5 Common mistakes in GA4 Implementation

2024-07-01 | Article | Insights

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google's web analytics platform, designed to provide businesses with deeper insights into user behaviour across various platforms. While GA4 comes with enhanced features and capabilities, many users still make common mistakes during its implementation. In this article, we will discuss five of these errors and offer guidance on how to avoid them.

1. Ignoring Data Retention Settings

GA4 introduces more flexible data retention settings, allowing users to control how long their analytics data is stored. However, many users neglect to adjust these settings according to their specific needs. Take the time to review and set appropriate data retention periods based on your organisation's data storage policies and compliance requirements. This ensures that you retain valuable data without unnecessarily occupying storage resources. For GA4 360 users, manually updating the setting post-upgrade is necessary to enable the extended 50-month retention period.

2. Neglecting Cross-Domain Tracking

For businesses with multiple online properties or platforms, neglecting cross-domain tracking can result in fragmented data and incomplete insights. GA4 offers improved cross-domain tracking capabilities to link user activity seamlessly across different domains. Ensure that you correctly set up cross-domain tracking to obtain a holistic view of user journeys, regardless of the platforms they interact with. This is crucial for understanding user behaviour across various touchpoints and optimising your overall digital strategy.

3. Enhanced Attribution Reporting in GA4

The Acquisition reports in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offer valuable insights into user site discovery, emphasising attribution reports that focus on the channels influencing users throughout their conversion journey. Unlike Universal Analytics (UA), GA4 employs a data-driven attribution (DDA) model, utilising machine learning algorithms and historical data to accurately credit conversions to the most relevant channels. While GA4 allows the addition of Custom Channel Groups, the configurability is not as extensive as UA's channel grouping feature, emphasising the need for clean campaign data to enhance the effectiveness of data-driven attribution.

4. Ensuring Accuracy in Enhanced Measurement

GA4's Enhanced Measurement automatically tracks common website interactions, offering an improvement over UA. However, assuming 100% effectiveness by merely implementing the basic GA4 tag and enabling automatic tracking features is misleading. Verification of the accuracy of collected data is crucial, especially considering additional data points that may not be readily accessible in standard reports.

5. Not including Unwanted Referrals

E-commerce websites often employ third-party payment processors hosted on distinct domains. When users complete a checkout and are redirected back to the website, Google Analytics 4 may register it as a new session due to the differing referral. To maintain accurate conversion data, it is crucial to exclude such domains from referrals, preventing Google Analytics 4 from initiating a new session.

Additionally, if your website involves subdomains and you wish to track seamlessly across them using a single GA4 property, it is essential to exclude your own domain from referrals. This ensures consistency in sessions when users navigate between subdomains and the main domain.

Implementing Google Analytics 4 can significantly enhance your ability to gain insights into user behaviour and make informed decisions for your business. However, avoiding common mistakes in the implementation process is crucial for obtaining accurate and actionable data. By addressing issues related to unwanted referrals, data retention, enhanced attribution, data retention settings and cross-domain tracking, you can maximise the effectiveness of GA4 and unlock its full potential for your organisation. Stay vigilant, regularly review your settings, and adapt your implementation to align with your evolving business goals and data requirements.

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