Unlocking the Power of Google Analytics 4: A Step-by-Step Guide

iM4U Digital Marketing Agency
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An outline of how to harness Google Analytics 4 for your website

In today’s digital landscape, data is the key to success. And when it comes to understanding your online presence, Google Analytics is the ultimate tool. But did you know that there’s a new player in town? Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is here to reshape the way you analyze your website’s performance and user behavior. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the seamless transition from the old to the new, ensuring you’re armed with the knowledge to make the most of GA4.

Creating Your GA4 Guide 

Step 1: Log Into Your Google Analytics Account

The journey begins by logging into your Google Analytics account. A few clicks and you’ll be on your way to harnessing the power of GA4.

Step 2: Setting Up GA4 Properties

Navigate to the “Admin” section located at the bottom left-hand corner. This is your gateway to setting up GA4 properties.

Step 3: Create Your GA4 Account

Hit “Create an Account” to embark on the GA4 journey. This will lead you to build your GA4 empire.

Step 4: Set Your Account Name

In the account settings, provide an “Account Name” and proceed with excitement to the next step.

Step 5: Property Specifics

Define your “Property Name,” select the appropriate “Reporting Time Zone,” and choose your preferred “Currency” under “Property Settings.” Remember to specify that you’re creating a GA4 property. It’s worth noting that Google Analytics Universal  ceased to operate in July 2023, making the transition to GA4 inevitable.

Step 6: Business Insight

Breathe life into your GA4 setup by inputting your business details. Share your industry category, business size, and how you plan to utilize Google Analytics. Once done, click “Create” to establish your GA4 resource. Don’t forget to tick the GDPR data processing box and select your country. Customize checkboxes based on your company’s needs.

Step 7: Choose Your Stream

Select the platform you’re connecting Analytics to. For instance, if it’s your website, simply make your choice. Notice the upper-left corner – you’re already within the view you’ve created.

Step 8: Provide Site Details

Enter your website’s URL and name. No need for “https://” – Analytics has that covered. Hit the “Create stream” button.

Step 9: The Countdown

Wait for a mere 10 seconds, and voila! A window appears, guiding you through the GA4 connection process. If your site resides on a certain CMS or employs specific plugins, you can streamline the GA4 connection. Alternatively, consider using the MonsterInsights  or SiteKit plugins. If you opt for manual setup, the journey continues.

Step 10: Embrace the Code

Find the Google tag for your account below. This code is your golden ticket, meant for your developers. Each page on your website should bear this code, placed immediately after the <head> element. Remember, one Google tag per page is the rule.

Have no fear if you need to revisit the code. A single click on the orange button in the Admin panel takes you there. Alternatively, you can head to the main page, where GA kindly notifies you of the unfinished setup and offers guidance.

Step 11: Test the Traffic

Once developers integrate the code, venture into your Analytics and verify the traffic presence. To witness the traffic, simply visit your website. The real-time traffic data will greet you in the right-hand pane. Don’t hesitate to unleash some test traffic.

Feel like you need a guiding hand? Take advantage of the special, free, short course from Skillshop, designed to walk you through GA setup and introduce you to basic navigation on the platform.

Step 12: Customization and Personalization

As you wrap up configuring Analytics and confirm its traffic-tracking prowess, it’s time to fine-tune your account settings. Journey to the “Admin” section (bottom-left corner) and open a world of possibilities. From setting filters to integrating Google Ads and other products, and configuring events, this is where you take full control.

Google Search Console Integration 

Google Search Console (GSC) compatibility follows the GA4 connection.

  1. Navigate to the GSC page.
  2. Focus on the top-left corner. Click “Resource,” then “Add Property.”

For a speedy integration path, opt for this if you’re confident that no subdomains needing tracking will be added to your site.

In the window that appears, choose the right option. Input your domain name (as seen in the screenshot) and press “Continue.”

Several verification options await. Opt for Google Analytics. With proper setup, integrating GSC is a cinch within 5 minutes.

Facing integration issues? Reach out to developers. It’s likely that Analytics was implemented in a non-standard way. Other options are available, but a developer’s touch might be required.

For an alternative route, connect your site as a domain resource if you anticipate the creation of subdomains whose performance you wish to monitor.

In this case, input the site name in the left pane (as seen in the screenshot) and hit “Continue.” Follow the provided instructions, which will necessitate developer involvement.

If the concept isn’t clear, we recommend watching this video for better understanding.

As you embark on this new analytics journey, remember that GA4 is your navigator to a data-rich future. Happy tracking!

How to Connect GA4 with Google Tag Manager

To configure GA4 with Google Tag Manager (GTM), just create a GA4 stream for your site. To do this, follow steps 1-9 as described above. After that, you do not need to install the GA4 code into <head>.  Here are instructions on what to do next.

1. Access GTM from Google Analytics

From your Google Analytics account, click the Tag Manager icon located at the top. This will take you to GTM’s home page.

2. Create a New Google Tag Manager Account

On the GTM home page, click “Create Account.” Name the account, and enter your website’s URL. Select “Web” and click “Create.”

3. Install GTM Code

Follow the provided instructions to install the Tag Manager code on your website. Copy the first script and paste it into the <head> section of your website’s HTML. Copy the second script and paste it within the <body> tag. These scripts will set up the Tag Manager container on your site.

4. Configure GA4 Tag in GTM

Go back to GTM and navigate to “Tags.” Click “New Tag,” select “Google Analytics GA4 Configuration,” and choose “Edit” under tag configuration.

5. Enter Measurement ID

Paste your GA4 Measurement ID (found in Google Analytics) into the designated field.

6. Set Trigger

Define a trigger for the tag. Typically, select “All Pages” to ensure it activates on every page of your website.

7. Save and Rename Tag

Save the configuration settings and rename the tag for clarity (e.g. “GA4 Config for Website”).

8. Submit and Publish Changes

Submit and publish the changes to your Tag Manager container. Add descriptions if desired.

9. Check Analytics Integration

Open your website’s debug tool (e.g. Command-Option-I for Mac, F12 for Windows) and go to the Network tab. Refresh the page to observe the GTM container and GA4 tag loading.

10. Verify Analytics Data

Ensure that your Google Analytics tag is running by checking for your Measurement ID in the Network panel. Access Google Analytics, and confirm data reception in the Realtime reports section.

11. View Realtime Data

In Google Analytics, navigate to the Realtime reports section to observe live data. You should see users appearing within a few minutes, confirming successful integration.

You can get all the information you need from official Google documentation.

IM4U Digital Marketing Agency Is Here to Help 

Navigating the world of analytics can be complex, but you don’t have to go it alone. IM4U Digital Marketing Agency is here to guide you every step of the way with GA4. Our experts are ready to help you harness the full potential of GA4, optimize your strategies, and propel your business to new heights. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for tailored solutions that fit your unique needs. Let’s dive into the world of data-driven success together!