In 2008 Google Analytics was introduced. For ecommerce it was used to measure sources of traffic and conversion rates etc. However data in ecommerce is more complex then before. Example a buying journey starting on a mobile phone and then finishing on a tablet or a PC or some other device.
This is a lite guide and is not intended to a be a quick easy fix – there is none. GA4 is in beta but dont be put off
Analytics are no longer a vertical tree with branches but its now more a star burst journey. Traffic and conversions come from many difference sources and audiences.
Free Goggle Analytics ( GA or UA ) is being sunset in June 30th 2023, the paid version is being sunset in October 2023.
Old GA data will no longer available or useful because the new Google analytics 4 ( GA4 ) data is going to be really different.
Why is this important information ? The reason is that in Q4 of 2023 when you are looking to compare 12 months of data to help you make marketing decisions – you will not have this information if you have not implemented 12 months
Its not a click – install and forget change.
GA4 is a completely different way of collecting data from your online store about your audience. We say completely because to assume anything else will create bad analytics results that will make the ecommerce owner make bad decisions.
GA4 is getting more and more integrated into Adwords. This will be the possibly the main reason that most will be driven to using GA4. When GA4 is installed and running the Adwords suggestions and tuning will be easier.
If you have been using google tag manager its going to be a less dramatic change.
If you are running old GA then there are some changes you should make immediately.
Best way of optimising GA4 is to change your perspective. ( this is possibly applicable for all analytics )
- get an analysis mindset as oppose to a report mindset. In other words understand the data not that you are up and down.
- do hypothesis testing – what if we did x and y and then taking actions off this. The what ifs are based on the reports from point 1.
- get out of recording only the conversion click where you put a value on the ad spend vs the return. Look at attribution – where can we credit the sale to. % was from an ad % was from a tiktok video % was in instagram.
- dont forget about user properties. GA4 allows you to tag customers as they traverse different categories, devices and price ranges. UA cannot do this – GA4 can.
GA4 is also being implemented to allow for different data in different territories depending on their GDPR settings. This is really important as a store owner you will need to adhere to the local GDPR laws in the most subtle way that does not get in the way of the customer experience.
GA4 is best implemented using GA Tagging. It can be implemented other ways but its the difference between letting google plugin into you site with or controlling this plugin yourself.
Steps in implementing GA4.
- Install GA4 onto your site using GA tags or GA4
- Let it run for 90 days
- After 90 days do a mapping between the assets of UA and GA4 so as you can see that you are tracking the same things at least.
- Use GA4 to get more analytics on user behaviour across devices, across media, and more defined actions.
Differences between GA and GA4
- GA data model is based on sessions and pageviews. In contrast, the GA4 data model is based on events and parameters. Events can be attributed to devices, actions, results of any user. Its a 360 view if the user.
- No more hits – these are now events
- Report in 1 place on all devices
- Fewer Standard Reports
- Goals can be any event or a combination of events
Google Skill Shop Courses are a good place to go for the definitive information on GA4.