Why a GA4 Audit After Migration

The Pitfalls of the UA to GA4
Automated Migration

picture at the buttom is a row of coloured pencils and above them in movable block letters is the work ANALYTICS The world of digital marketing is in a constant state of evolution, and Google Analytics is no exception. Nearly 2 years ago, Google introduced Google Analytics 4 (GA4), a major update to the widely used Universal Analytics (UA). Many people ignored this new version simply because it didn’t function like the old UA and when released and  it functioned more like a beta version then a production version. Still Google gave us a warning that the old UA would stop working by June 30, 2023. Around mid May 2023, Google started to automate the migration for businesses who still hadn’t migrated themselves from UA to GA4. Many businesses who relied on automated migration process from UA to GA4, are now raising concerns about data accuracy, tracking implementation, and the overall performance of their analytics setup. In this blog post, I will explore the challenges associated with the transition to GA4 and why it’s essential to hire a professional for a GA4 audit of your configuration, especially if you let Google do your migration.

The Automated Migration from UA to GA4

Google’s decision to discontinue support for UA has left businesses with no option but to transition to GA4. While the transition was necessary, the automated migration process had its problems. Here are some of the key issues that have been reported by businesses:

Data Discrepancies:

Many businesses are noticing discrepancies in their data after migrating to GA4. These inconsistencies are frustrating and make it difficult to trust the analytics data for decision-making. Inaccurate data can lead to misguided marketing strategies and wasted resources. Some of these discrepancies, may simply be misunderstanding how Google Analytics now measure things differently and in other cases, the configuration is causing these issues.

Complex Setup:

GA4’s configuration is complex and challenging to set up correctly. The new event-driven model, user-centric tracking, and event parameters require a deep understanding of the platform. Misconfigurations can result in missing or inaccurate data, making it difficult to gain actionable insights.

Learning Curve:

Migrating from UA to GA4 often involves a steep learning curve. For businesses without dedicated analytics experts on staff, this can be a significant challenge. If your organization let the migration to gA4 happen automatically without a strong understanding of its features and capabilities may have led to suboptimal results. That’s why K’nechtology offers both GA4 end-user and administration training.

Loss of Historical Data:

GA4 does not support the import of historical data from UA. This means that businesses lose access to valuable historical data that could help them analyze trends, track user behavior, and make informed decisions. Without historical data, it’s challenging to evaluate the impact of changes in your marketing efforts over time.

Limited Documentation:

GA4 is still relatively new, and as a result, there is limited documentation available to assist users. This lack of resources can make it difficult for businesses to troubleshoot issues and maximize the potential of their analytics setup.

Why You Need for a Professional GA4 Audit

Photo of some charges and the corner of a laptop computerGiven the issues with GA4 and the challenges associated with the automated migration, it’s clear that a professional GA4 audit is essential. Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider hiring an expert to assess your GA4 configuration:

Data Accuracy:

A GA4 audit by a skilled professional can help ensure that your data is accurate and reliable. They will review your tracking implementation, identify discrepancies, and fix any issues that may be causing data inaccuracies. This accuracy is crucial for making informed business decisions and optimizing your marketing efforts.

Customization:

GA4 offers extensive customization options, but many businesses underutilize them due to the complexity of the platform. A professional audit can help you tailor GA4 to your specific business needs, ensuring that you capture the data that matters most to your goals.

Improved Tracking:

A professional audit will identify opportunities to enhance your tracking setup. They can configure event tracking, custom dimensions, and user properties to provide a deeper understanding of user behavior and engagement on your website or app.

Compliance and Privacy:

GA4 introduces new features to help businesses comply with data privacy regulations. A professional auditor can ensure that your configuration adheres to these regulations, protecting your business from potential legal issues.

Historical Data Recovery:

While you can’t import historical data into GA4, an experienced auditor can help you leverage the data that’s still available in UA. They can set up a data bridge to connect your UA and GA4 properties, allowing you to continue using historical data for analysis and decision-making.

In-Depth Insights:

With an expert’s help, you can gain more profound insights into user behavior, conversion paths, and key performance indicators (KPIs). This enhanced understanding allows you to fine-tune your marketing strategies and achieve better results.

Continuous Monitoring:

An audit is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process. Hiring a professional ensures that your GA4 setup is continually monitored and optimized as your business evolves and the digital landscape changes.

Conclusion

The transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 was a necessary step in keeping up with the ever-changing world of digital marketing. However, the automated migration process and the complexities of GA4 can pose significant challenges for businesses. Issues such as data discrepancies, loss of historical data, and complex setup can hinder the effectiveness of your analytics.

To navigate these challenges and make the most of GA4, it’s crucial to hire a professional to audit your configuration. An expert can ensure data accuracy, customize GA4 to your specific needs, recover historical data, improve tracking, and provide in-depth insights. This investment in professional auditing will ultimately lead to more reliable data, better decision-making, and a competitive advantage in the digital marketplace. Don’t let the pitfalls of GA4 migration hold your business back; take the proactive step of hiring a professional to ensure your analytics setup is optimized for success.

Data Visualization & Free GA4 Dashboards

Here at K’nechtology we are  always on the lookout for ways to deliver more value to you, and today, we’re thrilled to share our latest offering – our advanced Data Visualization Service, powered by Google’s Looker Studio.

In an era where data is at the forefront of decision-making, the presentation of this data (especially with Google Analytics 4 limited built-in reports)  can make all the difference. It’s not just about numbers and graphs; it’s about understanding, clarity, and actionable insights. That’s precisely what our new service aims to deliver.

Why Data Visualization?

The power of visualization lies in its ability to simplify complex data sets, highlight essential KPIs, and provide a clearer picture of what’s happening beneath the surface.  These are frequently called “Dashboards“. Whether you’re a content creator, an eCommerce magnate, or a business strategist, having an interactive  (GA4 or other analytics tool) dashboard can streamline your strategies and decision-making processes.

Dive into our Free GA4 Dashboards!

Screenshot of GA4 Blogger Dashboard page 1, created using Looker StudioTo give you a taste of what we’re bringing to the table:

Blogger Dashboard: Tailored for content-driven platforms, this dashboard sheds light on where your traffic is stemming from, the performance of landing pages, and offers a deep dive into significant KPIs and more. Dive into the Blogger Dashboard here: https://lookerstudio.google.com/reporting/88583d71-7fb0-47cf-870f-7430bd823a9a

Screen shot of page 1 of the Ecommerce dashboard created with Looker StudioeCommerce Dashboard: eCommerce entrepreneurs, this one’s for you! Get insights into trending KPIs, track revenue patterns, explore intricate product details, and discover much more. Explore the eCommerce Dashboard here: https://lookerstudio.google.com/reporting/6f1c6a5f-30f6-405d-8fc2-471df9e5a0cf

Navigating through these dashboards is refreshingly simple. Choose the relevant GA4 property, and let Looker Studio do its magic, populating the reports with precision.

Join the Data Revolution!

We’re excited about the endless possibilities this service offers and invite you to be a part of this journey. Dive into and share the free dashboards. Don’t forget to please share your thoughts and feedback. We’re here to serve and continuously evolve, ensuring K’nechtology remains your go-to place for all things digital.

Accuracy in digital analytics: What marketers need to know

Alan K’necht’s latest column for Martech “Accuracy in digital analytics“.

A picture of a dartboard with 1 yellow dart near the bullseye.

In this column K’necht explores the issues surrounding accuracy in digital analytics (web analytics), the reasons why they may not be 100% precise, but are still accurate.

In it he demonstrates accuracy by comparing data from Google  Analytics 4 (GA4) to Shopify data.

K’necht to Give GA4 Workshop at Tastemaker Conference

An online workshop focused on how to customize the GA4 interface to deliver meaningful and insightful reports quickly and easily.

Tastemaker Conference Logo

Alan K’necht will be presenting at the online Tastemaker Conference “Google Analytics and GA4 Workshop” on April 21, 2023. This online event is a series of GA4 workshops delivered from 10am – 3pm Eastern time. K’necht workshop takes place  2:35 -3:00pm.

His workshop is titled “GA4 Custom Reports & Customization for Bloggers”. The workshop is focused on how to customize the GA4 interface to deliver meaningful and insightful reports quickly and easily. Attendees will learn how to simplify the GA4 interface and make finding important data easier.

Google Analytics and GA4 Workshop

To order tickets, please visit: https://tastemakerconference.com/events/workshops/google-analytics-and-g4-workshop/#purchase

 

Google Analytics 4: Conversion by Landing Page by Channel

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is rolling out at a rapid rate (since the announcement of the end of Google Universal Analytics (UA/GA3)). Marketers and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) professionals are starting to discover that many of the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that they took for granted as being available out of the canned UA reports are simply not there.

For SEOs the biggest complaint, is they can’t generate a report showing conversion by landing page by channel. SEOs want to see conversions (including revenue) by the search engine the user came from broken down by landing page. GA4 still shows you conversion by channel (including organic search). However, if you add the dimension “Landing Page” there is a disconnect.

Disconnect between Organic Search Landing pages and conversions

This Google Analytics 4 implementation guide is for Google Tag Manager and GA4 users. It complements the official documentation and provides a guide on how to attribute conversions to specific landing pages by the default channel group.

This guide, shows you a simple solution to solve the problem and how to create a conversions by landing page by channel report. You require Admin level access to the Google Tag Manager (GTM) account.

How To GA4 Guide: Conversions by Landing Page & Channel

Step 1: Referrer Variable

Ensure the GTM Variable “Referrer” is enabled. If it is not, add it.

Ensure GTM Variable Referrer is Enabled

Step 2: External Pager Referrer Trigger

Create a trigger in GTM that fires every time a page loads if the referring site’s domain is not your site (traffic referred from another site). For example, if your site’s domain is “mysite.com” set the trigger to fire on Window Load where “Referrer” “does not contain” “mysite.com”.

Create a Landing Page trigger in GTM

Trigger Name: Landing Page – External Source
Trigger fires on: Set to Some Windows Loaded Events
Condition: Referrer “does not contain” the domain of your site

Step 3: Tag to Capture Landing Page

Create a GA4 Event tag “Landing Page” and set Triggering to “Landing Page – External Source”

GA4 Tag to Capture Landing Page by traffic source

Name the event. We named it “landing_page”. You can name anything your prefer, just ensure it meets GA4 naming conventions.

Verify you have the correct Configuration Tag set as well.

Step 4. Test Your GTM Set-up

From GTM enable Preview and then open your GA4 account “DebugView”.

Preview/Test your GTM set-up

In your GA4 account select “DebugView” under the Configure group.

Enable GA4 DebugView

You will see all the initial events that fired in GA4

Verify in GA4 DebugView that the Landing Page if event is working

That’s it! GA4 automatically associates the “page_location“ (aka “landing page”) to the event “landing_page” as well as the source and medium.

Step5: Configure your Report

Within GA4 Explore configure you report as follows

GA4 Explore create landing page report

For the columns setting, you can choose any conversion event (i.e. event count) you are tracking or revenue.

Setting Conversion points in GA4 Explore Report

This generates the following:

Total Events by Default Channel Group with Landing Page

If you prefer you can use the Ecommece Revenue variable

GA4 Ecommerce Revenue Variable

This generates the following report (Revenue by Default Channel and Landing Page) :

GA4 Report: Revenue by Default Channel and Landing Page

Use the filter option (SEOs) to see only traffic from Organic Search and assoicated landing pages from organic search.

Restrict GA4 Report to only Organic Search Traffic

Add the dimension of source to see which search engines are driving traffic to which landing pages and how much revenue etc. they generate. This produces the following report: Revenue by Organic Search Source and Landing Page

GA4 Report: Revenue by Search Engine and Landing Page

Once you’ve captured and tied a landing page to a specific source, you can explore a lot of different options for your reporting.

Summary

We know Google Analytics 4 has put much of the reporting requirements on its users and provides fewer reports. The above guide provides the solution for one of the most common Google Analytics reports requested by SEOs that of Conversion by Organic Search Landing Pages.

Hope you found this helpful. If you need any help with UA to GA4 migration or configuring GA4 reports feel free to contact us.

The above solution was researched and developed by Alan K’necht (K’nechtology Inc.) in partnership with Anil Batra (Optizent Academy).

Google Analytics: Recap SEO For Bloggers

A Forensic Look at Google Analytics

On April 13, Alan K’necht participated in an online group discussion about leveraging Google Analytics for bloggers. We discussed the impact of the Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will have on measuring successful blog. Additionally, we took answer a number of questions from online attendees.

Here’s your chance, if you missed it or want to review all the material just follow the link and you’ll have access to the recording and a spreadsheet of our Q&A portion.

https://tophatrank.com/blog/seo-for-bloggers-episode-21-a-forensic-look-at-google-analytics/#replay

If you prefer to just watch the session (via YouTube) here it is:

YouTube player