With every second that passes, the day that tracking for non-GA360 properties in Universal Analytics (UA) stops draws ever closer. By now, you’re probably aware of its successor, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which reworks a lot of what we have grown accustomed to in UA. It also introduces a whole host of new features, many of which bring with them new vocabulary to familiarise ourselves with. Getting stuck into GA4 may seem intimidating, but to make it that bit easier, we’ve put together a glossary of important terms you’ll need to familiarise yourself with if you want to become a GA4 pro!
Audiences are groups of users defined by certain characteristics or behaviours, which can be used in GA4 and elsewhere for a variety of purposes. GA4 comes with two audiences by default: ‘All users’, which consists of all users to have visited your site, and ‘Purchasers’, which consists of all users who have completed a purchase on your site. However, you can make your own by grouping users into audiences based on your dimensions, metrics or events they have triggered. Each user will be moved into or out of any and all audiences to which they should belong. You can even take your audiences out of GA4 and use them in Google Ads! If you link your Google Ads and Analytics accounts, by enabling the ‘Enable Personalised Advertising’ option, you can use the audiences you create in GA4 as remarketing lists to target with your advertisements.
This is Google’s data warehousing service, which allows for storage and analysis of big data sets. One of the most notable changes from UA to GA4 is that the maximum time that the platform will retain data is 14 months, so analysis of historical data will require storage outside of the GA4 platform itself. BigQuery is the in-house and simplest solution to this, and you can even set GA4 to stream data constantly to a BigQuery table, which you can then query for Analysis.
These are new features in GA4, which allow you to compare the performance of two subsets of your data in your reports. You can create groups to compare based on any combination of dimensions and ‘AND/OR’ conditions, similar to how you would have made segments in UA.
It is unusual for users to come straight to your site and convert. Ordinarily, users will make multiple searches or click on multiple advertisements, perhaps visiting your site a number of times prior to converting. To what extent each interaction a user performs on their journey to conversion is credited with responsibility, for that conversion depends on your attribution model.
Data-Driven Attribution is a new attribution model for GA4 – it does not have a set definition of how to credit interactions. In this attribution model, GA4 uses machine learning to observe both converting and non-converting user journeys in your account. It uses this data to calculate the contribution of each interaction a user performs.
Data streams belong to GA4 properties and are the sources of data for all your reporting needs. These can feed data into a property from a website through Google Tag Manager, or from an app through Firebase, and a single property can have multiple data streams.
Event parameters are additional pieces of information that are sent with events, which can be used to enhance your tracking of user activity. They give you a greater insight into what exactly the user did or provide context for it. For example, you may have a number of buttons on your site that you want to track using the same trigger. In this instance, you can pass the text of the button, or the page URL, as an event parameter, similar to how you may have used the ‘Event Action’ and ‘Event Label’ fields in UA. You can set up event parameters in Google Tag Manager, adding up to 25 parameters to each tag in addition to the event name.
This is a feature in GA4 that allows for the collection of a variety of key analytics metrics without any extra input from the user. By navigating to Admin > Data Streams > Web, you can turn on enhanced measurement and any combination of the measurement options offered. If you enable all measurement options, then GA4 will automatically collect page views, scroll depths, outbound clicks, site searches, video engagements, file downloads and form interactions. All without a single additional change being made by the user – this saves a lot of work from UA!
Explorations is a major new feature in GA4 that constitutes an entirely new way to view and evaluate your Analytics data. With GA4, in addition to the usual reports, you can build explorations that allow you to quickly and easily visualise your data at the click of a button. With explorations, you can easily create a funnel to see the site actions users take before converting, make a pie chart that allows you to visualise how certain segments of your user base overlap, or even view the entire interaction history of individual users. You can create an exploration by clicking on the ‘Explore’ tab in the sidebar and clicking one of the templates under ‘Start a new exploration’.
This is the paid version of Google Analytics, which allows for a variety of benefits over the free use of the platform. GA360 existed prior to GA4, but the benefits it offers for GA4 are different to those offered in UA. In GA4, a subscription to GA360 will allow a user to:
There are many more benefits, but these are the highlights. It is worth noting, however, that a lot of these benefits will be primarily of use to very large-scale businesses, and most businesses will not require a subscription to GA360 to fulfil their analytics needs.
These are attributes that are applied to your users and serve to describe who each user is, and can be used to group users for evaluation. Some user properties are set automatically, such as details about a user’s device, or their language and location, but you can add more within GA4 under Configure > Custom definitions > Create custom dimensions. These can then be populated through events defined in Tag Manager.
Need more support with GA4?
If you require more information on how to improve your web analytics setup, Semetrical is here to help! Check out our blog, and visit our GA4 services page to see how our experts can help you with all things GA4.