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What is Google Analytics 4?
What is Google Analytics?
If you’re a digital marketer or small business owner who manages their own website, you’re likely familiar with Google’s web analytics platform, commonly and simply known as Google Analytics. This platform aggregates site traffic data and allows marketers, website admins, and business owners alike to review user metrics such as bounce rate, click-through rate, pages per session, page views, time on page, etc. This information can then be used to direct future marketing decisions and to shore up deficiencies in a website that are leading to poor user-experiences or hindering conversions.
Launched in 2005 (upon being acquired from Urchin Analytics), Google Analytics became the most widely used analytics platform on the internet beginning in 2019. As of April 2022, Google Analytics has been implemented on and is used by over 73% of the 10,000 most popular websites on the internet (BuiltWith, 2022). It is a widely used, strongly supported analytics software that is easy to create, install, and manage.
Since it’s introduction, there have been four generations of Google Analytics: GA1 (urchin.js), GA2 (ga.js), GA3 (analytics.js), and now – GA4 (gtag.js). Each subsequent generation of analytics has evolved to improve or add desired functionality, or to address mobile tracking issues, and/or privacy concerns. The latest generation of Google Analytics, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is no different.
What is GA4 (Google Analytics 4)?
Originally known as Google’s “App + Web” property while in beta, GA4 is the newest generation of Google Analytics, and will replace previous versions of analytics going forward, including Universal Analytics (GA3).
According to Google, the newest gen of analytics comes with a list of new features, including:
Simplified conversion system
AI-driven predictions and insights
Event-based data capture
Session metrics derive from the start of session_start (auto-created)
Greater audience functionality leading to less wasted ad spend
Revised report(s) organization
More granular data controls
Machine learning used to supplement reporting data as cookie-based analytics will have increasing issues with data gaps. Third-party cookies are becoming more problematic as regulations and laws related to online consumer privacy increase
There are some differences in where reports can be accessed, how conversions and metrics are tracked (event-based), and a new interface for users to adjust to (more about all that below), but if you have used Universal Analytics previously, transitioning to GA4 is relatively simple, and familiarizing yourself with the new property can be accomplished quickly and easily by referring to the large breadth of GA4-related articles and documents currently on the internet, including Google’s own GA4 documentation.
Why Do You Need GA4?
The simple answer here is that you’re going to need GA4 set up and installed on your site if you want to continue collecting traffic data from your website after July 1, 2023 (the date Universal Analytics (GA3) will stop processing new data). If you do not have a GA4 property created and installed when July of 2023 arrives, your analytics data flow will effectively grind to a halt until a GA4 property is setup. As such, it’s imperative that you create, install, and run a GA4 account for your web properties as soon as possible.
New Google Analytics account will default to GA4 setup, so if you are setting up a new account, you will be working with the latest generation of analytics from Google, and no additional action is required.
If you are transitioning from UA to GA4 rather than creating a new analytics account altogether, there’s a couple important considerations worth keeping in mind:
It is best to create a new GA4 property and run it in-parallel with your Universal Analytics for at least 30 days. Once you’ve verified your data was being accurately recorded in the new GA4 property over the 30-day period (by comparing to the UA account), you can strip the UA tag from your website or Google Tag Manager, and proceed with GA4 as your primary analytics implementation
Historical data CANNOT be transferred from your previous UA account to the new GA4 account. This functionality is not present, nor is it planned. As such, you should retain access to your old UA property to retain historical data
While you have until July 1, 2023 to implement GA4, the smartest and safest strategy you should for transitioning to Google’s next-gen of analytics is to
Create a GA4 property early on
Run the GA4 property in parallel with your UA property for at least 30 days to compare data aggregation and to increase GA4 familiarity
After ensuring data is accurately being captured in your GA4 property, you can remove the UA script from your website/web app
GA4 becomes the primary analytics platform for your site, and you can retain the UA property for historical data as desired
Transitioning to GA4 will be non-optional once July of 2023 arrives. If you wish to retain your ability to measure site traffic and visitor metrics using Google Analytics, you will have to transfer to GA4. Rather than panicked or hurried implementation right before the deadline, we advise early adoption to allow new users adequate time to familiarize themselves with the new functionality and behavior of Google Analytics 4. Ideally, July 1, 2023 will come and go absent concern if you heed these recommendations.
GA4 vs Universal Analytics (GA3)
If you’ve been using Universal Analytics for a while, you’re likely curious about what new features or components of the software separate GA4 from UA. With GA4, there have been significant shifts in functionality, interface layout, reporting and report locations, and conversion measurement that are discussed in greater detail below. For a comprehensive list of important data differences between GA4 and UA, you can read this Google article.
Event (GA4) vs. Hit-Type (UA) Based Interactions
In Universal Analytics, hit types included page views, events, social, etc. With GA4, all hit-types have been translated to events, representing a fundamental shift in the data model used in GA4. Important consideration: GA4 events do not recognize or display category, action, or label data. As such, it’s not possible to port existing event structures from UA to GA4.
Full Cross-Device & Cross-Platform Reporting (GA4) vs. Limited Reporting (UA)
Prior to Web + App, now known as GA4, two properties would have to be created if monitoring traffic to a website and associated app. Now, GA4 allows data measurement across platforms and devices using a combination of first-party data, Google signals from users, and cookies. This enhanced data measurement capability will provide business owners and marketers with a more comprehensive view of traffic behavior across analytic properties.
Event-Based (GA4) vs. Session-Based Data Model (UA)
UA properties use sessions as the foundation for reporting. Sessions are grouped user interactions that occur over a period of time as a user interacts with your website or app. Comparatively, GA4 uses an event-based data model that records session data, but also collects and records specific actions taken by a site or app user as events. This leads to data measurement that more accurately reflects user behavior on your analytics properties.
Reporting: GA4 vs UA
GA4 has fewer standard reports than UA, and accessing certain reports will require some additional familiarity with the GA4 interface as layout and report locations have changed. Certain reports present in UA are absent in GA4 owing to the differences in GA4’s event-based data measurement and UA’s session-based data measurement. With a session-based data model, it’s easier to calculate metrics related to sessions and pageviews. An event-based model makes such session/pageview-related metrics more difficult to compile.
If you haven’t caught on yet, the transition to GA4 will likely require a rethinking of the way you view and analyze data as information such as source/medium and bounce rate will no longer be readily accessible metrics you can review (custom reports can be created to fill in any report gaps resulting from transitioning away from UA and to GA4).
Future Resilience (GA4)
Privacy and security concerns are a growing concern on the internet, and as governments and regulatory bodies push forward with implementing additional laws and regulations to better protect online consumers, there will likely be a significant shift in the way marketers and business owners can track and measure site visitor data.
With an eye to the future and a desire to pre-emptively address concerns about navigating the increasingly complex and sensitive world of internet user data aggregation, GA4 was built with machine learning integrated to enhance and fill gaps in data that will become sparse as tracking software becomes less prevalent. GA4 should be resilient in the face of an ever-evolving digital marketing environment thanks to machine learning, however its efficacy compared to the data compiled using browser tracking remains unknown at this time.
Summary: What GA4 Is & Why You Need It
GA4 is Google’s latest generation of analytics software. Significant and impactful changes have been made in GA4, inclusive of revised interface, event-based data measurement, and a reduction and realignment of reports in the dashboard. As session-based data measurement is no longer the core data model of Google Analytics, certain popular metrics common to the 3rd generation of analytics will not be present in GA4. Since GA4 implementation will be required by July 1, 2023, the day Universal Analytics stops collecting new data, marketers and those who manage websites with a need to track website user behavior will absolutely need a GA4 account created, set up, and integrated. Listed, the needed steps you will have to complete to set up and integrate your new GA4 account (as well as enhanced eComm tracking, if desired), are:
Listed Steps – GA4 Account Creation & Integration with GTM
Create a Google Tag Manager account and apply the container to your website if you have not done so previously
Create a new GA4 account (this is the default analytics generation you will have if creating a new Google Analytics account after Oct 2021) or login and use the GA4 Setup Assistant to create a new GA4 account from your Universal Analytics account
Create a new GA4 Configuration Tag in Google Tag Manager (connect GA4 to GTM)
You should see data populate in your new Google Analytics 4 account within 24 hours if you have correctly created your GA4 account and the necessary GTM tag
Additional Listed Steps – Adding Enhanced eComm Tracking for WooCommerce to GA4
Download, install, and activate the GTM4WP plugin
Download the prebuilt JSON file for GTM4WP (linked below)
Activate tracking of enhanced eComm in WooCommerce through the GTM4WP plugin
Import the JSON file into your GTM account and complete set up; publish container
Complete set up of the new GA4 – Events – Ecommerce Events tag so eCommerce data can be recorded in your new GA4 account
If you have familiarity with the above platforms and processes, you can simply skim this document to find the necessary downloads and settings needed to complete this work. If not, more detailed guidance is provided below. Regardless of the technical chops you possess (or lack thereof), the below steps can be completed by most individuals absent much difficulty. References are included for items that may be familiar to WordPress and web developers, but a bit more unclear to non-developer personnel working on websites.
Creating a Google Analytics 4 Account (Step-by-Step Guide)
You understand what GA4 is, how it differs from Universal Analytics (the previous gen of analytics), and you’ve accepted that there’s just no way around GA4. Now what? Time to create a GA4 property and start aggregating data onto the new analytics platform to ensure your site is effectively and accurately recording data before the deadline. Fortunately, creating a GA4 property is easy. If you’re creating a new analytics account, you’ll be required to set up a GA4 property. If you have a current Universal Analytics account/property, you can leverage the GA4 Setup Assistant (Image 1.) present in your Universal Analytics account and accessible via the “Admin” link (gear icon in the bottom left corner of the Universal Analytics dashboard).
Remember, the intent here is to set up a GA4 property and run it in parallel with your current Universal Analytics account until you have confirmed data is accurately being recorded in the new GA4 account. The GA4 Setup Assistant will allow you to set up the new GA4 property through your current UA account, and run it at the same time as your UA property by default.
Step-By-Step Guide to Setting up a GA4 Property Using the GA4 Setup Assistant
GA4 account setup has been simplified with the new GA4 Setup Assistant. If you have created a new Google Analytics account/property since October of 2021, you have likely already set up a GA4 Analytics Account, and you can skip to the next section. To quickly discern if your analytics property is GA3 (UA) or GA4, look at your property ID number. If your property ID begins with “UA-“ it is not a GA4 account. GA4 property IDs are 10-digit numbers known as “Stream IDs” that include a GA4 prefix (as opposed to UA). If you have a UA account for your site currently, follow the below instructions to set up a GA4 account through your UA account.
If you have multiple properties in your Google Analytics account, select the property you’ll be setting a new GA4 tag/property for.
Access The Analytics Admin Page. From the home screen, click the “Admin” icon at the bottom of the left-hand sidebar
Access the GA4 Setup Assistant. Once in the Admin dashboard, you should see the “GA4 Setup Assistant” located just below the “Property” column header. Click the link and then click the “Get Started” button
NOTE: if you do not have the necessary admin access to create the new GA4 property, you will need to request it from the account-level admin. To submit a request, select “Account Access Management” under the “Account” column in the admin dashboard, and click the blue “Request access” button and select “Administrator” and then “Confirm”. Once admin rights have been granted by the account-level admin, you’ll be able to complete the GA4 Setup Assistant process.
A popup will display after you’ve clicked the “Get Started” button (Image 4.), and you’ll see a list of what steps the setup wizard will assist with, and you’ll have the option to use existing UA tags in your new GA4 property. Custom tags will not transfer. Given the shift in data models between GA4 and UA, you will likely find that the best setup involves creating new tags to meet your tracking needs.
Once you click the “Create property” button, Google will auto-create a GA4 Analytics property for you website, and you should see the new GA4 account information. Record the Steam ID and Measurement ID for your records and tag setup.
Congratulations, you have created a new GA4 property for your website or app. The next phase is the setup and implementation phase; connecting your site to your GA4 property.
Setting Up & Integrating Your Google Analytics 4 Account
Once you’ve created the GA4 property, you will need to add the new on-page tag to your website.
DO NOT remove your UA script from the site when adding the new on-page tag for GA4. Leave them both in place to allow them to run concurrently until data accuracy/collection is confirmed (at which time you can remove the UA script).
Instructions for Adding GA4’s On-page Tag to a Website
There are a few methods for adding a new tag to your website. When I say tag, I’m talking about a snippet of pre-built code that allows your website to communicate with Google properties such as Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager. Tags can be created and implemented to track certain user behaviors and to track events you consider valuable to your business, such as clicks to call, lead form submissions, purchases, specific page views, etc. You may also hear tags referred to as scripts. Regardless of the moniker used, the process for adding a tag to your site is generally simple and only requires some copy-and-pasting activity. The following instructions are for creating and adding a data stream to a web property (ex. you business website).
Set Up the Data Steam. Select the “Data Streams” link under the “Property” column on the Admin Dashboard of Google Analytics if the Web Steam details page doesn’t automatically display after creating the new GA4 property (it should). From here, you should see your current GA4 data streams and if they are currently tracking data.
Create & Integrate a New Data Stream. Click “Add stream” to create your first GA4 data stream. The data stream will connect your web property to your GA4 Analytics property, allowing your analytics account to begin aggregating data about site user behavior and interactions. Select “Web” for the stream type.
Copy the Appropriate Tag. If you are adding the GA4 tag directly to your site’s code, you will need to paste the Global site tag (gtag.js) in the <head> section of your HTML. If these instructions sound obscure to you, we recommend having your webmaster or website development company add the tag/script for you (placing code incorrectly in your site files can cause significant issues, and it’s better to avoid the risk).
If you’re using Google Tag Manager (GTM) to apply your new GA4 On-page tag, which we strongly recommend, you’ll need to copy the Stream ID on the Web stream details page. Reminder, if you have not recorded your Steam ID and Measurement ID prior to this point, it’s a good time to do so. Your measurement ID will allow you to integrate Google Ads with your analytics property and set up conversion tracking.
Setting Up the GA4 On-Page Tag in Google Tag Manager. If you do not have a Google Tag Manager account, we strongly recommend creating one. Google Tag Manager allows you to create and manage scripts from a singular platform, and protects against changes to the scripts resulting from site, plugin, and theme updates (if using a content management system such as WordPress). Instructions for easily setting up and integrating Google Tag Manager with your website can be reviewed here.
Once you have created a Google Tag Manager account and correctly installed the necessary container on your website, or if you already have a Google Tag Manager account integrated with your website, proceed with the following instructions to complete tag setup for your GA4 property:
Log in to Google Tag Manager. Once you have created an account, or if you already have one, log in at https://tagmanager.google.com/. Make sure you select the correct account if you manage multiple GTM containers.
Create GA4 On-page Tag. From the Overview tab, select “New Tag”If you haven’t created a tag in Google Tag Manager before, this is the primary means of applying code snippets to your website via GTM. Each tag will have a trigger that “fires” the tag. Tags and triggers are the primary components of GTM.
Once the screen for setting up the new tag loads, name the tag as desired (ex. “GA4 Config Tag”).
Click “Tag Configuration”, and from the right-hand sidebar menu that appears, select “Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration”After selecting the above tag, the “Tag Configuration” screen will load. Name the tag something along the lines of “GA4 Config Tag” or “GA4 Configuration Tag”. You will use this tag later and naming it as recommended will make recognition easier. After you’ve named the new tag as recommended, place the Measurement ID for your GA4 property (which you should have recorded) in the “Measurement ID” field. Your measurement ID will begin with a “G-“ and 10 alphanumeric numbers after (ex. G-123ABC45DE) and leave the rest of the items set to their defaults. Save the tag or click “Triggering” and proceed to the next step to set up the trigger that will fire the tag.
Setup GA4 On-page Tag Trigger. With UA, the Universal Analytics tag was typically set to fire on “All Pages”, but we’re not aggregating hit data anymore, rather event data now. As such, we need to use “Initialization – All Pages” as the trigger for the GA4 On-page Tag. The “Initialization – All Pages” trigger ensure your GA4 On-page Tag fires first when your web pages load
NOTE: There is a “Consent Initialization” trigger in GTM that forces the tag to run before any other tags, including Initialization tags with Initialization triggers. DO NOT use this tag; it is intended specifically for managing consent settings.
Publish the On-page Tag. After you’ve set up the GA4 configuration tag and applied the Initialization trigger, save the tag. To make the tag active on your website, you will need to publish the GTM container. Simply click “Submit” in the upper-right corner of the Workspace Dashboard in your GTM account, and click “Publish” to publish to the GTM container applied to your site. You can add notes if desired, but it is not required.
Confirm Installation. After you’ve published the tag, you’ll want to confirm the GTM is applied, and that traffic is now streaming from your site, through your tag, to your GA4 account. It typically takes about 24 hrs for data to begin populating in an account, so you’ll want to use one of the following (3) methods to verify the GA4 configuration tag is working as it should:
Google Tag Assistant (Legacy) – this is a Chrome extension that allows you to quickly view the scripts and tags on your website via your browser. You can download the extension, and then review the tag setup on your site. Download here, install, and then go to your website’s URL. The extension will display in the top-right of your browser window (you must be using Chrome). Click it, and it will show you the tags/scripts applied to the current URLIf you look at the above image, you’ll see a gtag.js that has a “G-“ prefix and is followed by a 10-digit alphanumeric ID. This is the GA4 Measurement ID for this account. As such, you can verify that your GA4 tag is applied to your site, but you’ll probably want better info to confirm the integration is working as it should.
GA4 Realtime Overview Report – one of the reports you can access in your GA4 account is the Realtime Overview Report. This report is updated continuously and data rapidly populates in the report after an event occurs. To access this report, log in to your GA4 account, select “Reports” under the Home icon in the lefthand sidebar, and then select “Realtime”. You’ll see data related to how many users you’ve had in the last 30 mins, users per minute, device category, and more. You can check your Realtime Overview Report an hour or two after applying your tag, and you’ll be able to see if there’s been any user data aggregated. If so, your tag is working. If not, you may need to review setup and reattempt, or your site might not be receiving traffic yet. Ping the site a few times yourself and see if any data appears.
You will still need to monitor and compare data to your UA account after 30 days to ensure the data is accurately being captured.
GTM Google Tag Assistant – Google Tag Assistant (current gen) can be accessed via your GTM dashboard by clicking the “Preview” button in the upper-right corner of the Workspace dashboard (Image 8.), or you can access it via https://tagassistant.google.com/ Once Tag Assistant loads, you’ll see a module that titled “Connect Tag Assitant to your site”. Simply input the full URL for your website’s homepage, and tag assistant will open a tag output dashboard (see what tags are applied, and whether they’ve fired or not) and a new browser where you can perform actions to fire conversions or events (you will need conversion tracking set up first). Hopping back and forth, you can perform an action on the site and see if the appropriate tag moved from the “Tag Not Fired” to the “Tags Fired” section. If so, the tag works. If not, some corrective action will likely need to be performed.If the above three methods for verifying the correct setup of your GA4 account are overly complex or sound too technical in nature, simply wait 24 hours and then check you GA4 account for the presence of data (be sure to check the Realtime Overview Report if no other data is appearing). There are multiple methods for confirming the GA4 configuration tag is correctly set up and implemented, and it doesn’t matter what method you use, but you will want to verify that data is being recorded in the new property as soon as possible, and correct if needed.
The process of creating and setting up a GA4 account, and then integrating it with your site is relatively straightforward.
Create the new GA4 account directly (GA4 is the default analytics version for new accounts) or through the GA4 Setup Assistant in your Universal Analytics account.
Add the GA4 gtag.js script directly to your site’s <head> tag in your HTML files, or create a GA4 Configuration tag with an Initialization Trigger in GTM. Save and publish the new tag.
Ensure data is being recorded in your GA4 dashboard using one of the methods listed above, and verify integration with your site is working as intended. If not, work your way back through the steps above, and see if any items were missed.
Setting Up Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking in GA4 (Step-by-Step Guide for WordPress Sites)
For eCommerce clients, the transition to GA4 from UA may seem daunting, especially if enhanced eComm tracking was set up in your UA account before this transition as it will not transfer over to GA4 absent modification. However, we have a rather quick and simple method for adding enhanced eCommerce tracking to your new GA4 property that involves setting up just two components and requires no coding. One item to set up is a prebuilt container you will import into your GTM account, and the second item is a plugin that adds measurement of eCommerce data to the GTM dataLayer.
STEP 1. INSTALL THE GTM4WP PLUGIN & SET IT UP
The first component of this setup is installation and setup of a free WordPress plugin, Google Tag Manager 4 WordPress. You can find this plugin in the WordPress Plugin Directory or you can go to gtm4wp.com and download the plugin directly. Again, it is a free plugin, and no premium services are required. The plugin adds enhanced eCommerce data to the dataLayer, making measurement in GTM easier. Step-by-step instructions are below:
Download the Plugin. You can download the plugin from the GTM4WP plugin directly from the plugin’s dedicated website, or you can access the WordPress Plugin Directory from your site’s WordPress admin dashboard and download it directly to the site (Image 10.). If you are unfamiliar with adding plugins to your site, you can refer to the instructions in Hubspot’s How to Install, Add, and Use WordPress Plugins article.
Activate & Set Up Container Settings. After you’ve installed your plugin, activate it. Once activated, access “Settings” in the lefthand sidebar of your WP admin dashboard, and then select “Google Tag Manager” from the submenu items. This will take you to the dashboard for your GTM4WP plugin where you can adjust setup/settings. Once on the Google Tag Manager for Wordpress options screen, you will need to perform a couple minor edits to complete setup. There are two methods for this, both are extremely simple:
Setup 1, GTM Container Added to <head> Tag – if you’re GTM container was applied to your site by adding the necessary GTM tags to your website’s <head> tag, set up the plugin like below Insert your Google Tag Manager account ID number (will begin with “GTM-“ followed by six alpha-numeric characters), turn “Container code ON/OFF” to Off, and set “Container code compatibility mode” to Off. These settings ONLY apply if you have implemented the GTM container via your website’s <head> tag.
Setup 2, GTM Container Not Added to <head> Tag – if you lack the coding chops or WordPress familiarity to add your GTM container tags to your website’s <head>, don’t fret. You can use this plugin to set your container up. Simply enter your GTM account ID number, turn “Container code ON/OFF” to On, and set “Container code compatibility mode” to Footer of the page. Your GTM container will be applied to your site, and the plugin is ready to measure enhanced eComm data in GA4 using the GTM dataLayer.
Turn on Tracking for Enhanced eCommerce. Once you’ve added, activated, and set up the container information in the plugin, you will need to activate tracking for enhanced eCommerce. To do this, regardless of how you set up the container above, follow these instructions:
Directions for Turning on Tracking for Enhanced eCommerce – click the “Integration” tab on the GTM4WP plugin dashboard, and the select “WooCommerce” (small blue-text link below the tabs at the top of the GTM4WP plugin dashboard). Click the checkbox next to “Track enhanced e-commerce” and then click the blue “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the screen. Voila! The GTM4WP is now ready to transmit enhanced eComm data via your GTM dataLayer to your GA4 account, and you simply need to complete setup of the enhanced eComm items in your GTM account to begin recording that data in GA4.
Once the above plugin is installed, activated, and set up correctly based on how you want to implement your GTM container (viaor the plugin), you’ll need to set up the variables, tags, and triggers in GTM that will allow you to capture enhanced eComm data transmitted from your website and record it in GA4.
The below document, created specifically for use with the Google Tag Manager 4 WordPress plugin, uses recommended event names from Google to transmit eCommerce events like add to cart, purchase, and more to Google Analytics 4. When you upload the document into GTM, you’re actually importing a new container with the necessary tags, variables, and triggers required for enhanced eComm tracking in GTM/GA4 almost fully set up and ready for use out-of-the-box. It doesn’t get much simpler or easier than that.
Download the GTM4WP Container Document for Enhanced eCommerce
After you’ve downloaded the above document, log in to your Google Tag Manager account, proceed to the Admin tab, and then select “Import Container” from the Container column
Once you’ve clicked “Import Container”, you’ll see the following screen (Image 13.). Here, you will need to adjust settings to import the new tags without overwriting conflicting tags already present in your GTM account, and to ensure you can merge the new workspace you’ll be creating with your current/default workspace. Workspaces in GTM allow you to create new containers, tags, etc. without impacting the live workspace.
Be sure to set the above settings as follows:
Import the downloaded JSON file created by GTM4WP
Create a new workspace and name as desired
Choose “Merge” under the import options
Choose “Rename” conflicting tags, triggers, and variables under the merge options
After you’ve applied the above settings, you should see the Tags, Triggers, Variables, and Templates modules with numbers above “New” on each module but Templates. If you see an indicator that Tags, Triggers, or Variables will be modified or deleted, check your settings for the container import and adjust as needed. Unless you have an issue with conflicting tag, trigger, or variable names, “New” should be the only column showing items. Click the “Confirm” button once the setup is complete.
Complete Set Up of Enhanced eCommerce Tags, Triggers, and Variables
More set up?! Yep, but don’t worry, this is very quick. Once you’ve clicked the “Confirm” button on the Import Container screen (assuming your settings are correct), you’ll be redirected to your new workspace. Your current workspace can be seen just below the “Workspace” link on your GTM account’s main menu – you should be able to see your default workspace and the newly created workspace with the name you applied.
Tags – when you view your tags now, you’ll see a new “GA4 – Event – Ecommerce Events” tag. Completing setup of the tag is extremely simple as the container import already created the necessary triggers and variables for the tag. To complete set up of the tag, do the following:
Access your GTM tags via the “Tags” link on the lefthand sidebar of your GTM home screen, and select “GA4 – Event - Ecommerce Events”
You’ll see light-grey text on the “GA4 – Event – Ecommerce Events” tag edit screen that says “Configuration Tag”. If there is not a dropdown field below this light-grey text, click the text and one will appear. Select the GA4 On-page Tag you created earlier that links your GA4 account to your GTM account. You should have named it something akin to “GA4 Config Tag” or “GA4 Configuration Tag”
You do not need to adjust any other settings on the “Tag Configuration” module, and a trigger should already be annotated by default (Event – Ecommerce Events GA4)
Save the revised tag configuration
Once you’ve set up the GA4 – Event – Ecommerce Events tag, switch from your new workspace back to your Default Workspace and click the blue “Submit” button in the upper righthand corner of your GTM home screen. This will publish all your edits/changes to your GTM container and make them live.
NOTE: You may see a warning that says “This workspace is out of date. It will be updated automatically if you proceed” when you click “Submit”. This is perfectly fine, and desired. Click the blue “Publish” button. Your Default Workspace will update with the new tags, triggers, and variables from the new container you imported and edited.
Wrapping it All Up
If you’ve followed the instructions above, congratulations! You have successfully created a new Google Analytics 4 account, integrated it with your site and Google Tag Manager account, and successfully set up enhanced eComm tracking in your new GA4 property using a plugin and template JSON file. If you have a basic familiarity with WordPress, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager, you were likely able to work through the entirety of these processes in 10 – 20 minutes. If you don’t have a basic familiarity with the aforementioned platforms, you likely do now, and instructions are simple enough that you should have been able to move through each setup process absent much difficulty.
When it comes to digital marketing, data is crucial to identifying issues with website performance, understanding prospective customer behavior, and informing future strategy decisions. Enhanced eComm brings that data directly to your new Google Analytics 4 account, giving you more data to leverage in your decision-making process.
While this article is comprehensive, the processes and procedures contained within can be completed by new developers, webmasters, and marketers alike absent much difficulty. Even absent any prior experience with the platforms, you should be able to follow the step-by-step instructions included above to correctly create, integrate, and operate a new GA4 account with enhanced eCommerce functionality. The focus of this article is not advanced concepts, but simple guidance about the easiest method for completing the necessary switch to GA4 from GA3, while potentially upgrading what data is collected.
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