How to configure your Google Analytics 4 for success

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In less than a month, Google Analytics 4 will be one year old. Have you adopted it yet?

At the very least tell me you have it running on your site… please?

Here’s the thing – as we’ve talked about before, Google Analytics 4 will ultimately be our only GA platform option.

That alone is not a big deal. However, since GA4 does not populate data from Universal Analytics, you need to get started with tracking!

Okay, I get off the high horses. Let’s see how to properly configure GA4 so you can get started.

Properties of Google Analytics 4

Perhaps one of the biggest fundamental changes in Google Analytics 4 is the way “properties” are managed.

Universal Analytics requires you to create a separate property for each of your online entities.

If you have an iOS app – owned. Android application – property. Website – property.

In GA4, properties are created using data flow. A data feed is used to pull data from an online entity and push it into your property.

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Each property can have up to 50 data streams.

This means that all of your data resides in one place! You see all of this together in order to have a better picture of your users’ journeys.

Configure your data flows

Correct configuration of your data flows is necessary to get the most out of GA4.

To create a data feed in GA4, go to your account settings and under Goods to select Data flow.

Screenshot from Google Analytics 4, September 2021

From here you can create your data feed by selecting Add a feed, then choosing the type of entity whose data you want to extract (iOS app, Android app, or web).

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Speeding up this setup process is very easy, but be sure to slow it down! You might want to go through this screen, but some really important things are happening here.

PS. If your feeds are already configured, no worries. You get the same options when you go to Admin> Data feed and click on your data feeds.

Inter-domain monitoring

One of the most overlooked configurations of Universal Analytics is cross-domain traffic. What’s frustrating about this is the fact that so many people have multiple domains!

However, this is not the easiest process in UA.

When you configure your data flow in GA4, cross-domain tracking is managed under More marking settings.

Screenshot of Google Analytics data feed configuration options 4.Screenshot from Google Analytics 4, September 2021

To set up cross-domain tracking using GA4, simply go to Admin> Data Feeds> More tagging settings> Configure your domains.

From there, you just need to set the domain settings and place the tag on those sites, and Bam!

You have inter-domain monitoring.

IP filters

There is a lot going on in this vision of More marking settings. On this screen, you can define the IP traffic that you want to filter.

Screenshot of google analytics data feed 4 more tagging options.Screenshot from Google Analytics 4, September 2021

To define internal traffic (or other specific IP) in GA4, you go to Admin> Data flow> More tagging settings> Define internal traffic.

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On this screen, you can set the IP addresses from which you do not want to track traffic.

Domain referral filters

Just below Define internal traffic you see the option of List of unwanted references. It’s a really beneficial filter for those who use a third-party payment processor, landing page platform, blogging platform, etc.

To define the referrers that you want GA4 to ignore, you can choose from the following match types:

  • The reference domain contains
  • The reference domain begins with
  • The reference domain ends with
  • The reference domain exactly matches
  • The reference domain corresponds to RegEx

Match types can be stacked with and / or conditions.

Adjust session timeout

The last option on the More marking settings the screen is Adjust session timeout. Obviously, this is where you can adjust the session timeout settings. You might think this is not important, however, the default session timeout is 30 minutes.

I don’t know about you, but I think 29 minutes is a long time to sit idle before you pick up your next scroll.

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You will notice that this screen also allows you to Adjust the timer for engaged sessions. By default, the timer is set to 10 seconds.

Now you may want to adjust this, but it’s important to note that in GA4 Google refers to sessions started like 10 seconds or more.

Screenshot of the definition of engaged sessions from Google Analytics 4. Screenshot from Google Analytics 4, September 2021

It might not seem important, but engagement metrics are all based on engaged sessions, and engagement metrics have replaced behavior metrics (like bounce rate).

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So set this timer carefully.

Sign in to Google Ads

After you’ve set up your data feeds, the next thing to consider is Google product linking. Now GA4 is not as robust as UA; However, there is still an option to link to Google Ads.

If you are using Google Ads, you want to connect Google Ads to GA4.

Without going too far, GA4 offers predictive audiences. These predictive audiences can be marketed using Google Ads.

Connect to Big Query

For all data enthusiasts, this is possibly the best news of the post. You can now sign in to Big Query without having Google Analytics 360.

To link your GA4 account to BigQuery:

  1. Go to the administration screen and under the properties column and select BigQuery Association.
  2. To select Connect in the upper left corner.
  3. To select Choose a BigQuery project.
  4. A list of BigQuery projects for which you have at least “read” permission will appear. Choose the project you want to link to.
  5. Choose the location of the data.
  6. Specify the data feeds you want to export.
  7. Choose how often you want to export the data.
  8. Review and submit the changes.

And just like that, you have a GA4 connection to BigQuery.

The fundamentals are fundamental

You might not like GA4 yet, but in order to give it the best possible bang, it is imperative to configure it correctly. And as you can see, it’s not very difficult!

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As you go through the process, you will see that there are indeed a few signs that Google * may * have been listening to the needs of marketers and that they really tried to. make things as easy as possible.

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Featured Image: Sammby / Shutterstock


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