Setting Up Your Google Analytics 4 Property for Success

by Evyn Stevens, Digital Marketing Specialist

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Universal Analytics will no longer process new data in properties beginning July 1, 2023. Now is the time to set up your Google Analytics 4 property, so you can familiarize yourself with the software and won’t risk losing future data.

What is GA4?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the newest generation of Google Analytics that collects website and app data. Unlike previous iterations, GA4 focuses on event-based data instead of session-based information.

That means you can better track each customer’s journey through your website or app. The insight from event-based data can also improve A/B testing and online optimization.

Creating GA4 Custom Events with Google Tag Manager

First, you’ll need to create a Google Analytics 4: GA4 Configuration tag. That tag connects Google Tag Manager to your GA4 property and sends data when events are triggered.

Creating a tag:

  1. Name the tag “Google Analytics 4: GA4 Configuration.”
  2. Choose the tag type “Google Analytics 4: GA4 Configuration.”
  3. Input your GA4 measurement ID, which can be found in the data stream details. Go to Admin> Data Streams (under the property column) > Select the desired data stream. You will find the ID tag at the top right corner.
  4. Uncheck the box that reads “Send a page view event when this configuration loads” to avoid tracking page views twice. Page views are automatically tracked in GA4.
  5. Set your trigger type to “Page View” then “All Pages.” You’ll want the tag to track all pages unless you need to exclude specific pages, such as private logins.
  6. Publish the tag.

Let’s create the Google Analytics 4 custom event and use a page view for a thank you page as an example.

Tag configuration steps:

  1. Name your tag. In this example, we named it “GA4 Contact Us Thank You Page” to differentiate tags for account organization.
  2. Choose the tag type “Google Analytics: GA4 Event.”
  3. Select the Google Analytics 4: GA4 Configuration tag to ensure your GA4 collects the data when the event occurs.
  4. Name your event. In this example, we named it “Contact Us Thank You Page” to match the tag. Your event name will display exactly how you type it in Google Analytics.

Trigger configuration steps:

  1. Name your trigger. Ideally, you’ll use the same name as the tag to maintain account organization.
  2. Select “Page View” as the trigger type. Then choose “Some Page Views” if you only want to track a certain page.
  3. Set the trigger parameters to Page URL> contains> /thank-you. If your contact page’s URL ends differently, adjust the ending parameter accordingly.
  4. Publish your event tag.

Creating Google Analytics 4 Custom Events with GA4

Using the GA4 property to create custom events is a good alternative if you’re unfamiliar with Google Tag Manager. Again, we’ll use a page view for a thank you page as an example.

Custom event configuration steps:

  1. Create a custom event by navigating to Configure> Events> Create event.
  2. Name the event, using underscores for spaces.
  3. Create custom event parameters to be triggered when a user performs an action matching the conditions.
  4. Once completed, select “Create” to publish the custom event.

Creating GA4 Custom Conversions

You can create custom conversions once the configuration is complete. Events need to be configured first due to the nature of GA4.

There are two ways to create custom conversions. Both work regardless of whether you use Google Tag Manager or GA4.

Option 1: Mark an event as a conversion in GA4

Once the custom event is registered in the Events section, mark it as a conversion by moving the slider to the “Mark as conversion” column. Navigate to Configure> Events to reach that page.

Option 2: Create a new conversion event in GA4

You can establish a conversion once the custom event is created. It’s important to note that the conversion name must match the event for it to register successfully. Go to Configure> Conversions> New conversion event.

Filter Internal or Unwanted Traffic by IP Address

It’s important to eliminate unwanted traffic to avoid inaccurate reporting. GA4 allows you to filter out unnecessary data using IP addresses. You must define internal traffic before it can be excluded.

Defining internal traffic:

  1. Define internal traffic by going to Admin> Data Streams> Choose a data stream> Configure tag settings> Show all> Define internal traffic.
  2. Name the internal traffic source.
  3. Enter a traffic type value. Using distinct values helps differentiate multiple traffic sources.
  4. Select a match type for the IP address.
  5. Enter the IP address. If you’re unsure, you can search “what’s my IP address” on Google.
  6. Select “Create.”

Excluding internal traffic:

  1. Define internal traffic by going to Admin> Data Settings> Data Filters> Create Filter> Internal Traffic.
  2. Create a data filter name. You should use the same name you created when you defined internal traffic.
  3. Enter the filter option. It should match the traffic type value you entered when you defined the internal traffic source.
  4. Set the filter state to testing or active. A testing state allows you to test the traffic filter by selecting the “Test data filter name” dimension in reporting.
  5. Select “Create.”

Connect Google Ads to GA4

Are you running Google Ads? You can connect Google Ads accounts easily and simplify data analysis and reporting with GA4. Other benefits include better access to metrics, improved reporting and visual data analyses.

How to link Google Ads to GA4:

  1. Go to Admin> Google Ads Links (under the property section.)
  2. Select the blue “Link” button in the top right corner.
  3. Choose the desired Google Ads account to connect to the property.
  4. Configure the settings, leaving both accounts enabled.
  5. Review and submit.

Your Google property is now ready to go.

It’s important to get comfortable with GA4 as its ever-growing presence continues to influence digital marketing. The TouchStone Digital team can optimize your GA4 property and help you get your data monitoring efforts on track. Contact us online or call 419-299-9000 for more information.

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