Checklist: Your pain free guide to Google Analytics 4

Are you late to the Google Analytics 4 party? Don’t worry, we’re all playing catch up. Colleen Harris’ killer Masterclass, “Making Google Analytics 4 Part of the Team” will be your fast guide to getting started and setting up a foundation for success.  

Looking for a shortcut? We got you covered. This ‘Quick Wins’ checklist will give you the fast-paced version of how to easily approach Google Analytics 4 (with only a few metrics at a time!), recommended settings for success, and the new reporting features that will make the biggest impact on your strategy.

Checklist: Your fast-paced (pain free) guide to Google Analytics 4

✔️Defining Success Metrics

Work through these exercises to define what ‘success’ looks like to you and any stakeholders (boss, client, etc.), so that you’re all in agreement on which data points matter.

Website Success Metrics 

  • What do you think 3 success metrics are for your website? 
  • What would your boss say 3 success metrics are for your website? 
  • What are 3 actions on your website your customer would consider a success? 

Channel Success Metrics  

  • What do you think are the 3 most successful channels for your website? 
  • What would your boss think the 3 most successful channels are for your website? 
  • What are the 3 channels your customers expect to see you in? 

💡 Compromise on a metric your stakeholder might want to keep the conversation open and flexible around the data points that really make a difference.

✔️Translating Success Into ‘What to Track’

Work through these questions to define what “events” (or actions) your user takes that would be used to indicate your success list from above:

  • What events would you want to track on a product page?
    • Think photos, specs, etc. Keep this limited to 3-5 metrics.
  • What events would you want to track on a search results page?
    • How far down the page or through the inventory
  • What events would you want to track on a service page?
    • Purpose or action behind your content 
  • What events would you want to track across your whole website?
  • What events would you want to track in your chat tools? 

💡 Success in Google Analytics was tracked by visits, reading blogs, and email opens. Success will be tracked by lead gen (email sign-ups, purchases), readers scrolling to the bottom of a page, website visitors coming from email (via UTM efforts).

✔️Getting Started

Whether you’ve pushed the ‘Take me to Google Analytics 4’ button long ago or are getting ready to push, don’t miss these KEY insights:

  • Ownership matters: Set up your Google Analytics account under a general business email ([email protected]) for better transparency and to avoid a loss of data.
  • Views are gone: All data will be housed via data streams. This is why getting on the same page and setting up your successes are KEY!
  • Data Stream: Select the stream that aligns best with your organization (most will select website). Name your view something you’ll remember! 
  • Enhanced Measurements: Turn on Enhanced Measurement so that Google will automatically track the most common events on your websites automatically
  • Configure Tagging Settings: Find this through Admin > Streams > Configure Tagging Settings > Show More
    • If you can, turn on Collect Universal Tagging
    • Turn on ‘Override Cookie Settings’, as it’s a Google recommended setting 
    • ‘List unwanted referrals’ and ‘Define internal traffic’ can only be done through domain names. This does not filter out completely, but will create its own channel grouping 
    • Insights are replacing alerts. Set this up to alert you if your traffic falls by a certain percentage. These alerts can also train the algorithm to dictate if an insight was helpful and by default, feed you better insights.  

✔️Customize Events & Understanding Your Metrics 

Start configuring your events and familiarize yourself with the new report layout so that you can easily view and share your tracked events. 

  • Page Views
    • To track page views on one or multiple page(s), set up a custom page view event (Page Location = URL)  
  • Customize the Homepage 
    • Choose the most important metrics to your team on the homepage as an easy view (use your exercises to as the foundation for your GA homepage!)
  • Channel Grouping & Reports 
    • When building reports, use either channel source (user or traffic), but make sure to choose the same one throughout  
    • Source medium now defines channel grouping, so these should be the bare minimum of what you set up in your UTM tagging. Add in campaign to provide another level of insights of where along a campaign cycle a user engages. 
    • User Pages and Screens Reports will default to page titles instead of URL’s. Toggle to page path to see the URL versus the page name. 
    • Bounce Rate is now Engagement Rate. Engagement rate should be your focus and will allow you to dive into richer digital journeys. 
  • Segments & Audiences
    • Audiences = To view a sub-set of data, specifically to build audience for Google Ads or other tools. Use Google’s recommended templates.  
    • Comparisons = To compare data sub-sets, you MUST select both a metric and a dimension 
  • Conversions & Attributions (Cross Channel Data Driven Model) 
  • You can now see by a default channel grouping the early, mid and late touchpoints prior to a user converting.
  • Remember the events you laid out and customized? This section will guide you along your events to understand what pushes a user forward to purchase. Use this view to drill down to conversions by campaign to identify the difference between influencing a user versus converting them.

💡 Compare your efforts Quarter over Quarter for better, timelier results! Year over Year is too outdated due to the rapid speed of tech.