Table of contents

    Digital marketing has always gone hand in hand with web analytics and was one inseparable organism. In 2020, the familiar world of web analytics has been shaken up a bit, and everyone accustomed to Universal Analytics has begun to wonder what their daily work will look like when only Google Analytics 4 is left to do it. If you’re still one of those people and everyone around you is trumpeting the fact that you need to quickly switch to GA4 (and they’re right 🙂 ) but for you it’s still black magic, here are some tips that will make your daily work with GA4 a pleasure, rather than a constant struggle with old habits, which you’ll find in vain in the new system.

    Google Analytics 4 - tips to make your daily work easier


    Probably this is a question you ask as often as “Why was this change?” There were plenty of reasons, but for the purposes of this article, I’ll briefly walk you through some of the most important arguments for switching from Universal Analytics to the Google Analytics 4 tool.

    1. The way data is collected

    First, it’s very important that you understand the key difference between the two tools. Universal Analytics measures page views. Such a page view, for example, is an entry to a page – that is, a pageview. Clicking on an element on the page is an event (event). In contrast, Google Analytics 4 is based only on measuring events and their parameters. For example, – pageview in GA4 will not be a page view, but an event with certain parameters, e.g.  page_titlepage_location   

    2. User behavior on the purchase path

    The approach to measuring data outlined above is driven by two factors, determined by what a user’s conversion path looks like in today’s world. 

    • Cross-device means using multiple devices in the conversion path. 

    Many times, while riding the streetcar to work, you probably browsed products of interest on your phone – such as the new collection of spring shoes. However, on the run, between home and work, you did not have time to buy your chosen model of shoes. You did it only in the evening, using your computer. However, before you made the purchase, you browsed through several competitors’ sites, looking for the best price for you, and this in turn is related to the second important phenomenon in web analytics.

    • Multi-channel or the use of multiple traffic sources in the decision-making process. 

    Begin with the fact that you remembered you needed new shoes for spring because you came across an ad a few days earlier. You’ve done your research on the Internet by reading reviews, testimonials and looking for the perfect model for you. You’re also familiar with several brands of shoes, so you’ve visited the online stores of selected manufacturers many times before buying. 

    This scenario is familiar to you, right? In today’s world, before we decide to make a purchase, we visit many different sites, read reviews, compare prices. We use both cell phones and computers to do this, and such user behavior is reflected in web analytics. 

    So how to combine web and app traffic in web analytics?

    Universal Analytics is unable to attribute activities on different devices to the same user. When a user uses a browser, Universal Analytics measures sessions and events. In apps, sessions do not exist, while events (happenings) can be measured. The answer to such trends and behaviors is just Google Analytics 4, because it was necessary to create a tool with a reliable and measurable common part, and in this case it is events.

    3. Attribution model

    As you probably know, Universal Analytics uses a last, indirect click model. Of course, it is possible to measure and compare different attribution models, but it is not ideal in this tool. Google Analytics 4 uses a data – driven model by default. This model takes into account factors such as the time elapsed since the conversion, the type of device from which the user converted or, for example, the number of interactions with the ad. This allows us to obtain more precise information, which we can then translate into optimizing our marketing efforts. 

    4. Approach to privacy

    Previously, Google Analytics used cookies to “identify” a user. This method worked until the rules related to giving permission for tracking were tightened. Currently, according to the law, if a user does not consent to tracking, no tracking code, including Google Analytics codes, should run. In this case, as you can guess, we could lose huge amounts of data (depending on the industry, but it could be as much as a loss of 70% of user data!). Google Analytics 4 has come out against this by working with, among other things, the consent mode and using so-called behavioral modeling and modeled conversions. 

    This way, the system will be able to assign conversions of “non-consent users” to the appropriate channel and use artificial intelligence to model the behavior of users who have not consented to cookies, based on users who have given that consent. Implementing consent mode properly on your own is a bit complicated, so it’s best to contact your developer or digital agency 


    One of the biggest “cognitive pains” associated with the advent of GA4 was the absence of the previous reports we all knew so well. Many have disappeared, and others have been replaced by other nomenclature or standard reports  

    This does not mean that there has been an end to our favorite source/medium reports or rejection rate information. You can still find them very easily in the new GA4!

    • Report source/medium in GA4

    If we want to analyze the first source from which users came to our site, we will use the “Source” section, and then go to “User Source” and set “first user source/medium” as the dimension. 

    On the other hand, if we want to see the session source/medium information, we just need to go to the next report “Traffic Acquisition” and select “Session – source/medium” as the main metric in the table. 

    • Rejection rate in GA4

    Here I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that you will look in vain for such a metric in the latest Google Analytics 4. The good news, on the other hand, is a metric that shows valuable information about engagement rate, which in turn is very easy to convert to rejection rate.

    Example – if our engagement rate is 70%, the rejection rate is 30%. However, it is worth remembering what the engagement rate is in GA4. It takes into account only those visits (sessions) during which users:

    – made a conversion

    – they spent a minimum of 10 seconds on your website or app

    – viewed at least 2 screens (or 2 pages)

    • Product effectiveness and sales effectiveness reports in GA4

    In Universal Analytics, these are some of the most widely used e-commerce reports. In GA4, they are available in the “Revenue Generation” section of reports. In order to be able to analyze data on sales of individual products/services and, by the way, approach transaction IDs, all you need to do is slightly rearrange the already available table. In the “E-commerce Purchases” section, simply add a column with a custom parameter “transaction_id” to the existing “name” column.  

    Also note the graphs on these reports at this point. One of them shows the correlation between the number of cart additions and product displays. By analyzing it, you can think about why, for example, a certain product is frequently displayed but not added to the cart. It’s also a great place to catch errors on your site! 


    Google Analytics 4 is a tool that is constantly evolving with many more changes. New standard reports are being added, new custom report templates, where metrics and dimensions are still coming. In addition, from the beginning we have the opportunity to use some interesting functionalities that can often make our daily work easier.

    • Trends and recommendations

    It is worth enabling this option as soon as you create your Google Analytics 4 account, because it will take some time before the first information is collected. Watching this data on an ongoing basis will provide us with interesting clues, show the anomalies that occur and help us optimize further advertising efforts. Here you can also set up your own alerts based on the rules you set up and receive notifications on email when something like this happens. 

    • Fast search or “conversation” with GA4

    An option especially useful for new users of the GA4 interface. If you don’t know where to find the statistics you need or you need some information quickly, you type the topic of interest into the search bar. Often you just need to type a single word like “users” or “conversions” and the system will suggest you various available reports. The search panel also understands more colloquial language, so you can confidently ask “how much did I earn last week?” 🙂

    • Customer segments in GA4

    Using a number of metrics, events and their parameters, you are able to create very detailed and precise audience segments, detailing the actions that users have performed on your site. You can also create an audience segment based on any sequence of events, specify the amount of time that must pass between each step, or indicate whether all actions should happen within all or one, the same session or the same event. By default, two recipient segments are created: all users and buyers, and in total we can have as many as 100 recipient lists within a single service. Best of all – you can later import these lists into Google Ads and use them in your advertising activities! 

    • Automatic event measurement

    In the previous Universal Analytics, events are created through goals, in the administration section. For each goal, you had to add information such as category, action, label and value. In the new Google Analytics 4, in the administration panel, in the “service” column, you will find separate tabs for events and conversions, and instead of specifying a category, action, etc., we rely on event parameters. 

    We can add our own events, specifying them precisely thanks to the available parameters. Then we just need to move the slider next to the selected event. From now on, it will count as a conversion. Events will appear in the “conversions” tab for up to 24 hours, but you can also add an event there to be a conversion right away.

    In addition, GA4 also automatically measures events such as:

    – page views

    – scrolls

    – outbound clicks

    – site searches

    – video interaction

    – file download

    Important to note that if you want to automatically collect the above-mentioned events, it will be necessary to enable the advanced measurement available in the data streams (preferably right after creating the service).

    • Debugview

    Debugview event monitoring is very helpful for, among other things, detecting errors, especially in implementation. The report shows events and their parameters as GA4 logs them (only a few seconds delay happens). To use debugview mode you will find it useful to have the Google Analytics Debugger plugin added to your Google Chrome.

    Do you need customized training to learn about GA4 and get the most out of this tool?

    We will walk through the GA4 interface with you and teach you how to make your daily work with this tool easier.

    Sign up for a free interview!

    Everyone working in the digital marketing industry knows that a marketer without Analytics is like a man without an arm. Of course, it is possible to conduct marketing activities, advertising campaigns and draw business conclusions without using Google Analytics, but I think all of us here will agree that it is absolutely not worth it. Especially since we have a completely free, analytical tool at our disposal. 

    Let's talk!

    Dominika Andrejko
    Dominika Andrejko

    Hi, my name is Dominika Andrejko, and in the digital marketing industry I work in Google Ads and analytics. At UpMore, I joined the SEM team and would be happy to explain the intricacies of the latest GA4 and run campaigns on Google.