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Misconceptions about Google Analytics 4

2/28/23

Since the release of Google Analytics 4, there have been some misconceptions and false expectations about what the new analytics platform will provide. While it is definitely different from Universal Analytics, we dug in to highlight exactly what these misconceptions are and why they are not true. Here are the top four misconceptions about GA4.

Misconception #1: I can put off setting up my Google Analytics 4 account.

Universal Analytics (UA) is sunsetting on July 1, 2023, meaning it will completely stop collecting data. Google Analytics 4 will be the new standard. If you want to collect year-over-year (YoY) data, you will need to set up this GA4 property as soon as possible. YoY data is crucial for measuring your website's success or catching possible areas for improvement. Setting up a GA4 property is easy and should not take more than 15 minutes, so there is no need to put it off. 

Misconception #2: I know how to use Universal Analytics, so using GA4 will be an easy transition.

While there are some elements that remain the same in GA4, there are also a lot of changes. There are too many changes to list in this blog, but here are a couple of standouts. First, the measurement model has changed. Universal Analytics tracked using a measurement model that was based on sessions and pageviews. GA4’s measurement model is based on events and parameters. An event allows you to measure a specific interaction or occurrence on your website. Parameters are the additional pieces of data that add more context to Google Analytics events.

Another very big change in GA4 is the addition of exploration reports. Previously you had to pay for exploration reports, but now GA4 is offering them for free. Reports like the free flow and funnel exploration show the user’s journey from the first landing page to the final conversion. Every part of these reports is customizable, so you can track exactly what you need.

Additional changes include the layout of your personal view, demonstrating you will have a little learning to do to be able to navigate through the platform. The best way to do that is by setting up a property for your website and starting to play around.

Misconception #3: All the metrics in Google Analytics 4 are the same as Universal Analytics.

There are some different engagement metrics in GA4 than in Universal Analytics. A few of these engagement metrics are new and there is a larger emphasis on them rather than bounce rate (which was one of the primary metrics used in UA). The four new metrics are engaged sessions, engagement rate, engaged sessions per user, average engagement time. Engagement rate is going to take the primary place of bounce rate and is the inverse of bounce rate. So, if there was a 40% bounce rate on a website, there is a 60% engagement rate. 

Misconception #4: Bounce rate is gone and never coming back.

Google eliminated bounce rate when it initially launched GA4, but has since added it back in with some caveats. In Universal Analytics, bounce rate is recorded as a session in which there was no interaction with the page. In GA4, it is the percentage of sessions that were not engaged sessions. An engaged session is one that lasts more 10+ seconds, even if there is no interaction. If it is less than that time, that is recorded as the GA4 bounce rate.

Getting your Google Analytics 4 running properly and gathering meaningful data across all of your technology can be tricky. There is a new property to set up, metrics to be learned, and some to be unlearned. Contact us today at SilverTech to learn how we can help! 

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