4 Common Mistakes When Setting Up Google Analytics 4 and How to Avoid Them
The end is in sight for Universal Analytics (UA), so stop hesitating about getting onboard with Google Analytics 4 – you are going to have to adopt it anyway. The sooner you adopt GA4, the better, to ensure you protect your data.
You might be wondering why Google have decided to update Google Analytics. The answer is simple – “It was time to redesign the infrastructure to make Google Analytics more user-friendly while preserving the key features and functionality you enjoy in UA properties today” (Google).
Google Analytics 4 has been created to scale with your business and enable easier measurement across devices and platforms.
Be aware that when you set-up your Google Analytics 4 account, it is easy to make mistakes.
Here are 4 common mistakes when setting up GA4 and how to avoid them:
1. Not Extending Data Retention Period
You have the choice on how long Analytics should retain data before it gets automatically deleted.
Google Analytics 4 Properties:
For conversions and all other user-level data, the data retention period can be set to a maximum of 14 months but the default is set to collect only 2 months of data. At Tag Digital, we would recommend extending the data retention period to the maximum setting – this allows you to keep your data for longer, which will help when it comes to analysing trends and reporting
For all other events, you are able to choose the data retention length – either 2 or 14 months. Due to GDPR, for age, gender and interest data, the two month retention period is automatically applied. If you extend the data retention period, it will be applied to the data you have already collected.
2. Not Linking to Accounts in Google Ads
GA4 offers enhanced, seamless integrations with Google products including Google Ads.
This is quick and easy to do, but it is often forgotten about.
By linking your Google Analytics 4 property to the Google Ads platform, you are able to unlock benefits including streamlined conversion measurement, which allows you to better optimise campaign performance and drive greater marketing ROI.
3. Not Setting Up Cross-Domain Tracking
Cross-domain tracking enables a single user’s activity to be accurately attributed as they cross domains, by identifying each unique website user and session using first-party cookies.
If cross-domain tracking is not set up, every time a user visits a domain, new cookies with new identifiers are set. The new cookies are counted by Analytics as separate users with separate sessions.
4. Not Considering Micro and Macro conversions
Migrating to Google Analytics 4 gives you the opportunity to reflect on what the most important actions are that you want website visitors to carry out and apply context to these by setting your macro and micro conversions. A macro conversion refers to a significant success action – for example a purchase. A micro conversion refers to an action that might likely indicate a macro conversion later down the line – for example a newsletter sign-up or a contact us submission.
GA4 tracks the progress through the funnel stages of the buyer journey to conversion, with the funnel stages often represented by the micro conversions.
Make sure to set up both your micro and macro conversions to ensure your business has deep insights into improving the user experience, remarketing, and communications, to ultimately boost the macro conversions.
Tag Digital can support you to:
Full audit your GA4 account if you have already set it up but want to check it is set up correctly
Set-up your GA4 account to ensure you have as much data as possible in your account before google sunsets Universal Analytics, as well as capturing the data without interruption.