Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the newest version of Google Analytics that was launched in October 2020. GA4 gives companies a more in-depth understanding of their website users and their behavior. This data can then be used to better future visitors’ experiences on your website. One of the most important components of GA4 is the goals. In this article, we will discuss some of the differences within GA4, how to set up goals, the different goals available, and why setting up goals are important for the success of your business.
New Features of GA4
One of the many new features and key differences between GA4 and its predecessor Universal Analytics is that GA4 uses an event-driven data model instead of session-based data. Within an event-driven data model, an event is any user interaction through the website or app that can be tracked. Each event tracked is made up of the event name, timestamp, and any parameters associated with the event. Since GA4 focuses on events, this means that before you set up an action as a goal, you first need to construct an event that corresponds with said action.
This version of GA4 allows for more comprehensive and precise information about the user and can be tracked across multiple devices including websites, mobile apps, and offline. With event-based data, you are able to gain more meaningful data on the visitors to your site. This is because it gives you more flexibility in what you would like to track. GA4 is also able to combine the data from your website with the data from your mobile app. Ultimately, this makes it easier to compare data and gives a more holistic understanding of the users.
Another difference with GA4 is that “goals” are now called “conversions” and all conversions are measured using GA4 events. User interactions with your website or app trigger GA4 events to generate. It is also important to note that in the previous versions of Google Analytics, you were limited to 20 goals. In GA4, you can have up to 30 conversions per property. This is just one of the many differences between the old version of GA and GA4.
Types of Conversions in GA4
One of the new features of GA4 goals is that they are split into micro and macro conversions. These two types of conversions help you better understand what pages are engaging your customers and are effective in helping them complete the goals you set up.
Micro conversions are the small actions or behaviors that site visitors take on your website or app. These conversions are an indication that the user is moving towards a more significant goal or conversion. In other words, they are the small actions that lead to the main action. Examples of micro conversion are signing up for emails and promotions, following social media pages, or adding a product to a shopping cart.
Macro conversions are the most important goals and objectives of your business. These are the goals that you want your visitors to end up completing. Macro conversions immediately affect the organization’s bottom line. By tracking macro conversions, you can learn the most effective ways to increase customers. Examples of macro conversions are making a purchase, creating an account, or completing a survey.
Predefined conversions are ones that cannot be disabled or changed. You can see these when you go into your Google Analytics 4 property, then go to ”Admin” and then “Conversions.” However, you can only see these conversions once they have been triggered by a site visitor. Examples of predefined conversions are:
- first_open (applies to mobile apps)
- purchase (applies to website and mobile purchases)
- in_app_purchase (applies to mobile apps)
Types of Events in Google Analytics 4
In Google Analytics 4, there are four different categories of events. When planning out new events, you should check to see if your event already exists in automatically collected events, enhanced measurement events, or recommended events. If it is not, then that is when you would create a custom event.
Automatically Collected Events
These are the events that already exist and automatically collect data whenever you first set up your Google Analytics account for your website and app.
Enhanced Measurement Events
These events also exist when you set up your Google Analytics account. However, for these events to start collecting data, you need to manually enable them.
Recommended events are ones that you implement, but they already have predetermined names and parameters in place.
Custom events should only be built when you cannot find the event you need in one of the categories above. Standard reports usually do not include custom events. If you want the data from that, you will need to manually set it up.
Setting Up Goals With GA4
To show conversions first, you need to set up event tracking in Google Analytics. Setting up goals with GA4 is a little different than how you did it in Universal Analytics.
Determine Important Micro and Macro Conversions
Before you start setting up your goals, you should plan for the significant interactions you wish to categorize as conversion events. Try to think of all the small micro goals that could happen before the big macro conversion
Check Predefined Conversions
Next, you’ll want to get familiar with all the predefined conversions in GA4. Depending on whether or not you have a mobile app set up, the predefined conversions may differ.
Mark Existing Events as Conversions
To view all the active events, click “Events.” Then, click the toggle button to mark it as a conversion for that event. Make sure to specify the pages. If you create page_visit as a conversion, then every page that a user visits will be marked under the same category. You can specify it more by creating uniquely named events for each page like page_visit_signupcompete or page_visit_purchaseconfirm.
Create New Goals
Under the “Events” tab, you can click “Create event” which will take you to a custom event window. Then you can name the new event, set up parameters, and get specific about what exact things you want to be tracked. After that, you can select a value or a URL to link the conversion as well.
New goals can also be set up using Google Tag Manager. This approach makes it easier to add, set up events, and track conversions without much prior knowledge.
Testing Your Conversions
Once you have finished setting up all your conversions, it is important to test your conversion events to make sure everything is appearing and running properly. Keep in mind that it may take 24 hours for the conversions to show up.
GA4 DebugView, which is accessible in GA4, should be used to make sure the parameters for each conversion event are accurate. This tool also shows you how to monitor technical difficulties with the events as well.
Monitor Your Conversions
Setting up your conversions to collect data is just the first step. Make sure to check your conversion event reports frequently. You can do this in the conversion overview section of GA4. By keeping up to date with your data, you can improve your conversion events and add new parameters as needed.
The goal will be founded under the Custom Events list under the “Measurement” tab. It is also important to note that even though the event is created, it will not appear until it is triggered. Once it has been triggered, it can then be marked as a conversion. Once the event has been marked, you can track all of your conversions under the conversions tab and see which goals are most frequently completed. From there, you can take the necessary steps to improve your website/app. In order to measure conversions accurately, you need to make sure that every webpage you want to be tracked has a Google Analytics event setup.
Why Is It Important to Set Up GA4 Goals?
Businesses that do not set up and track conversions in GA4 miss out on important information that is essential for the overall success of their business. You can also set up Google Analytics so that it tracks things in a specific order. For example, if a customer watches a promotional video and then signs up for a free trial during the same session, GA4 can tell you how many users are doing that. From that information, you can determine how effective that promotional video is. GA4 helps you see the overall picture and understand what things are helping your business, keeping visitors engaged, and what might be causing problems. GA4 goals help to:
- Optimize your marketing campaigns, website design, and usability
- Identify the problem areas in user engagement and buying
- Measure the areas that are successful
- Have a better understanding of the audience
- Improve your content and/or merchandise
- Focus on the right metrics that add to the profitability of your business
At SEO Design we also offer Google Analytics services and can complete the entire process for you.
- What is the difference between GA4 and UA?
- How do I use the new GA4?
- What are conversions in GA4?
- Why is it important to set up GA4 goals?
- What are the types of events in GA4?
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