Google Analytics GA4: The Essential KPIs

24 Apr 2024
Google Analytics GA4

Google Analytics GA4 for Newbies: The Essential KPIs

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) represents a significant shift in the world of web analytics. As the impending sunset of Universal Analytics looms, it's critical to understand how GA4 differs and the essential metrics at your disposal. If you're new to Google Analytics, this article offers a primer on GA4, along with the fundamental KPIs you need to track for success.

Why GA4? The Benefits

  • Event-Based Model: Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 focuses on events. Every interaction (page views, clicks, scrolls, etc.) is an event, providing granular data on user behaviour.
  • Cross-Platform Tracking: GA4 seamlessly tracks data across websites and apps, giving you a holistic view of the user journey.
  • Enhanced Measurement: Out-of-the-box, GA4 automatically tracks metrics like scrolls, outbound clicks, video engagement, and more - actions often requiring custom setup in Universal Analytics.
  • Focus on Privacy: GA4 is designed with a stronger focus on user privacy and addresses changing regulations.

Understanding Essential KPIs in GA4

KPIs, or key performance indicators, are the vital signs of your website or app. Let's dive into the core metrics you should track in GA4:

1. Users

  • Active Users: Shows the number of unique visitors interacting with your platform within a specified timeframe (daily, weekly, monthly).
  • New Users: Indicates the number of first-time visitors, helping gauge your ability to attract new audiences.

2. Engagement

  • Engaged Sessions: Counts sessions that lasted over 10 seconds, had a conversion event, or had at least two page views/screen views.
  • Average Engagement Time Per Session: Measures how long, on average, users actively interact with your content. Higher engagement times suggest valuable content.
  • Events: Tracks specific actions like button clicks, form submissions, downloads, and video views. To fully leverage GA4, set up custom events that align with your business goals.

3. Conversions

  • Conversions: Any predefined goal that's important to your business (purchases, newsletter signups, lead form submissions, etc.).
  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of users who complete a desired conversion event – fundamental for gauging the success of your marketing and optimisation efforts.
  • Event Revenue: GA4 can track revenue associated with conversion events, providing insights into the monetary value of user actions.

4. Retention

  • User Retention: Tracks how well you retain users over time, highlighting your capability to foster customer loyalty.

5. Monetisation (Ecommerce-Specific)

  • Purchase Revenue: The total revenue generated from transactions.
  • Average Order Value (AOV): Reveals the average spending per transaction, helping in optimising pricing and promotions.
  • Items Purchased: Tracks specific products bought by users.

Getting Started with GA4

  1. Create a GA4 Property: If you are new, set up a GA4 property alongside your existing Universal Analytics property to collect data in parallel.
  2. Implement Data Collection: Add the GA4 measurement tag to your website either manually or using a tag manager.
  3. Configure Events: Define crucial conversions and user interactions as events within GA4.

Important Notes

  • GA4 has a different reporting structure than Universal Analytics. Take time to familiarise yourself with the new interface.
  • Universal Analytics will be retired in July 2023 (standard properties). Plan your migration well in advance.
  • Focus on KPIs that directly support your business objectives.

The Path to Analytics Mastery

GA4 provides a robust framework for understanding your users and tailoring a superior digital experience. By tracking these essential KPIs, you are on the path to harnessing data-driven insights for the ongoing growth of your online presence.

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