Our answers to top GA4 queries and difficulties

Aug 8th, 2022

After a lot of questions from professionals in the marketing industry, we thought we’d put together our top five complaints about GA4, and how to improve your experience ready for July 1st 2023.

There was a lot of anger following the 2012 update from Windows 7 to Windows 8, with many feeling that it changed too much and for no reason; are there similar feelings towards the migration from UA to GA4?

How do I get the dataLayers right in Google Tag Manager (GTM) when setting up ecommerce tracking?

Google Tag Manager is a free data container by Google Analytics but the integration of GTM and GA4 hasn’t been seamless for many analytics users, due to the heavy reliance on accurate tagging and proper dataLayer implementation.

What we all must remember is that GA4 is not simply an upgrade from UA, but a different platform entirely. While GA4 has features previously not available in UA, set up is very different from what marketers are used to.

If you use your existing UA ecommerce implementation (i.e. dataLayer events and gtag.js code) with a GA4 property, your GA4 ecommerce reports will not be complete.

Google has written ‘Common mistakes with tag set up’, for those who are not seeing reports after 24 hours.

In order to get an accurate (and working) ecommerce report there are two additional pieces of code (dataLayer), to inform purchase and product view details to GA4.

Here we’ll use a purchase dataLayer as an example.

On completion of an order, the purchase dataLayer will pass trackable variables such as revenue and postage logistics etc.

There are four steps to creating a purchase dataLayer:

  • Adding the code to the checkout page.
  • Creating a custom event.
  • Creating a data layer variable.
  • Creating a new tag in GTM.

When you create a purchase dataLayer code it is important to remember that they can vary depending on the data collection strategy you use.

Once you have the code, you need to add it to the checkout page before adding it to GTM. Another important thing to remember is what was once a ‘hit type’ on UA is now an event on GA4 as it was created to give a unified view of the customer journey across web and app.

There’s a lot to dataLayers – and at this point we recommend getting in touch with us to talk about the switch from UA to GA4 for a more indepth look into the platform.

How do I replicate reports?

Change can bring great opportunities, but you may be quite attached to the default reports in the user interface of UA.

At this moment in time, you cannot migrate your data to GA4, and it’s not likely to be a feature we’ll see just yet (if at all).

The reports on GA4 thus far are limited and can be bulky, so we recommend building reports in Data Studio – a guide for this is coming soon!

Our article ‘What you need to know about switching to GA4’ can give more information about the migration.

Is there a way round the report processing latency?

A common complaint from many users is the fact that realtime changes made to a report aren’t seen until 24 to 48 hours later. A frustrating change from UA and we’re hopeful that Google will see that day-by-day data reporting needs to be actioned quicker than 1, or even 2, days later.

Accounts with over 200,000 daily sessions get data refreshes only once a day, meaning you won’t be seeing the latest data on core metrics. We’ll keep a close eye on this question.

How do I add GA4 to WordPress?

WordPress.org is the free, open-source WordPress software that you can install on your own web host to create a website that’s 100% your own. GA4 may have its problems but it does have some great features that complement WordPress:

  • Smarter Insights
  • Deeper Integration with Google Ads or Adwords
  • Customer-Centric Data Measurement
  • More Data Controls

If using WordPress, you’ll need to set up GA4, and this is how…

It starts at your GA4 dashboard, so make sure you have that important tab open. As this is where you create a new GA4 property. You can either click on Admin > Create Account, or select an existing account that you want to set up your new property on.

The ‘Create Property’ button will take you to the property details page, where you just need to add in details that you think are relevant. To move forward all you have to do is click ‘next’ which just gives you more options to answer – when you are confident you are finished, click the ‘create’ button.

From there you will be on the “Data Streams” page. You will see that there are three different options available. iOS App, Android App, and Web. Select “Web.”

Again, you are prompted with questions that you need to answer only if relevant – this includes adding your URL, giving your stream a name, and adding or subtracting any enhanced measurements you want.

It is imperative that you install the tracking code on your wordpress; from your web stream (on GA4), click on the “Add new on-page Tag” option and Select Global Tag (gtag.js).

It’s now time to add the tracking code to your site, log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and paste the code into the head of your site. Finally, click on the “Save” button to save your code.

How do I find “bounce rate” in GA4?

In short, you can’t. However you can use a concept similar to ‘Bounce’ called ‘Engaged Session’ where there are rules in order for a user to qualify, these are:

  • Actively engaged with your website or app in the foreground for at least 10 seconds
  • Fire a conversion event
  • Fire 2 or more screen or page views

There are also some new metrics in GA4 “property” that are built on top of this concept:

  • Engagement Rate = (engaged sessions) / (sessions)
  • Engaged Sessions per User = (engaged sessions) / (users)
  • Engagement Time = sum(engagement time)

The deadline for the migration from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 is coming. You now have 11 months to transfer your data to GA4 in order to have the most accurate reports, contact us as soon as you can to get GA4 securely under your belt.

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