In 2022, our blog significantly focused on switching from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and what it means for B2B marketing measurement. Migrating to GA4 has also been an important point of discussion at KoMarketing across clients as there are many lingering questions.
Recently, we brought in Brie Anderson, the Founder & Owner of BEAST Analytics, to talk to the team about making the switch to GA4. In this training, our team was able to ask Brie their most pressing GA4 questions and learn best practices for the platform.
Here are 6 key takeaways from the training!
Why B2B Marketers Should Make the Switch Now
In our past GA4-focused blogs we have explained the importance of making this switch as soon as possible, but we will reiterate it again! In July 2023, Universal Analytics will no longer collect data which means the sooner you set up your GA4 instance, the more historical data you will have in the platform. There is also a significant learning curve to the new platform, so the more time you have to familiarize yourself with it and teach your clients, the better equipped you will be when UA has sunset.
Note, data between UA and GA4 will differ as GA4 collects data by a different method. Learn more here.
Takeaway #1: GA4 Conversion Tracking Differences
One of the main concerns many marketers have about this migration is how it will affect their conversion and goal tracking. In a past blog, we detailed GA4 conversion tracking for B2B marketers — from how GA4 defines a conversion (and how it differs from UA) to how to track key business conversions in the platform.
Brie pointed out two high-level changes to conversion tracking between GA4 and UA that GA4 beginners should keep in mind.
First, GA4 and UA are tracking many similar (if not, the same) metrics. Now they may be identified under a different name. For example, a first-time user visits your site and in UA they’re called a New User while in GA4 they’re called a First Visit. Both track the same action but have different identifiers. Understanding these differences will allow you to map your GA4 migration with more ease.
Second, at first glance GA4 can look a bit intimidating as it reads closer to coding language than anything in UA looked. Metrics are now named with the same convention across the board, for example, “first_visit”. When creating custom events to track, you will want to follow the same naming convention so you are speaking GA4’s language.
Takeaway #2: Audit Existing Conversions
Use this time to take stock of what you are currently tracking in Universal Analytics! Do you need all of the conversions you’re currently tracking? Are some no longer relevant? Are there additional conversions you’d like to track?
“When we run campaigns, what are the things the client is going to ask us about?”, Brie challenged us to use this question as a point of reference for what conversions to prioritize. As we head into 2023, think about what is important to your business (or your clients) and how the right conversions can help you keep meaningful data. For example, a user starting a demo video is important to a cybersecurity company but not so relevant to an eCommerce company that would rather track when a user adds something to their cart.
Google has put together a list of recommended events for GA4. A quick note here, you do not want to create custom events and name them any of these predefined events if they are not going to be used how Google intended them to be. This will confuse conversion tracking.
Takeaway #3: Enhanced Measurement On
This is an easy one! We’ve gotten into the importance of enabling enhanced measurements in the past, but it’s worth reiterating. Keeping enhanced measurements on allows GA4 to start tracking certain metrics right out of the box, which can be a huge help when you’re first setting up your GA4 instance.
The enhanced measurement window will also be where you find your Measurement ID which can be needed for Google Tag Manager, among other things.
Takeaway #4: Why You Could Run GA4 & UA In Tandem
Many marketers are wondering if running GA4 and UA at the same time can be helpful or harmful. The short answer is, it won’t hurt.
Keeping both running when you first start out with GA4 can be helpful when learning the platform and mapping out migrating to GA4. From a client perspective this can also be helpful as you can continue to communicate to them in terms they’re used to while also introducing them to the new platform. It’s important to remember, metrics will look different between platforms due to the differences in data collection methods.
One exception that Brie called out was eCommerce sites that have UA Products running in their analytics. Products are now Items in GA4. To avoid duplicate data here, products should be migrated over to GA4 items and turned off in UA. Brie recommends checking out this Tag Manager template from Simo Ahava for more help.
Takeaway #5: Customize Report Metrics
One of the best things about GA4 is the ability to really customize your reports to your business priorities. Let’s take the Traffic Acquisition report for example. By default, Total Revenue is a metric shown in the report. Many B2B marketers don’t need to track Total Revenue in their reports as they’re not selling a tangible product on their site, therefore, aren’t tracking revenue like an eCommerce site would be. GA4 now allows users to edit dimensions and metrics like this in or out of their reports.
So, how can you make reports more effective? Customization! There are 40+ additional metrics to choose from (including bounce rate!) to pull into reports and you can include up to 12 per report. To customize a report, find the pencil in the upper right corner and click on Customize report. Under Report Data, click on Metrics to explore what metrics are now available to add to reports. You can also find a breakdown here. Under Dimensions, you can add or remove key dimensions to filter your report.
Take a look through these metrics and discuss with your team which makes the most sense to add to your reports! You can then save changes to the current report or save as a new report.
Note, changes made to reports will carry over to all devices so make sure you discuss them with your team before making any changes!
Takeaway #6: Add New Reports to Navigation
In GA4, you can also customize your navigation with reports that are most important to you! After new reports are created, they can be added to the side panel navigation for easy access.
For example, for PPC marketers the Google Ads report takes a bit to actually find. By default, you can find Google Ads data under Acquisition, Acquisition Overview, scroll down to the Google Ads card, and click View Google Ads Campaigns. It’s not necessarily in the best location! So here is what we learned from Brie as a solution:
- Navigate to the Google Ads report per above instructions.
- Click Customize report in the upper right-hand corner.
- Add additional metrics and dimensions, if you’d like, but you don’t need to. Click Save, Save as a new report, and give it a name.
- Navigate back to the Reports section and click Library at the bottom of the pane.
- Under Collections, find the Life cycle collection and click edit collection.
- Find or search for the report you just created in the right-hand pane. Once located, drag it under Acquisition in the left-hand pane. Press Save.
- Navigate out of editing the collection and you will now see the new report in the side navigation!
This is another great way to customize GA4 to your specific business and reporting needs!
After the training, I asked Brie if she had any additional thoughts she wanted to share and she left me with this quote:
“I think my biggest piece of wisdom is to be comfortable being uncomfortable and work through the discomfort. I’ll all be worth it.”
So, if you haven’t already, start playing around in GA4! Google has a demo account so users can play around without touching any of their real data.
Check out our additional GA4 resources from earlier this year:
- GA4 Conversion Tracking: What a B2B Marketer Needs to Know
- GA4 and Google Ads: What B2B Marketers Need to Know
- A B2B Marketers’ Guide to GA4 Reporting & Measurement