explore using the Free Form technique and the line graph visualization.

In Explore, add a filter at the bottom of the Tab Settings. Make sure to line up your dimensions and metrics in the Variables tab first, then double-click them to have them populate the Tab Settings, which fill out the report.

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GA4 FAQ: Why Is GA4 Like That?

Q: When I add a secondary dimension of date, it doesn’t match the total sessions, users, etc. from before I applied the secondary dimension. Why is this?

A: In Reports, it should match because sampling currently doesn’t happen in Reports. However, you may run into sampling with a very specific or granular report in Explore.

You can check this by looking at the icon at the top right of the report.

A green checkmark indicates the report is unsampled, and you shouldn’t see a top-level change when applying a secondary dimension.

Red or orange icons indicate different levels of sampling, and you can click the dropdown to get a sense of how heavily the report was sampled.

You can learn more about sampling here.

Q: Why is the Explore section limited to two- or 14-month data interval presets while everything else in GA4 can work with all data from when GA4 was initially set up?

A: This comes down to the difference between where and how data is pulled between Reports and Explore.

Reports use aggregated data from the Data API to populate reports, so user-specific detail cannot be accessed or inferred. Data deleted under the data retention policy does not affect the ability to build these kinds of reports, so you can use any date range without issue.

Explore pulls from raw and user-level data to build custom reports from scratch. It’s not possible to query raw data for date ranges further back than your data retention setting of two months or 14 months because user privacy laws require that user-level data from Google Signals is only retained for the period defined in your data retention settings.

This is true even if you’re building the exact same report as what you can see in Reports. It can’t access what it needs to build the report because it’s built with raw data rather than aggregated Data API data.

Google saves you the trouble of running into this problem by blocking you from being able to choose date ranges further back than two or 14 months.

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Tying It All Together: Google Analytics 4 (GA4) FAQ

We hope this GA4 FAQ clarified some of your questions about the new platform. Our expert team is dedicated to demystifying GA4 and empowering you to make data-driven decisions as a business leader.

With such a massive change to such an important tracking platform, you’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed. To explore the opportunities we can help you discover through GA4, send a message to our GA4-certified team today.