Stressed out about the switch to Google Analytics 4? One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard is “Where did my conversion data go??”
There are major differences between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics, but once you get a hang of the new platform I think you’ll find GA4 provides even more detail about how users interact with your site—and when and why they convert.
If you haven’t read our post on Google Analytics 4 Reporting, I recommend starting there to learn more about the dashboard and reporting features.
Now, let’s talk about where your conversion data went.
What is a Conversion?
When B2B marketers think of a conversion, usually we’re thinking of the final purchase. You’ve moved prospects through the sales funnel and they’re finally ready to buy or maybe book a demo.
But GA4 uses conversions a little differently.
According to Google, a conversion is a user activity you want to track because it’s important to your business. That can include purchases, of course, but also white paper downloads, filling out a form, or reading a specific number of pages.
How GA4 defines a conversion
In GA4, a conversion is a specific type of event you’ve assigned a value to, such as a purchase or a white paper download. It can also be clicking to a landing page from an ad or booking a demo.
Understanding how Google defines conversions is crucial because in GA4 conversions are tracked as events, unlike in the older version of Google Analytics which tracked goals.
There’s one thing to keep in mind: in GA4 all conversions are events, but not all events have to be conversions. You have to tell GA which events should be considered conversions.
GA4 Conversions Replace Universal Analytics Goals
In Google Analytics 4, conversions replace Universal Analytics Goals, which can be confusing—and frustrating. If you already have goals in UA, you can use this guide from Google to convert them to GA4 conversions.
So, what are the differences between goals in UA and conversions in Google Analytics 4?
In Universal Analytics, goals indicate a user action is a conversion. In GA4, you specify an event as a conversion.
Here are the key differences between the two:
- UA goals only count one conversion per session.
- GA4 counts every time an event conversion occurs—even if it happens multiple times during the same session.
- You could create up to 20 goals per GA view. In GA4, that limit is 30 conversions per property.
- There are some UA goals that aren’t possible in GA4, for example: smart or duration goals.
Before we cover how to create events and set them as conversions, there’s one more step.
Enable Enhanced Measurements In GA4
Before creating events, I strongly recommend setting up enhanced measurements in Google Analytics 4.
Google automatically tracks some events, but they are limited. Enabling enhanced measurements allows GA4 to track additional data.
“When you enable these options for a web data stream, your Google Analytics tag starts sending events right away.”
To enable enhanced measurements, head to the Admin panel by clicking the gear icon in the lower left-hand corner of Google Analytics. Select the property you want to edit, then click Data Stream.
Click on the arrow on the far right of the property you want to edit.
Then toggle on the Enhanced Measurement option.
How to Set Up Events for GA4 Conversion Tracking
There are two ways to set up conversions for tracking: turn a pre-created event into a conversion or create a new event and mark it as a conversion.
Both are relatively simple to do, but creating a new event allows you to set more event parameters, such as tracking a user who is in the geographical area you target and downloading a white paper.
I’ll walk you through both methods for setting up events and turning them into conversions.
Change a Current Event to A Conversion
Google Analytics 4 automatically tracks some events with limited parameters. These include events like ad clicks, ad exposure, app removes, file download, and site search. (View the full list of automatically collected events.)
To view already existing events, login to Google Analytics 4 and click Configure in the right side bar. You’ll see a full list of events. Look for the Mark as Conversion toggle switch and turn it on.
Now click Conversions under Events, and you’ll see the new conversion added to your list:
That’s all you have to do!
However, the automatically tracked events are pretty limited. So what if you want to track other events or set more detailed parameters?
In that case, you’ll need to create a new event.
Note: You can also modify a current event, rather than creating a new one. However, this overwrites the current event.
How to Create a Conversion From A New Event
To track custom conversions with more (or different) parameters, you’ll need to create a new event. Here’s how to do it in GA4:
- From the left navigation bar, click Configure > Events.
- Select Create event on the right, next to Modify event.
- A popup will appear; select Create again.
- Fill in the event details and conditions, then click Create.
Let’s say you wanted to track people who fill out a form on your site and track it as a conversion.
Most sites use a “thank you” page after a user fills out a form, so tracking visits to that page will measure users who fill out your forms.
Following the steps above, you’d create a new event, then add these conditions:
- Parameter: event_name
- Operator: equals
- Value: page_views
This uses the parameters of the page view event that GA4 already tracks—which means you don’t have to mess with coding or tagging. 🙌
Click “Add a Condition,” then add these:
- Parameter: page_location
- Operator: equals
- Value: Add the URL, in this case it might be /thank-you/
You also want to make sure the box is checked for “Copy parameters from source event.”
To turn this event into a conversion, you’ll need to wait until it shows up in your events list, then toggle on the Mark as conversion option next to your event.
Note: Events can take up to 24 hours to populate. Once your event is active, it will only track data going forward—it will not apply to historical data. (Which is why setting up GA4 now is a good idea, even if you’re still using Universal Analytics!)
After creating the event, you’ll want to verify it’s working. The simplest way is to look for the event in Realtime reports.
Click on Reports > Realtime, then look for the card titled Event Count by Event Name. If your new event shows up, it’s active. Just remember, events don’t populate right away.
To verify your event has turned into a conversion, look for the Conversion by Event name card.
Resources for advanced users:
- You can create Google Ad conversions in GA4 using Tag Manager. Learn how to do that here.
- You can create custom dimensions to track additional data.
Find Conversion Data in GA4 Reports
You’ve set up your conversions, but how do you see how often users are taking those important actions? There are several ways to view data about conversions.
Conversion data shows up in the Realtime report pretty quickly after the conversion event is triggered — just keep in mind that new events may take 24 hours to show up.
You have a few options to see conversion data in GA4.
- View the Realtime report under Report > Realtime. Look for the Conversions by Event name card.
- Use the search bar. For example, you could search Conversion by day or conversion by country, and Google Analytics will display the requested data.
- Click Reports > Engagement > Conversions to view charts and graphs about your conversions.
Ecommerce sites can view purchases in Reports > Life Cycle > Monetization > Ecommerce purchases.
Google Analytics 4 for B2B: Next Steps
Google Analytics 4 is a powerful tool for B2B marketers to understand not just how users engage with a website, but when and why they convert. By setting up events as conversions, you’ll gain deeper insights into what pushed prospects to take the final step in the marketing funnel.
So, what’s next? If you use Google Ads, make sure you connect it to GA4. This will allow you to export your Google Analytics conversions and audiences to improve ad reporting, targeting, and bidding.
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