Listen to Fiona and Adam talk you through what you need to know when it comes to using Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in your non-profit. You can view the responses to the questions we were asked here.
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Here’s the transcript of what we discussed in the webinar with Fiona and Adam:
For those of you who don’t know, I’m Fiona. I’m the Head of Digital Strategy here at Digital Ninjas, and we are here today to discuss Google Analytics 4. This session is being recorded and will be made available afterwards. Manning the Q&A and answering all your questions is our Director, Jonathan Dawson. Please feel free to ask questions as we go in the Q&A section, which is either above or below depending on whether you are using Zoom in browser or in the app, and there will be some time for questions at the end, and we’ll also provide an email where you’ll be able to ask more questions if needed. Although we know a large percentage of you here today, just a tiny bit about us. We work with hundreds of charities large and small on every type of digital campaign. We specialize in creating customized digital marketing strategies that are tailored to each charity’s unique needs and goals.
As I said, I’m Fiona Hawley, Head of Digital Strategy. I’ve been a part of Digital Ninjas for over five years, and I’ve just completed a Master’s of Digital Marketing. I’m also joined by Adam Brady, one of our senior digital strategists. Adam’s been with us since completing university. He’s worked on a large range of digital campaigns across multiple channels, direct to donate, two step lead generation, fundraising challenges and many more. We’re going to give you a top level overview of Google Analytics 4 and how to obtain some metrics within the new interface. We’ll discuss what tracking is and why it’s important. The key differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4. Some new metrics, reports, and terminology that have been introduced with Google Analytics 4, and we’ll also share some tools to help you with what comes next.
First, tracking. Tracking’s essential for charities because it helps measure the impact and evaluate the effectiveness of programs and initiatives. By tracking various metrics such as funds raised, outcomes achieved, charities can determine whether they’re meeting their goals and making a difference. Tracking is crucial for digital marketing because it allows us to measure the effectiveness of campaigns and make data driven decisions to optimize efforts. By tracking various metrics such as click through rates, conversion rates, and engagement rates, we can determine which campaigns are and aren’t working. This information helps us make adjustments to campaigns in real time to achieve goals. Tracking is indeed a crucial component of any successful marketing campaign and should not be treated as an afterthought. It is most important because it provides you with valuable data that can inform your decision making and help you optimize your campaigns for better results.
By tracking key performance indicators, or KPIs, such as website traffic, conversion rates, and customer behavior, you can identify which aspects of your campaign are working well and which need improvement. This information can help you make data-driven decisions about where to allocate your resources, which channels to prioritize, and which messaging and targeting strategies to adjust. Without proper tracking, it’s difficult to measure the success of your marketing efforts and make informed decisions about how to improve them. Tracking allows you to gain insights into the behavior of your target audience, understand how they interact with your brand, and identify opportunities to improve those engagement and conversion rates. For those of you who don’t know, Google Analytics is a free web analytics service provided by Google that tracks the website traffic and user behavior. It allows you to see how users interact with your website, where they’re coming from, which pages are most popular and much, much more.
Similarly, platform specific pixels such as Facebook Pixel can provide you with valuable insights into performance of your social media campaigns. These pixels allow you to track user actions such as page views, purchases and signups and attribute them to specific ads or campaigns. By analyzing this data, you can identify which ads and campaigns are driving the most conversions and adjust your targeting and messaging accordingly. Using both Google Analytics and the platform specific pixels can give you a more comprehensive view of your marketing performance and help you make informed decisions about how to optimize your campaigns. However, it’s important to ensure you comply with data privacy regulations and obtain proper consent from users before tracking their behavior. Whilst each each pixel is a little bit different, you always want to make sure you’re tracking the volume and values of your conversions.
GA4 is the biggest change to Google Analytics since its inception in 2005. One of the things that users liked about previous versions of Analytics was its familiarity and easy to use navigation. However, over the past few years, the flaws in Universal Analytics have become more apparent and a shakeup as needed. Cross device measurement, offline conversions and attribution were inefficient in Universal Analytics and it held back progress. Fortunately, GA4 is built for the future, and while it’s going to take a while to get used to, it’s very exciting. There’s no need to be afraid of GA4. In fact, GA4 has many features and benefits that make it worthwhile exploring and mastering. Given that Universal Analytics will stop processing data on July 1st, we also don’t have a choice, so get familiar with it before it’s too late.
Before we begin looking at the main differences between GA4 and US, let’s look at a brief history of Google Analytics. In 2005, Google acquired Urchin Software Corporation, a company that provided web analytics software and services. The acquisition formed the basis of what would become Google Analytics. Later that year in November, Google launched a beta version of Google Analytics, which was initially offered to a limited number of customers. The service provided basic website traffic data analysis. Then in April, 2006, Google launched a public version which was made available to all website owners for free. The following year in May, Google introduced Google Analytics 2.0. This version offered improved features and functionality including advanced segmentation, custom reporting and integration with AdWords. In April, 2011, Google launched a new version of Google Analytics called Google Analytics Premium. This version offered advanced features and support for larger enterprise level websites.
Then in October, 2012, Google launched a new version of Google Analytics called Universal Analytics. This introduced new tracking codes and measurement protocols that alert website owners to track user behavior across multiple devices and platforms. Finally, in October, 2020, Google launched a new version of Google Analytics called Google Analytics 4, which is what we’ll be talking about today. Today, Google Analytics is one of the most widely used web analytics services in the world. Millions of website users use the service to track and analyze their website traffic and user behavior. The interface that you can see here on the screen is more than likely the version of Google Analytics which you’re most familiar with, known as Universal Analytics or UA. Here we can see the interface with Google Analytics 4. One of the key changes between Universal Analytics and GA4 is the reorganization of metrics and terminology. As you may have noticed, some familiar terms and categories such as audience, acquisition, behavior and conversion have been replaced or redefined in the new version.
Instead of these traditional categories, Google Analytics 4 introduces a new data model based on events and parameters. As we explain in more detail, events represent user interactions with your website or app, such as page views, clicks and form submissions. Parameters provide additional context and information about these events such as the type of page or button clicks. As you can see here on the left, UA categories have been replaced by home, reports, explore and advertising. You may all see configure tab underneath these. This tab was temporarily available during the beta testing phase of the new platform and provided access to advanced configuration settings such as custom dimensions, custom metrics, and data streams. Google has since removed the configure tab from GA4 in order to simplify the platform and make it more user-friendly for businesses and marketers of all levels. Most of the advanced configuration settings that were previously accessed through this tab can now be found in the admin section in the lower left-hand side. It’s worth noting that GA4 is still a relatively new platform and Google is continuing to make changes in updates to it based on user feedback and testing, so while the conf configure tab may no longer be available, it’s possible that new features and functionalities will be added in the future to further enhance the capabilities of GA4.
The reason that we’re talking about this today, as we touched on briefly, is that Google Analytics’ previous web analytics platform, Universal Analytics, will stop recording data from July 1st, 2023, for users who are not Google Analytics 360 customers. For those of you who don’t know, Google Analytics 360 is a paid version of Google Analytics designed for enterprise level businesses with more complex analytics needs. Customers who use Google Analytics 360 will continue to have access to Universal Analytics data after July 1st. For the majority of users who rely on the free version, the move to GA4 is a necessity. Not only is it inevitable, it’s because GA4 represents a major upgrade and overhaul of the platform, offering a more flexible, customizable, and future-proofed approach to web analytics. While it may require some time and effort to migrate to GA4, doing so will provide many benefits.
GA4 is designed to provide a more comprehensive understanding of user behavior, including cross device and cross-platform tracking, advanced machine learning capabilities and more flexible data modeling. In addition, GA4 is better suited to meet the needs of modern organizations, which often have multiple digital touchpoints and rely on data to make informed decisions. By upgrading to GA4, we can gain a more complete and accurate view of users and their behavior. Some key differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4. As we mentioned, navigation and terminology, which we’ll focus on more later. Measurement models. One key difference between GA4 and all previous versions of Google Analytics is the event driven data model. The event driven data model simplifies the concept of page views and replaces them with a more flexible system of events. This makes a lot more sense when you start playing with the platform.
Previously, analytics made page views the building blocks of a session and separated page views and events into separate reports making it difficult to see how the two correlated. Furthermore, events had to previously be manually configured beyond page views, and unless you set them up yourself, you had no visibility as to what users were doing on your website. The reporting interface is a lot different. A lot of the reports are gone and reports only populate with data. This is similar to the custom reports of Universal Analytics. There are new reports such as steps to conversion, path exploration, and also a very handy debug view. Where cross device tracking was limited in Universal Analytics, it’s now much more robust and reliable. GA4 also uses machine learning to help you identify users who are likely to be the same person across multiple devices even if they’re not logged in.
Speaking of automation, both Google Analytics, Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 offered automated features that helped organizations save time and optimize their data analysis process. However, the type of automation available in each platform differ greatly. In Universal Analytics, the automation features were things like custom reports which allowed you to send notifications when specific metrics or events reach a certain thresholds. This can be useful for identifying issues or opportunities with your data without having to constantly monitor your analytics reports. UA also offered automated reporting features like scheduling reports and dashboards which could help save time when you send reports to stakeholders on a regular basis.
Universal Analytics used two types of cookies, first party cookies and third party cookies. Very quickly, first party cookies are set by the website or app itself while third party cookies are set by external services such as advertising networks. In recent years, the use of third party cookies has become more restricted due to privacy concerns and changes in the browser policies. In GA4, cookies are also used primarily to associate user behavior across devices and sessions as well as store user and session data. GA4 uses a cookie to track user behavior as well as a measurement ID that allows multiple GA4 properties to be associated with a single user. GA4 also offers support for consent mode, which allows organizations to control when and how cookies are used based on user consent. This can help comply with data privacy regulations.
The missing bits. GA4 has some missing metrics and features compared to previous versions. One of the most notable emissions is the bounce rate metric, which has been replaced by engagement rate. The bounce rate metric has been a longstanding and widely used metric in Google Analytics to measure user behavior on a website. It represents the percentage of users who leave a website after viewing only one page without interacting with the page or exploring further. In GA4, the bounce rate has been replaced by engagement rate, which takes into account user behavior beyond just page views. Engagement rate measures the amount of time users spend on a website and the number of interactions they have with the website such as clicks, scrolls, and video plays. While engagement rate provides a more comprehensive view of user behavior, it is not as straightforward as bounce rate, which has been a staple metric in GA for many years. This change in metric may require you to adjust your analysis and interpretation of user behavior.
Moreover, sessions in Universal Analytics were based on page views, which may not provide accurate representation of user behavior. However, it’s important to keep in mind that data has never been perfect and it is more directional than precise. Yes, the front end of GA4 is not as user friendly as we’d like. However, we expect to see rapid innovation in the front end in the near future. Currently, GA4 does not have product scope custom dimensions, but they are expected to be added by July. Additionally, views, which you may be used to, which we actually find are almost always used incorrectly, can be achieved through the user interface and Google Analytics 360 will still have views.
The new bits. GA4 includes a range of automatically collected events, which are predefined events that track user interactions with your website or app without the need for custom event tracking. Two examples of these automatically collected events are form submit and file download. The form submit. This event fires when a user submits a form on your website or app. The event includes information such as the form ID, form name and form method. This event can be used for tracking how users are engaging with your forms and can help you optimize your form design and user experience. The file download event is triggered when a user clicks on a link leading to a document, text, presentation, video, audio, or compressed file. The event automatically includes parameters including file name, link URL and file extension. This event can help you determine which files users are interacting with the most.
In addition to these events, GA4 also includes several other automatically collected events such as page view, scroll, video start and user engagement. These events can provide insights into how users are interacting with your website or app and can help you optimize your user experience and engagement. It’s worth noting that while these automatically collected events can be helpful, they may not capture all of the specific user actions that are important to your organization. In some cases, you may need to set up custom event tracking to capture more granular data on user behavior. On the right-hand side of your screen, you will see the GA4 debug view. This is a feature that allows you in real time to view data and debug your GA4 implementation. It provides a live stream of events as they occur on your website or app along with information on the event name parameters and user properties.
Your ability to use debug view will be directly affected by your method of GA4 implementation. If you’re using GTM, or Google Tag Manager, you’ll need to create a tag that fires the GA4 tracking code and publish it to your container. Once you’ve done this, you can open the GA4 debug view by going to admin data streams in your GA4 property and then selecting the relevant data stream. Then you’ll need to click on the debug view button in the top right corner of the screen.
Perfect. Now that you’re familiar with events on the debug mode, it’s time to go through conversions. Conversions refer to any action that is valuable to your organization. This may be a purchase, a donation, a newsletter sign up, or even a visit to a specific page. Once events have been configured in GA4, it is important to mark valuable events as conversions. This can be done by navigating to admin and then the event section. You’ll then need to switch the toggle to the on position for the relevant event. Once an event has been marked as a conversion, new reports will begin to populate based on the change. However, historical data will not be impacted. In GA4, you have the option to mark up to 30 events as conversions. Once events have been marked as conversions, you’ll be able to import these into Google Ads to optimize performance within the account.
If a conversion action is low, no longer valuable, you can stop collecting conversion data by turning the conversion toggle to the off position. It’s worth noting that a number of events are automatically marked as conversions by Google, including purchase. In GA4 reports, there are also some new metrics that did not exist in Universal Analytics. These are engage sessions, average engagement time per session and engagement rate. Engage sessions. This is a new metric that measures the amount of time users spend actively engaged with a website or app. In GA4, the engage session is calculated by measuring the amount of time users spend interacting with a website or app including clicks, scrolls, and other on-screen actions. Engage sessions in GA4 provide a more comprehensive view of user behavior as it takes into account equality of user engagement, not just the length of time spent on the site. By measuring engaged sessions, organizations can gain insights into user behavior, identify areas of improvement, and optimize their websites or apps for better engagement.
It’s important to note that engaged sessions are not the same as session duration, which measures the total time a user spends on a website or app including periods of inactivity. Engaged sessions focus specifically on the time users spend actively interacting with a website or app. Now, average engagement time per session. This measures the average amount of time users spend actively engaged with a website or app during a single session. This metric is a measure of the quality of user engagement. To calculate this, divide the number of sessions by the total amount of time users spend actively engaged with a website or app. Engage time is defined as the time a user spends actively interacting with a website or app, including clicks, scrolls, and other onscreen actions.
The average engagement time per session metric provides organizations with insights into the quality of user engagement on their websites or apps. A high average engagement time per session suggests that users are spending more time interacting with the site and may indicate a higher level of user engagement. On the other hand, a lower average engagement time per session may indicate that users are quickly leaving the site or not interacting with it in a meaningful way. Finally, engagement rate. Engagement rate is calculated by dividing the total engage time by the total active time for all sessions and then multiplying by 100 to express the result as a percentage. A high engagement rate indicates that users are more actively engaged with a website or app, whereas a lower engagement rate suggests that users are less engaged.
Cool. We’ve been asked a lot of questions about implementing GA4 and it does require several steps, so we’ll go through a little bit of that today. Also, we know there’s a lot to take in with GA4, so just a reminder, add any questions to the Q&A. First, it’s important to have a measurement plan. Producing a measurement plan is a crucial step in ensuring that you collect the data you need and you can measure performance accurately on your website or app. A measurement plan is a document that outlines your goals, objectives, and key performance indicators and how you plan to measure them. Similarly to any business plan, to create a measurement plan, you should start by identifying your organizational objectives and how they translate to your website. For example, if your goal is to increase revenue, you may want to track the number of donation form starts, donation form progresses and completed purchases.
Next, you should identify the KPIs that you’ll use to measure your objectives. These KPIs should be specific, measurable, and relevant to your goals. For example, you may want to track conversion rate, average donation value, and customer lifetime value to measure the success of your strategy. Once you’ve identified your objectives in KPIs, you can then map them to specific events and actions on your website. For example, you may want to track the number of clicks on a specific button, the time spent on a particular page or the completion of a form submission. By producing a measurement plan, you can assure that your GA4 implementation is aligned with your goals and that you collect data you need to make informed decisions. This can help you optimize your digital strategy, improve user engagement, and ultimately drive growth.
Next, if you haven’t already, get GA4 sorted. Next month is too late. We recommend you deploy the GA4 tracking script via Google Tag Manager. For those of you who don’t know, Google Tag Manager, or GTM, is a free tool offered by Google that allows you to manage and deploy various tracking tags including the Google Analytics 4 tracking script on your website without the need for coding. By using GTM, you can easily deploy your GA4 tracking script and start collecting data. It will also help you with your debugging view. Google wants us to adopt GA4 as soon as possible, so they’ve made it pretty easy to deploy your GA4 tracking script via GTM. You’ll first need to set up your GA4 property in Google Analytics and obtain your tracking ID for that property. Then you can create a new GA4 tag in GTM by selecting Google Analytics GA4 configuration as the tag type, and you enter your GA4 tracking ID in the appropriate field.
Once you’ve created your GA4 tag, you can add it to a GTM trigger which specifies when the tag should fire, which the majority of the time is all pages. After saving and publishing your GTM container, your GA4 tracking script will then be deployed. If you haven’t already configured GTM on your site, it’s highly recommended that you set it up. GTM simplifies the process of managing and deploying tracking tags on your website, allowing you to quickly and easily add or remove tags as needed. This can help you save time and resources and make it easier to implement and test different tracking solutions on your website.
You need to ensure that your Google Ads account is linked to your GA4 property. This allows data to flow between the two platforms. You can link them by going to the linked account section in your GA4, and to be more specific, you open your Google Analytics 4 property. In the admin section of the lower left corner, you’ll open the admin section under product links. You’ll see Google Ads linked like you can see here on the screen, and then you verify your Google Ads linked. If you have a Google Ads account linked there, you will see it. If not, if there is nothing there, you will need to link your Google Ads account for the steps provided. A big caveat on this one is that your Google account must have access to both Google Ads and Analytics.
Importing conversions from GA4 to Google Ads is a valuable practice because it allows you to track and optimize your advertising campaigns based on actual user actions and conversions on your website. There are some big reasons on why you should use your GA4 conversions in Google Ads. GA4 provides advanced tracking capabilities allowing you to capture a wide range of conversion events and actions on your website. By importing these conversions into Google Ads, you gain a more comprehensive view of how your ads are driving valuable actions beyond basic click and view metrics. With conversion data imported from GA4, you can optimize your Google Ads campaigns based on specific conversion events. This enables you to focus on maximizing desired outcomes such as purchases, signups, and form submissions, rather than relying solely on click through rates and impressions.
GA4 offers flexible attribution models that provide deeper insights into the customer journey. By importing conversions into Google Ads, you can analyze the impact of your advertising campaigns at different touchpoints and better understand how various channels contribute to conversions. This helps in making informed decisions regarding budget allocation and campaign optimization. GA4 also allows you to track offline conversions such as phone calls or in-store purchases by integrating with other systems or importing data from your CRM platforms. By doing this, you can attribute them to your advertising efforts and evaluate the offline impact of your online campaigns. When you import conversions into Google Ads, you can leverage automated bidding strategies like target CPA, cost per acquisition, or return on ad spend. These strategies utilize conversion data to automatically optimize your bids and budget allocation, helping you achieve your desired campaign goals more efficiently. This is extremely important if you are utilizing a Google grant as campaigns using conversion bidding can bid over the $2 threshold and become far more competitive.
Importing conversions from GA4 ensures consistency in measurement across your analysis and advertising platforms. By aligning the data from both sorts sources, you reduce discrepancies and discrepancies in recording, enabling you to make data-driven decisions based on accurate information. To do this in your Google Ads account, you’ll need to go to tools and settings, select your conversions, and under the conversions tab, you’ll import your GA4 conversions.
While GA4 provides a robust analytics solution, it does not have any direct integration with specific donation or fundraising platforms out of the box. However, some of these platforms offer easy to implement code snippets or integrations that you can add to your website to track donation related events in GA4. Here are some popular examples. Definitely not limited to these platforms. These are some platforms that we’ve come across that have good integration with GA4. Some, like Funraisin here, it’s a simple code snippet. Similarly with Shopify, it’s just the integration of an ID and Raisely’s similar, and Fundraise Up also requires some additional GTM codes as well.
It’s valuable to compare data between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 during the transition period as it can help ensure your GA4 implementation is tracking data accurately and consistently. To do this, we’ve provided a handy checklist that we’ll share with you at the end of this webinar. When comparing metrics between GA4 and Universal Analytics, you will encounter some differences due to the variations in data collection and measurement methodologies. While the overall figures should not be massively different, it’s important to be aware of these potential discrepancies. Some tips for when you’re comparing UA and GA4 data. Obviously, use a consistent time range. To ensure an apples to apples comparison, make sure the date range for both UA and GA4 data is the same.
While it’s normal to see some differences between UA and GA4, as I mentioned, due to the difference in tracking methods, you should look out for any significant discrepancies that may indicate an implementation issue. You want to compare specific metrics as well, so rather than looking at the overall traffic or session metrics, focus specifically on metrics that are important to your organization and marketing goals, and if you’re unsure on how to interpret or compare your UA and GA4 data, consider consulting with an expert who can help you understand the differences and identify any issues with your implementation. Okay. Let’s get into some details of GA4.
As I’ve mentioned, the reports in GA4 are very similar to the customer reports you may have used in Universal Analytics. GA4 offers some different reports and features not available in UA, such as the engagement and monetization reports, as well as enhanced [inaudible 00:39:28] segmentation options. In addition, GA4 also provides a range of analysis tools and features such as filtering, segmentation, and custom reporting, which allows you to customize your analysis and gain deeper insights into user behavior. Overall, the reports and analysis tools available in GA4 can help you optimize your digital strategy, improve user engagement and drive business growth.
We’ll now go through five key reports to help you get started on GA4. the first report we’ll go through is engagement overview report. This report provides a high level overview of user engagement on your website or mobile app. The report includes several metrics that help you understand how users are interacting with your content and where there may be opportunities to improve engagement. You may find this report by navigating the report section in GA4 followed by engagement and then overview. First up, we see average engagement time, engage sessions per user and average engagement time per session for the selected date range. As mentioned previously, high average engagement time indicates that users are more engaged. On the top right, we can then see active users or those using the website in the last 30 minutes and their top pages or screens.
Under this, the engagement overview report also includes data on top engagement events and pages. This will display a top list of all the pages and screens on your website or app along with engagement metrics. Down here, we can see page views by page title and screen class. By viewing engagement data by page title or screen name, you can gain a better understanding of which specific pages or screens on your website or app are driving engagement and where there may be opportunities to improve by optimizing content or design.
If you’re looking to determine the most popular landing pages on your site, the landing page report on GA4 is the best place to look. In GA4, a landing page is the first page that a user visits on your website or mobile app during a session. It’s the page that a user lands on after clicking a link from another website, a search engine results page, an email, or any other source of external traffic. The landing page is an important metric to track because it can provide insights into the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns as well as user experience. You may access the landing page report by going to reports, engagement and then landing page. In this report, you can see a list of all the landing pages on your site or app and engagement metrics for each page. You can also use the search bar, which is situated at the top left of the table, to search for specific landing pages.
In the default report, you will see users, sessions, new users, average engagement time per sessions, conversions and total revenue. Users refer to the number of unique users who land on the page. Sessions are the number of sessions that started with the page as the landing page. New users are the number of users who land on the page and were not counted as returning visitors. Average engagement time per session, we’ve already covered. Conversions are the number of times users completed a desired action on the landing page, such as filling out a form or making a purchase. As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to mark events as conversions for this to populate. There are a small number of events, however, that are automatically marked as conversions by Google, including purchase and first open. Finally, total revenue refers to the total revenue generated from conversions on the landing page during the selected date range. It’s important to note that if you don’t have e-commerce tracking enabled, no revenue metric will show in this report.
Where is my traffic coming from and how is it performing? For this information, you want to use the traffic acquisition report which provides information on the sources that are driving traffic. This report allows you to see where your traffic’s coming from and how your users are engaging with your site or app. This is contained within the reports tab and the lifecycle sub tab. Navigate to acquisition, traffic acquisition. For each traffic source, you can see the number of users, sessions and new users, as well as engagement metrics. By analyzing the traffic acquisition report in GA4, you can identify which traffic sources are driving the most engagement and conversions on your site. You can also use this information to optimize your marketing campaigns and improve your overall user experience to drive more traffic and revenue.
As we’ve explained in GA4, if you connect your Google Ads and link it to your GA4 property, once you’ve done this, you can access Google Ads campaign report in GA4 to view data on your campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords, similarly to what you may have been doing previously in Universal Analytics. To view the Google Ads campaign performance report, being either Google Paid or Google Grant, in GA4, you’ll navigate to reports, acquisition tab and overview sub tab. The fifth or so table down the bottom will be called sessions by session Google Ads campaigns. Here, click to open the Google Ads campaigns. You’ll open a report like this, which will list all your Google Ads campaigns. The metrics you’ll see here include campaigns, impressions, clicks, cost, conversions, conversion value and return on ads spent. You can also drill down into Google Ads ad groups, ads and keywords by clicking on the respective tabs in the Google Ads campaign report. You’ll do this by clicking on the dropdown and opening the list like here.
Which e-commerce transactions are driving the most value? The fifth report that we’ll show you today is the e-commerce purchases report, which provides information on the e-commerce transactions that have occurred, as well as we mentioned your donations and sales. Key metrics are items viewed, items added to cart, items purchased, and item revenue. Items viewed, obviously the number of product detail views that occurred during the selected time period. Items added to cart, the number of times the product was added to cart during the selected time period. Items purchased, so they’re your purchases or donations. Item revenue, so the revenue generated by each individual sale including taxes and shipping fees if you so set. By analyzing these metrics, you can gain insights into user behavior and identify the potential barriers to conversion. For example, if you notice that many users are adding item to cart but not completing the purchase, you may want to reevaluate your checkout process to see if any areas that can be optimized to reduce cart abandonment. Similarly, if you notice that certain products are consistently driving revenue, you may want to consider promoting them more heavily to increase sales.
We’re looking at the report by item name here. As a charity, you’ll likely want to see data by item category also. To do this, click on the dropdown where you see item name and you will open a parameter selection which you can select from here. Item category is a parameter that can be used to categorize products based on their type or category. It can be used to group similar products together and track performance by category. Item categories can be passed through the product data when a purchase or product detail view event is set to GA4, then they can also be passed through the data layer if you’re using Google Tag Manager to implement your tracking. For those of you not familiar, what we’re looking at here is e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics 4 by item category. As you can see, depending on the setup, here’s where you’ll likely see your type of donations that are coming in. What we’re trying to highlight here is that it’s imperative to track the item category. This is because it helps organizations track and analyze your e-commerce data more effectively. The item category is used to categorize products based on their type, category or any other relevant attribute.
Okay. That is all we have time for today. We’ve got a little bit of time for questions here, as well. I hope we’ve been able to explain a few more things and ease any hesitations people might have about GA4. Thank you for attending. We’ve put together, as we mentioned, a GA4 migration checklist to help get you started. You can download that at digitalninjas.com/GA4 or scan the QR code on the screen now. In summary, if you haven’t already, set up GA4 as soon as you possibly can. I would recommend this week. Familiarize yourself with the new terminology. The best way to do this is to dive into GA4 and start looking around. Google offers plenty of explanation within the interface and in documentation. Test your setup, review discrepancies with Universal Analytics and amend any tracking configuration before you no longer have anything to compare it with. Remember, this is July 1, so it’s really, really close. Finally, don’t be afraid. Everything will get easier over time. As with anything new, the more experience you have, the easier it will become. Thank you all. Jon, any questions that we need to address? Any common themes coming through?
Thanks, Fiona. Yeah. I’ve gone through most of the questions. There are a few that I haven’t got to, so apologies. I’ll try and answer them now on the fly. One from Pauline about the e-commerce report. It looks like it’s specific to products and how does this compare to one that’s for donations? Products is just the naming convention that Google Analytics uses, so I would treat products as your appeals, usually, is the common comparison, so it could be emergency appeal name or end of financial year appeal, and then the product category or item category as it’s defined in the documentation. Usually we’d recommend using something like one-off donation, monthly donation, or like if you’ve got a shop, shop donation. Yeah. Don’t let that bother you. Product is the equivalent of donation, so you can still put your donation data in there along with actual product data if you do sell physical or virtual gift.
The other one. Danielle, there’s a few people asking about where you can find UTM parameters in GA4, so just to clarify, the UTM structure is still the same. For example, if you’re sending traffic from an email campaign, you’d have on the end of the destination URL a little question mark and you’d say UTM underscore medium equals email usually, and then you’d have UTM source equals, and then probably the name of the email, so it might be newsletter. It might be email number one for the end of financial year appeal if you send a series of emails and it identified up at the campaign.
Now, the one thing that is really clear in GA4 as some of you are finding when you go into it, the drill down on these sort of things isn’t as intuitive as it was in Universal Analytics. You can access the data through some of the acquisition reports, but what we’re finding the best way to look at some of this is to use a filter at the top of the screen. You’ll see a little oblong shape that says all users, and then there’s one next to it that says ad comparison. In that ad comparison filter, you can then define the UTM you want to look at. For example, if you were filtering email performance, you’d go in there and you’d do a filter for medium equals or contained email, and then if you apply that filter and if you just want to view that data only, you can remove the all users oblong that’s at the top of the screen, and then you’ll just see for whichever set of reports you view the performance to your email UTM.
It’s not as intuitive on some of the drill downs. I don’t know if Google have got plans to change that. Hopefully they will just to give us all a bit of an interface that we’re used to using. But if not, that is the workaround for now that we’ve found most effective. Then clearly the other way of doing it that gives you complete flexibility is pulling the data out of the GA4 interface into something like Looker Studio, which is what Data Studio is now called, and that’s a free tool that Google offer. It can be a little bit fiddly. You’ve got to be familiar with the dimensions and metrics available in the account to make that work well for you, but it’s something we find really useful for just pulling out really clear, concise performance dashboards for marketing or fundraising campaign.
I think that’s all the questions. There’s a few that have been answered in the Q&A. Somebody asked if we could share all the Q&As in a follow-up. We will send around an email with a recording and I’ll try and extract all the answers from Zoom. If there’s any more questions, feel free to type them in or you can raise your hand and we can probably unmute you and you can ask it live, if you prefer, so feel free to ask any more questions. Okay. I’m not seeing any more come through, so I guess we’ll wrap up there. What we’ll do, we’ll send out the email and if there’s follow up questions that you think of after the session, just reply to the email and it will come through to myself, Fiona or Adam and we can pick up the conversation with you. Thank you for tuning in, and thanks Adam and Fiona for doing a great job. Have a good day everyone.