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Why Businesses Owners Should Move to GA4 NOW and How to Do So

ga4 google analytics measurement marketing Dec 06, 2022
A title image featuring Dina Pruitt an expert in Google Analytics and GA$

Dina Pruitt is an expert in Google Analytics and GA4, Google's new platform. Recently, Dina has helped me deepen my understanding of GA4 so I can continue to monitor the results of my clients’  ad campaigns with Google as they all move from measuring their website activity with Universal Analytics to Googles new  GA4. ! Without further ado, let me introduce you to Dina!

 

Thank you for joining me, Dina, I appreciate you being here and helping me decipher Google Analytics like you've done so already so many times this year! Would you mind telling us more about yourself? 

Thank you. I'm really happy to be here, Meredith!  I love working with businesses on their measurement strategy. Business owners are always on the hunt for the next best thing to help their business grow. So I help them  get their analytics set up in the most efficient way to see positive results. I go in on the backend of their website to set analytics up, get things configured properly and help customize their website to best fit their Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA) on their consumer journey. Then I teach them how to read it, or build out visual dashboards!

You are definitely an analytical guru, so I’m excited to learn more! Now let's talk about

Why Businesses Owners  Should Move to GA4 NOW and How to Do So

Will you start by telling us what GA4 is, exactly? 

Yes, absolutely. GA4 is the new Google Analytics platform. It is replacing Universal Analytics. The current Universal Analytics, that many businesses have running on their website is going to stop working next year. Specifically, it will no longer collect data after June 30th, 2023. So this is really important for business owners, or for anyone that is tracking what's happening on their website to get GA4 on their website.

I'm encouraging everyone I know to do it by the end of this year, that way when you get into 2023, you will have one platform that the data will be consistent across the whole year. If you wait until June and you make the change, then you're going to have six months on Universal, and you're going to have the rest of the year on a different platform. So, if you do any kind of data comparison, you're not going to be comparing apples to apples.

You’ll be able to look back at the old data, but it won't collect anymore. I recommend you run both platforms in parallel for now, keep your Universal and add GA4 to compare data. 

 

So it's important to switch to GA4 now, even if a business owner isn’t  measuring the analytics of her website YET, because it doesn't start collecting data until you put the code on your website. Is that correct?

 

That's right.

 

That’s good to know. How would you describe using GA4 to a small business owner?

Well, the purpose of analytics is really to be able to measure your customer journey. It allows you to look at what's happening on your website and follow along. If you're just measuring numbers and you say, "Okay, how many people landed on my article?”, it might be interesting to know that you had 50 or 100, but what are you doing with that information? So in general, it allows you to really hone in on what's happening on your website, and use it to make more educated decisions about your business.

An example might be what blog posts are the most popular, and how are people getting there? But the cool thing about GA4 is you can measure are they scrolling to the bottom? Are they reading the whole thing? How much time are they spending on the website? Anyone that really is doing any type of marketing and wants to make sure that they are spending their marketing dollars wisely can get value out of analytics.

Everything in GA4 is measured as an event, it's very, very flexible and you really can understand the engagement of users on the website. They've really simplified the way you set up goals and events. I think in Universal Analytics, a lot of people found it was really hard to set up goals. GA4 is very user friendly.

Including me. I started to look into setting up goals,my eyes glazed over and I thought, nope, I don't want to deal with this today, and I never went back to it.

I think most business owners could agree.  I’ve dealt with hundreds of analytics accounts, and most of them don't have them set up, which is a shame because it’s vital to see across sources of traffic what's happening.

I’m definitely guilty of that. So since it is vital for a business owner, how exactly does GA4 track website traffic? 

 

By default GA4 does a number of things. It measures page views, 90% scroll, so it'll tell if they made it down to 90% of the page, outbound clicks, so clicks off your site to other sites.

 

 If you have a site search,  it measures and captures the search terms that people are typing in and it measures video engagement for your YouTube video, so when they hit play, how long they played it for, and if they watch to the end. It also measures file downloads, so PDFs and things like that. All of these things are measured by default, so with no real work or searching from the business owner. 

 

That is amazing.

 

Once you can set up your own events in GA4, you can decide how exactly you want to measure a particular event.  For example, you can set up an event to measure when people click a certain button on a certain page. The possibilities are endless!

 

Moving to GA4 definitely sounds like the way to go! So how does a business owner download GA4, and how do they best utilize it in their role? 

 

Activating your GA4 account is fairly simple. Once you log into your Universal Analytics account, you're going to go to the Admin section, there's a gear in the lower left corner of your analytics account, you click that. When you're on that screen, there's going to be a column in the center and you're going to click a blue button that says, “Create a Property”. By default this will be GA4. 

 

 

From there you'll go in and you'll follow the prompts,which has two parts, the Property and the Stream.  Once you finish creating your Property, it will ask you to create a Stream. Once you finish the prompts of creating the stream, you'll have your snippet of code. If you have some of the more common websites, they actually added the instructions for how to get the code onto your website. Some website platforms let you just paste in an ID and they've already got it connected in, and some of them you've got to paste in the whole code. That's basically it!

 

One pro tip I have is when you set up your property, one of the questions is asked  to set your time zone, and by default I think it's set to Pacific time. You want to match the time zone in your analytics to the time zone of your website, because you want them to be tracking things the same way. So you can imagine if your website's set for Eastern and your analytics is set for Pacific time, there's going to be a mismatch in what happens if there's conversions or sales or anything like that. So you want them to be on the same time zone so that they're tracking the same way.

 

That’s a really good tip, that can get confusing fast! After this,what's the next step to make it a part of their business?

 

Once you turn it on and it is collecting information, that's what I call activation. 

 

In GA4 you can see some data inside of real-time reports, but you'll have to wait 24 hours to get actual data. But once you do, you can go to the ‘Reports’ section.  

From the Reports menu, and then you'll go to Acquisition and Traffic Acquisition. GA4n tells you engagement rate, which is a really nice thing. A lot of time people used to look at bounce rate, and it's not really available in GA4. You can get to it, but it's not the same thing. 

But what's cool about Engagement Rate is by default GA4 counts engagement if someone spends 10 seconds on your site, views two or more pages, or triggers a conversion event, then they consider them engaged. So if they just hit your website and leave right away, or they only stay on one page and they don't stay for 10 seconds, then they don't count them as an engaged user. You have control over the length of the customer’s stay. It defaults to 10 seconds, but if you wanted to say, "I don't think that's long enough, my engaged users  need to stay for 20 seconds",  you can change that in the settings.

That is so cool! I think it can be super challenging to track Engagement. Like what is successful versus not, but with how specific this gets I think business owners can target their ICA much more accurately! 

 I like looking at the engagement rate because you can break it down by channel. For example, let’s say I'm looking at your metrics and people that come to your site from organic search are the most engaged. You can do a lot with that information!

That's so interesting. I like that.

And they're very highly engaged too, great. Then the next thing is it shows you Events and you can then pick the Events that you have set up. There are the ones that are by default, and then there are Clicks and Scrolls. If you add new events, they show up there, and you can sort and view that data by any event, and then you can sort and view it by conversions.

I think it would be helpful to know what questions you want to be answered from GA4, and go back and set up any events they need to answer those questions. Right? 

Dina: 

Absolutely. It comes down to having a measurement strategy. When thinking about your data, you're thinking about questions  about your customer journey, and so you want to think about: what and how questions. What are they doing and how are they doing it. Analytics is really good at answering those questions once it's set up and configured properly.

 

Take it one step further and ask yourself what action will I take once I know the answer? For example, a question might be, “What do people search for most often on my website?”  So that's a ‘what’ question. You'll be able to see the terms searched. Whatever was searched for, you now have the tools to make it more discoverable for your customer. Using analytics can help you answer your what and how questions by simply finding what is valuable to your customer. Determining  the sources with the highest conversion rates for your opt-in, or your freebie can help you decide what type of action to take. 

 

I love that. For some reason Google Analytics didn't come easy to me, it took me a little while to understand it, and you taught me just to start with one question.

You {reader} are going to think of so many questions and then answers, and then what you could do with those answers, but just pick one. Pick one, master that, and then go back and pick another. That helped me to utilize Google Analytics. I  mastered  a question and answer, and then I was ready for another one.

 I love that. That's absolutely correct, just start with one thing, and the rest will start to flow. 

For me, I found consistency is key! I use Google Analytics once a week to measure the optin results of my clients' ad campaigns, and now I feel more comfortable with the tool.

I'm really getting benefits from using it, and now it's not as intimidating to add more measured events to my workflows from Google Analytics.

This was such great information!  If someone would like to find out about working with you, how should they get in touch with you?

My website is d2strategic.com. I am also on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/dina.pruitt/  and LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/dinapruitt/. I regularly host workshops that are teaching business owners about how to use GA4. I encourage you to visit my website, if you are interested in signing up for one of my workshops to learn more!

 

Workshops are a great way to learn, so I can imagine how beneficial it would be to learn all about GA4 in a dedicated workshop. Thanks so much for joining me, Dina! I can’t wait to dive deeper into GA4!

 

I find great joy in sharing this information with others. Thanks so much for interviewing me! 



Meredith Kallaher helps small business owners Expand Their Reach and Explode Their Sales with

1. Facebook and Instagram Advertising Strategy and Management

2. Conversion Copy Writing

3. Kajabi Product Build Outs

Learn How Meredith Can Help You Build Your Business and Exceed Your Sales Goals. Book a FREE DISCOVERY CALL Today.

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