FAQ: Google Analytics 4
Updated: Dec 20, 2021
If this is your first time coming in contact with what Google described as the "future of Google Analytics." Read our insightful posts about the new version of Google Analytics.
Now let us move straight to the questions…
What is the Restriction Number for GA4 Custom Events?
In Universal Analytics (UA) properties, data is usually organized in the format of Users > Sessions > Hits. There are several hit types, such as page views and events.
However, sessions are completely removed in the Google Analytics 4 (GA 4) data model. This means there is no hierarchy, and every hit is counted as an event.
To count sessions, send a session_start event. To count pageviews, send a page_view event. And to count purchases, you can easily send a purchase event.
Google Analytics can automatically process some events sent to it. Google recommends some events, and you will need to configure them. In some cases, too, you can invent what you want by creating custom events.
This question asks about the exact number of events a user can send.
Realistically, you can gather up to 500 totally different events with each client ID and up to 500 events for each app instance. It does not matter whether the events are recommended or custom events. There can also be events collected automatically: the collection and those collected through enhanced measurement do not count with this limit.
However, in practice, this limit has not been enforced yet. Although, the non-enforcement of the rule does not mean users should not follow it. It is a matter of safety and for future-proof to stay within the data collection limits.
What is a Client ID? What does an app Instance mean?
These questions were not directly asked during the question-and-answer session. But we feel it is essential to know what these terms mean for some of the answers here, especially the previous one, to make sense.
This might be your first time coming across client ID and app instance. In web data streams, whenever a user opens your site, Google Analytics sets a cookie to identify your particular device and browser. It then forms and stores a random sequence of numbers to identify the specific user. This is how Google Analytics identifies that user as the same person as they navigate your website pages.
If the user deletes the cookies (formed with the numbers) and returns to your website, Google Analytics will form and save a brand new cookie with a unique (and different) client ID for the device and browser. So a new user will then be counted (we will talk more about Google Analytics cookie).
In-app data streams, when someone downloads your app, it automatically generates a random identifier (the cookies and random series of numbers). If the person uninstalls and reinstalls it again, an entirely new app_instance_id will be generated, and the person will appear as a brand new user.
How do you transfer Events Tracking to Google Analytics 4 effortlessly and include new Parameters?
Let us break the question down and pick it bit by bit.
Here, we want to think you are already collecting (or have collected) events in Universal Analytics.
The first step you need to take is to map your events to the Google Analytics 4 model. There are some considerations for event naming in this article that will be helpful when your design your event scheme.
Then you proceed to tag your website or app with the new events. This process is usually different and depends on whether you use the Global Site Tag (gtag.js) or Google Tag Manager for your website. If it’s for apps, ensure you install Firebase to log events easily.
Google provides step-by-step guidelines to help you with the tagging process on your website. There are also some general guidelines for apps. Note that the Firebase documentation provides more details on logging for both iOS and Android data streams.
What is the best option when creating Custom Events or Custom Parameters on Recommended Events?
There is a blog post about this where we detail the helpful considerations for event naming on Google Analytics 4 Properties.
Does Attribution modification in GA4 differ from UA?
Universal Analytics usually attributes goal completions to the previous non-direct click in regular reports. Also, it uses a Multi-channel Funnel Model Comparison Tool to study attribution changes across the channel, source, medium, and campaign, as a result of the attribution model.
On the other hand, however, Google Analytics 4 enables a Comparisons feature that allows you to change the type of attribution that features in the report. You can have four types of attribution.
Cross-Channel Last Click
This is the default option. It reads clicks from all sources and attributes the conversion to the previous source or direct click.
Cross-Channel Last Engagement
Like the above, this attribution type gives notice to an add impression even if there is no new click. People call this the “view –through-conversion.”
Google Ads Preferred Last Engagement
Here, credit is given to the recent Google Ads impression, nonetheless of a possible more recent engagement by another source.
Google Ads Preferred Last Click
This attribution type credits the recent Google Ads click. It does not matter whether there is another recent engagement through another source.
Can "Annotations" be added to Google Analytics 4?
Yes. This is good news for GA 4 users. Google did not feature annotations on the latest Google Analytics, making it difficult for them to be aware of and gather insights about their websites. We do not know if Google will later enable the annotations feature. However, that won't matter now since there is another way to add annotations on your Google Analytics 4 graph.
GAannotations is the extension that will help you with annotating your GA 4 graph. It automatically annotates data to help you understand your website better. This automated annotations tool came just in time when uses desperately need to keep notes on their data. You can enable the annotations feature on Google Analytics 4 here.
Does GA4 support a Referral Exclusion List similar to Universal Analytics?
This is not supported currently. Stay tuned to the GAannotations blog to get updates and visibility into the feature roadmap.
Is it possible to track Visits that a Data Studio Report gathered with GA4?
This feature is not available at the moment. You can stay in touch with the Data Studio release notes to be aware of new Data Studio features whenever they are released.
We created a GA4 Property for the App we use and built separate GA4 Properties for our websites. Is this okay as a good practice in GA4?
It altogether depends on the particular data essentials. However, we do not think it is okay.
Each Analytics property is expected to match a particular user base. So all your websites and apps that work with the user base(s) should be arranged and organized as data streams that flow and gather into just one single Google Analytics 4 property.
Of course, you can have your websites and apps with different user bases. However, we think it is very likely that this will be the case considering how most organizations function.
You can find articles and posts that detail how you can organize and combine your data streams and properties for more information.
Can GA4 replace the Custom Events Tags generated using Google Tag Manager/Universal Analytics to identify specific Event-level Metrics?
We advise that you go with parallel tracking. This means you can continuously gather data in your Universal Analytics property (for instance, do not edit your existing GTM tags in UA) and add them to Google Analytics 4 tags. You will identify a new tag template in the GTM interface and link it with variables and triggers existing in your Analytics.
The moment you are comfortable with your data in Google Analytics 4. Then you can remove Universal Analytics tags and make the GA 4 property your only source of insights and information.
What should we change with Setup when we create a Parallel Setup if we are pushing UA through GTM?
Of course, there is something you need to change when you are doing this. You must add Google Analytics 4 tags together with your Universal Analytics tags. Check the answer to the previous question for more information on this.
Is it possible for GA4 to eventually replace Adobe Analytics?
The usage of both analytics tools will depend on several factors. And only you will have to make this decision.
Do you recommend the combination of UA and GA4 Properties together?
For now, it is recommended, although you may choose not to. You should note that the reporting and data model might take some time before you get used to them. So you may want to deploy to handle what you are convenient with.
For some organizations that use GA 360, Google has informed the public that Analytics 360 is currently in a beta stage that will provide advanced integrations and SLAs with tools like BigQuery. There will be more information on this soon. You may want to share your UA properties with GA 4 pending that period. You can also use GAannotations to add any data you want to your Google Analytics 4 report through API integration.
Is there an easy method to Filter through Data Stream?
Do you mean filters in Universal Analytics where you can apply and remove a filter from a view? Then the answer is no. no views, and that means no filters.
If you want a way to effortlessly include or remove a subset of data streams in any of your standard reports, then there is an easy way for you.
To start with, from your standard reports, click the "customer report" button.
Then, click the vertical dots beside the “all users” comparison. Follow promptly by clicking on “edit comparison.” Here, you can add or remove depending on the dimension Stream ID.
What is the best execution approach for Mobile Apps with GTM and GA?
Google Analytics 4 is developed to use the Google Analytics data model for Firebase, a crucial part of the whole operation.
First, note that you will need to create a Firebase project if you do not already have one. This is because it is your Firebase project that will enable you to develop apps. Of course, the apps will appear as different data streams in Google Analytics 4. Stick with the guidelines to integrate Firebase into your apps.
You have to log all your events from your apps to your Firebase. Logged events will then appear on your Google Analytics 4 property. This documentation helps gather information to help you get started.
If you have other tags you want to trigger off your Firebase events, you can use Google Tag Manager mobile containers. You can also add or modify events without having to re-submit your apps' binaries. Include an iOS container to your iOS app and an Android container to your Android app.
Is the UA Data Layer the Best way to set up Parallel Tracking? Like, Is There a Data Layer That Is Particular to GA4?
You can access it by Universal Analytics or Google Analytics 4 or any other Google Analytics tool you use.
We want to believe this question is concerned about UA-specific semantics with regards to enhanced eCommerce projects. Google is very particular when it comes to eCommerce information format dropped to the data layer for Universal Analytics to process the data and become reports.
This is the Universal Analytics documentation for the eCommerce data layer. You can also see updated eCommerce data layer specifications for Google Analytics 4. Note that GA 4 can work with UA eCommerce schema, but Universal Analytics eCommerce schema is not compatible with GA 4. If you already tagged your website with GA Properties and UA, Google recommends that you do not need to change your older schemas for GA 4 eCommerce data types.
Do we need to reconfigure Data Studio Reports that are currently connected to GA360?
The views in your Universal Analytics are the data sources in Data Studio that will continuously increase the Data Studio reports. This will continue to happen as long as you send data that mention the views. You can use your GA 4 Property as a data source and report on that data by accessing it through the native connector.
Does GA4 Incorporate with Search Console and Optimize?
For now, there is a possibility. Stay in touch to know whenever there is a new development.
How does audience integration work in Google Analytics 4?
It is easy to build, coordinate, and maintain contacts in GA4. You can create custom audiences that help you complement standard reporting with your remarketing. When it comes to GA 4, you can easily remove visitors from the audience across your website. This feature enhances your remarketing.
What is the number of Segments we can create in GA4?
You can create segments in the analysis hub in Google Analytics 4. Although, note that it limits you to 200 analyses per user and 500 shared analyses per property. These segments may become upper bounds depending on how you organize your reports.
You can turn segments into audiences if you want to use them externally, that is, outside of your Analysis hub. But you are limited to 100 audiences per property.
This is where Google publishes collection limits.
One of the Unique Selling Points of GA 360 is the Integration feature with Google BigQuery, and since GA 4 can integrate with BigQuery, why should we still use GA 360?
First, our position is that it wrong to compare GA 360 to GA 4. Google has informed that there would be an enterprise and improved version of Google Analytics 4. So the comparison should instead be between GA 360 and the enterprise version GA 4.
Also, GA 360 offers more features beyond BigQuery integration. There are higher data collection limits, SLAs on data collection, Unsampled Reports, and Data-driven Attribution, as well as data cleanness. Some users do not use BigQuery and still enjoy these other benefits of GA 360.
Does GA4 Integrate With Google Ads?
Of course! There are ways to link your Google Analytics 4 properties with Google Ads. You will find many articles on that.
How will Site Search be affected?
There are not site search reports in Google Analytics 4 for now. But you can use BigQuery to recreate the metrics you can use for the time being.
Do I lose data based on Google privacy and data regulations in GA4?
Not really. Google Analytics 4 has an improved consent mode and data deletion abilities. So while making sure users comply with CCPA and GDPA regulations, clients' data are also protected to some extent. You do not have to worry too much about losing all data when a user opts out of website tracking. You will always be able to retain some amount of data.
Is there improved spam and fake data control in Google Analytics 4?
You bet there is. GA 4 makes it almost impossible for an external force to have unmonitored access to your GA 4 property. Through the Measurement Protocol that gives you a secret API key only visible to you, no one else can invade your GA 4 property without having the secret key.
Are annotations enabled in GA4?
Google removed this feature in the latest Google Analytics tool. Users can hope Google will return the feature very soon. While waiting, there is another way to enable annotations in the GA4 property through the GAannotations tool. The extension works particularly for GA4 and can simplify the process of adding annotations on your graph.
How are annotations added in Google Analytics 4?
For now, the only way to add annotations in GA 4 is through GAannotations. And interestingly, there are a few ways you can use to enable automated annotations on your GA 4 property. One, you can add annotations directly using the "Add Annotation" feature on the dashboard. You can also use other functions like API keys, Integrations, CSV upload, and Data Source. All these methods will enable the automated annotations to feature on your GA 4 property. If you would like to allow the automated annotations feature, click here now.
Do I lose my previous annotations on Universal Analytics if I export them to Google Analytics 4?
Absolutely not! GAannotations GA4 annotations tool can secure your annotations without losing any data. All you need to do is export the annotations from UA and use the "CSV Upload" function in GAannotations to import the annotations to GA4. This uploads all your UI annotations to the GA4 graphs, so you do not lose any important notes.
Is there sampling in GA4?
Not at all. No sampling for GA 4 standard reports, despite the application of additional dimensions. So users can apply segments and dimensions in the standard interface without getting halted by the sampling icon.
Is there paid Google Analytics 4 version, or it’s free?
For now, there is only one version of GA4, and it's free. However, we should expect an enterprise version of GA4, which will come with advanced integrations with Google Display tools, service-level agreements. We never know. Google might decide to upgrade the enterprise version like paid GA 360.
How is bounce rate checked in GA4?
There is no bounce rate in the latest GA tool. It has been replaced with engagement rate. Your engagement rate is the number of visitors who interact with your website. This is recorded based on on-site interaction for ten seconds or more, loading more than two pages, and a recoded conversion event.
Ensure you check out our video releases for more Google Analytics 4 insights. Also, stay in touch with the GAannotations blog for more GA4 posts and information.
Can Google Analytics alone be used?
While it can be used alone, we advise that you go for dual tagging to combine both Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4. Google is clear on their position that GA 4 is still a work in progress, and more features will be added. So it's better to explore UI features while also enjoying the new perks of GA 4 before permanently switching. The timeline for the transition will happen when it is suitable.