I’ll come right out and say it. Installing Google Analytics 4 was one of the most exciting things about creating my own website. I understand that off the bat, this sounds like a weird thing to get excited about. But the reason is because while I’ve had experience with it through client sites upgrading, I never had an opportunity to use it for a fresh install.
Honestly, I equate this experience to cracking open a book for the first time. I get it, I don’t sound very cool but that’s fine by me.
Events and Engagement
The best thing about Google Analytics 4 is that it’s events-based rather than pageview-based. This is powerful because everything that makes a website great is based on the kind of experience you offer. Therefore, rather than reporting on whether someone just looked at your website, GA4 reports whether they did anything on it.
When I set up my G4, I went in for the Enhanced Measurement, which automatically measures certain events on your site. This is also pretty cool because with the Universal Analytics code, you would have to sometimes implement additional event tracking for scrolls, outbound clicks, video engagement and file downloads. All of these are now automatic options – woohoo!
The focus on events, this brings an easier way to track engagement across your website like engaged sessions per user. You can use this metric to compare against sources – both organic and paid, or compare against types of content.
One metric that has always been popular is average time spent on site – I’ll admit, I used it quite a bit as insight for engagement. Now, GA4 gives us Engagement Time, which diagnoses sleep time versus active time on browser. This starts to paint a picture that previously would require a heatmap or screen recorder to uncover.
You’ve Made it This Far
So you’ve made it this far in the article, which means that I now have some good data to tell me just how engaged you have been while reading. I’m also going to be able to dig in and see what you might have clicked to next – or whether you left me completely. Don’t worry, I can’t tell who is who in the data, Google does protect your privacy – at least from me.
I’ll be sure to share what I learn along the way – in the meantime, tell me, are there specific things about Google Analytics you’d like to learn more about?