How to configure GA4 properties: Part 2 [Google Ads]

Jun 16th, 2023

This article is a follow-up from our previous article How to configure GA4 properties: Part 1 [essentials]. The focus in part 2 is how to configure the properties related to Google ads. While it is not essential to read part 1 before diving into part 2 of this series, there are some configurations from part 1 that need to be set up prior to setting up some of the below configurations.

It is also important to note that to set up many of these configurations an admin access is needed, so please ensure you have the right access before initiating set-up.

All screenshots on this guide have come from the GA4 demo accounts, which can be accessed here.

There are many benefits to linking your GA4 properties to the Google ad accounts including:

  • Seeing Google ad campaigns in the Google ad report
  • Access new Google ad dimensions in the user acquisition report
  • See Google ad campaigns in the advertising section, including attribution reports
  • Import analytics conversions into your Google ad account
  • Enhance remarketing with analytics data

Before you start setting up for this link, you will need to ensure that you have an editor role in order to complete.

Navigate to the admin portal, and scroll down to the bottom of the property column to find the ‘product links’ section. Click on ‘Google Ads Links’ [see yellow highlight below].

Choose the Google Ad accounts, and select the ones you want to link – then click confirm. The default setting for this is to enable personalised advertising. For auto-tagging, you can leave as is, or you can expand the toggle and enable the auto-tagging.

Once you have done all this, you can review your settings and then submit.

Note that you can only link 4 properties to the Google Analytics account; per property, you can create up to 400 links.

As mentioned in the previous section, in GA4 ‘enable personalised advertising’ is the default setting.

If you have been following our series so far, you will have set up your conversions by following our steps in the previous article. Once conversions are set up, you can then import them across to Google ads; the benefits of doing this include:

  • Having access to your analytics conversions and data related to Google Ads clicks.
  • You can see your analytics conversions data in Google Ads.
  • You can help optimise bids by giving Google ads smart bidding access.

This step can only be completed once you have:

  1. Linked Google ads to analytics
  2. Allowed for personalised advertising

The above two sections will take you through the steps for this.

Sign into your Google ads account. In the top right, click ‘tools and settings’. Navigate to measurement, and then click conversions.

In the top left you will see ‘new conversion action’, click this, and then click import. Select Google Analytics 4 properties, then click continue.

You will then be prompted to select the conversion events you want to import, then click important and continue.

If you have…

  • Linked your analytics account to Google Ads
  • Kept the default option to ‘enable personalised advertising’

…then your audiences will be available in your shared library on the Google ads platform. You can use these audiences in your ad campaigns to remarket to existing or previous users, as well as create similar audiences to prospects for new users.

To create an audience, first navigate to the admin portal. In the property column, click audiences [see yellow highlight below].

After you click ‘new audience’ you can either:

  • Create a new audience by defining all the parameters yourself
  • Use a template, and then modify as needed
  • Select a suggested audience – you can use this as is, or modify to your need

Create a new audience

After following the above steps, if you decide you want to create a new audience click ‘create a custom audience’. Describe your audience, and give it a name. To add your audience conditions, click ‘add new condition’. You can add conditions based on:

  • Dimensions
  • Metrics
  • Events

Following this, you will need to set up the scope of the condition:

  • Across all sessions: all conditions must be met during the lifetime of the user
  • Within the same session: all conditions must be set within the same session
  • Within the same event: all conditions must be met in a single event

To add additional conditions, click ‘add condition group’. For users who you want to meet conditions in a specific order or within a specific time period, click ‘add sequence’.

If you want to exclude specific users, click ‘add group to exclude’.

Using a template

Templates are already partially configured audiences that identify a set of dimensions that are widely applicable across several businesses. As an example, the ‘demographics’ template includes:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Interest IDs
  • Location dimensions

After completing the audience definition, click save.

Select a suggested audience

A number of fully configured audiences are also provided by Google Analytics. These can be used as is, or be modified if necessary. These configured audiences are based on the categories you specify for your apps in the Apple’s app store, or the Google Play store, as well as the industry category you specify upon configuring a property.

You can either use these audiences as is, or you can add conditions, sequences, or change membership duration.

Once you have chosen your audience type, and all the above is complete, you can click save, and save your conditions to create the audience.

Using analytics audiences in your Google ads is known as remarketing or retargeting; this allows you to re-engage users based on their previous behaviour whilst navigating your app or on your website. Based on your audience set up [see above], users will fall into audiences that are relative to their behaviour and/or demographics, and will therefore mean they are eligible to see related ads.

Analytics automatically creates two audiences:

  • Purchasers: users who have made a purchase, either of an app, within an app [in-app purchase], or on the website.
  • All users: users who have either installed your app, or engaged in activity on your website.

To enable Google ads remarketing, you need to:

  • Activate Google signals for the property
  • Link your Google ads and analytics account
  • Select the option to enable personalised advertising

Once this is set up, allow up to two days for the lists to be available in Google Ads

If you have followed all of the above steps, and have ticked off all of the configurations in part 1 of this series, then you should be able to tick all the boxes in our recommended configurations checklist.

Keep an eye out for our Part 3 in this series, where we take you through additional GA4 properties to consider.

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