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GA4 FAQ: your GA4 questions answered

The answers to your most common questions about Google Analytics 4 and making the switch from Universal Analytics.

Switching reporting platforms isn’t easy. Not only will Universal Analytics stop processing data next year, but you should make the switch from UA to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible if you want easily comparable data from this year to next. 

Such big changes naturally come with a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common questions people have asked while wrapping their heads around GA4, and their answers.

Question: why is my user engagement per session in GA4 lower than my average session duration in UA? 

Both of these metrics aim to measure the length of time a user spends on a site, so why is user engagement per session in GA4 often shorter than average session duration in UA? 

Answer:

GA4’s method of measuring user engagement per session is smarter than UA’s. For example, GA4’s user engagement per session will not count time when a page is open in a browser, but in a closed tab. UA will. This difference can be attributed to GA4’s greater accuracy.

Question: why are my GA4 conversions higher than my UA goal completions

GA4’s conversions and UA’s goal completions are two ways of talking about the same thing – they measure the number of times users took particular actions on a page that the analyst has identified and marked as important. A business might set playing a video as a conversion, for example, if their goal is to have as many people see that video as possible. So why does GA4 generally register more conversions than UA does goal competitions?

Answer:

GA4 will count every instance of an event set as a conversion, while UA only counts the first time that event happens per session. If playing a video was set as a conversion, for example, GA4 would count every time a video was played in that session, while UA would only count the first time. 

Question: where can I find my download events in GA4? 

GA4 can track file downloads by default, but finding download data in GA4 can be difficult. 

Answer:

Go to your data streams, found in the property column of your admin panel. Select the data stream you want to measure download data for. A window will open with enhanced measurements. Make sure file downloads are one of the enhanced measurements (they are by default). Then you can go back to your admin panel and to Reports > Engagement > Events and search for file_download to see your data. 

Question: what’s the difference between audiences and segments in GA4?

Segments and audiences both allow you to distinguish between different users, so why are they separate at all?

Answer:

Segments are created in and used for exploration reports. When you create a segment you can also tick a box which will create an audience using the same criteria. An audience, however, can be used in Google Ads and not exploration reports, while a segment cannot be used in Google Ads but can be used in exploration reports. 

Question: do I still need event tracking and Google Tag Manager with GA4? 

Because GA4’s enhanced measurement feature has standard event tracking included, it can seem like setting up your own events and tags has become redundant. 

Answer:

Yes, you will still need event tracking and Google Tag Manager in GA4. Although standard event tracking is in by default, it is limited. Scroll depth is only measured, for example, if 90% of a page has been scrolled through. Use custom events and Google Tag Manager to gather more useful, specific data. 


More help

For more help making sense of Google Analytics 4 and your website data, email me at [email protected]o.uk.

Anna

Anna Corbett

Director of Client Success

Anna is responsible for all client delivery, and is our resident data and analytics lead.

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