Benefits of using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Is GA4 free?
How do you set up GA4?
How to create a new GA4 property
How to set up data collection for GA4
Adding a tag to a website builder or CMS-hosted website
Adding the Google tag manually to your webpages
Adding the Google tag via Google Tag Manager
Does Shopify support GA4?
WooCommerce GA4 integration
Installing GA4 on WordPress
How do you know if GA4 is working properly?
Finding search terms on GA4
Finding bounce rate on GA4
Does GA4 use cookies?

What’s the benefit of using Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is Google’s newest evolution of Analytics which is set to replace Universal Analytics (UA) by July 2023 (or July 2024 for Google 360 users).

Unlike its predecessor UA, GA4 allows users to track both website and mobile apps on one platform.

GA4 uses event-based data that helps users understand the customer journey, while also including privacy controls like cookieless measurement. 

One of the major benefits of GA4 is the use of automation and machine learning, which helps you gain valuable and unique insights into your data which will help in your optimisation efforts.

Is Google Analytics 4 free?

Google Analytics 4 is completely free to use for all users.

How do you set up Google Analytics 4?

Setting up GA4 for your website and apps involves two steps: creating a GA4 property and setting up data collection. We’ll go through both steps here.

How to create a new Google Analytics 4 property

For this, you’ll need to have already gone ahead and created a free Analytics account. You also need to have the Editor role enabled, which is automatically given if you created the account yourself. Follow these steps:

  1. From the Admin section, go to the Property section on the right and click Create Property.
  2. Give your property a name and specify your currency and reporting time zone.
  3. Click Next and select both your industry and business size.
  4. Next again, then select how you want to use GA4 - one example of this is “generate more leads”.
  5. Hit create and accept Google’s Terms of Service.
  6. You can then add a data stream, which can either be an iOS app, Android app, or Web.

How to set up data collection for Google Analytics 4

Now that you have your new GA4 property, you’ll want to set up data collection so you can start seeing some data. For this, there are 3 different methods:

Adding a tag to a website builder or CMS-hosted website

Depending on the CSM you use, they may have integration with GA4. If this is the case, it’s just a case of adding your Google Tag ID into the field your CMS provides.

To find your Google Tag ID:

  1. In your Google Analytics account, go to Admin.
  2. From the Property column, click on Data streams.
  3. Select the data stream you’re trying to get the ID for
  4. In the Google tag section, select Configure tag settings.
  5. You’ll see a Your Google tag section - copy the ID (it’ll start with either G- or AW-).

If your CMS or website builder doesn’t provide native integration, you’ll need to paste your Google tag into your website using the available HTML feature:

  1. From Admin in Google Analytics, head to Property and select your property.
  2. Click Data streams and then Web.
  3. Select the data stream for your website.
  4. Under the Google tag heading, click on View tag instructions.
  5. Select Install manually. You’ll be met with a JavaScript snippet containing your account’s Google tag - you need the full section of code which starts with:

<!-- Google tag (gtag.js) -->

And ends with:


Paste the whole code snippet into your custom HTML feature.

Adding the Google tag manually to your webpages

For this method, you’ll need access to the HTML for your web pages.

You’ll need the JavaScript snippet containing your Google tag - take a look at the above section to find this.

Once you’ve got your snippet copied, you need to paste it immediately after the <head> on each page of your website.

Adding the Google tag via Google Tag Manager

This method involves a few different steps which include setting up and installing Tag Manager.

We recommend following Google’s official guidance on this method to ensure you’re successfully collecting data.

Does Shopify support Google Analytics 4?

Shopify supports GA4 integration.

We have a full guide on how to set up GA4 on Shopify available.

Looking to integrate Google Shopping with your Shopify store? Start here.

WooCommerce Google Analytics 4 integration

If you use WooCommerce, it’s possible to link your store to GA4. This can help you gain valuable insights into your store’s performance that you can use to help optimise your ecommerce strategy.

This is how you can install GA4 in WooCommerce:

  1. From WooCommerce, go to My account and then Downloads - download the WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration extension.
  2. Head to Plugins, then Add New.
  3. Select the .zip file you downloaded from step one.
  4. Click Install Now and then Activate.
  5. To complete the set-up process, go to Settings and then Integrations. You’ll see Google Analytics listed - click on this and fill in the settings.
  6. You’ll need to add your Google Tag ID (check the section on how to find this above).
  7. You also need to add the domain for your site.

If you're new to using Google Shopping with WooCommerce, check out our guide.

How to install Google Analytics 4 on WordPress

Integrating GA4 with your WordPress site is a simple process and one worth doing. For this, you’ll need to have created your GA4 property.

  1. Once you’ve created your property and added your data stream, you’ll be presented with the option to either “Install with a website builder or CMS” or “Install manually” - click the first section.
  2. Under the Supported platforms header, you’ll see Site Kit plugin with the WordPress logo. Click this and you’ll be given your tag ID.
  3. Copy the tag ID you’re given.
  4. On your WordPress website, go to Tools, Marketing, and then Traffic.
  5. Paste the tag ID into the Google Analytics Measurement ID field and click on Save settings. Your WordPress website will now be connected to GA4 and data will start being sent to Google.

How do you know if Google Analytics 4 is working?

After you’ve set up GA4, you might want to make sure that data’s being collected correctly. Google suggests two methods of doing this: a Realtime report and a DebugView report. Both reports support web and app data streams.

Realtime reports

After you’ve followed the steps to set up your GA4 property and install it on your web pages, you’ll see any collected data in the Realtime report section. Seeing data here is a sign that Google is correctly collecting data. Realtime reports create comparisons in a specific data stream and display user activity during the past 30 minutes.

DebugView report

If you go into the DebugView report, you’ll be able to monitor events from both a browser or mobile device. This method’s most often used by developers hoping to confirm that they’re successfully collecting data while setting up events on a website or app. DebugView reports show user activity during periods longer than thirty minutes.

Finding search terms on Google Analytics 4

To help you optimise your ecommerce efforts, it’s important to understand what visitors are searching for via your search feature.

Search terms in standard reports

In standard reports on GA4, you can see view_search_results. This will tell you how many people have used your search feature.

To find the terms, follow these steps:

  1. From your Analytics account, go to Configure.
  2. Click on Custom definitions and then Create custom dimensions.
  3. You’ll need to give it a name (Dimension name) - this is the label you’ll see in your reports.
  4. Under Scope select Event.
  5. The Description field can be left empty.
  6. Underneath, the Event parameter field needs to say search_term.
  7. Wait for 24 hours, then go to Reports -> Engagement -> Events -> view_search_results.
  8. You’ll then be able to see how many times each search term was used.

Search terms in a customised standard report

  1. From your Analytics account, go to Reports.
  2. Click on Engagement and then Events before clicking the pencil icon.
  3. Select Dimensions and remove Event name.
  4. Add a Search term dimension to this field and hit Apply.
  5. Head to Metrics and keep the following: event count, users, and event count per user. Click Apply.
  6. Click Save then Save as a new report. Give your report a name, for example, “Search terms”.
  7. Go back to Reports, select any report, and click on Library.
  8. Find the Life Cycle collection.
  9. Click Edit collection.
  10. From the column on the right, move the “Search Terms” report to the Engagement section before hitting Save and Save changes to the current collection.

Once complete, you’ll have a customised report containing the search terms being used in your search feature.

Finding bounce rate on Google Analytics 4

In UA, bounce rate was the percentage of sessions that contained a single page view. The bounce rate was divided by sessions to provide you with a percentage.

However, GA4 measures the bounce rate differently. 

The bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of bounces (which Google now classifies as non-engaged sessions - for example, if somebody spends 10 seconds on your webpage without triggering an engagement) by the number of sessions, multiplied by 100 to get a percentage. Google defines “non-engaged sessions” as a session that lasted less than 10 seconds, only viewed one page, or didn’t trigger any events.

Google changed the calculation in GA4 to account for the way in which we interact with webpages being different. Websites or apps are often more complex than they used to be, meaning engaged sessions were counting as bounces incorrectly.

Here’s how to view your bounce rate:

  1. From your Analytics account, head to Reports.
  2. Click Pages & Screens.
  3. There’ll be a pencil icon on the right-hand side of the page - click on this.
  4. Click on Metrics and then Add metric.
  5. Under the drop-down menu, you’ll see Bounce rate. Select this and then click Apply.
  6. The bounce rate will now be included in your reports once you’ve hit Save.

Does Google Analytics 4 use cookies?

GA4 uses first-party cookies which are GDPR compliant. This was done as a response to the gradual phasing out of third-party cookies.  Google attempts to fill gaps in data with machine learning and modeling, something they define as “blended data”.

Instead of cookies, GA4 tracks user IDs.

User IDs allow you to associate identifiers with users so you can connect and analyse their behaviour across different sessions, and also different devices. With user IDs, you can compare signed-in users and not signed-in users, view user exploration, and create remarketing audiences.

Sadly, this has limitations as a user ID can only be generated on a website that features a log-in function where a user submits an email address to gain access. If a user doesn’t log in, it’s difficult to gain accurate customer behaviour information.

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