Google Analytics 4: An update
A few months ago, our Head of SEO, Chris Ainsworth, wrote about GA4 and its differences with Universal Analytics. GA4 is very much still a moving feat, and it is still being developed with new features being added over time.
We expect GA4 to continue to change and evolve until it becomes the only Google Analytics platform to collect data in July 2023. This blog will go through some of the changes to GA4 that we have seen since Chris wrote his blog…
What’s changed in GA4?
Google Search Console compatibility: In the first week of July, Google made changes to Google Search Console so that it now supports GA4 properties. Before this, GSC was only compatible with data from Universal Analytics, so anyone solely using GA4 would not be able to see many insights in Search Console. Thankfully this has changed! (read more about GSC and Tag Manager here).
Conversion data collection is expanded: GA4 has added in two new metrics to do with conversions. These are ‘session conversion rate’ and ‘user conversion rate’. Session conversions look at the percentage of sessions where a conversion event is triggered, whilst user conversions are the percentage of users who trigger a conversion event on your website.
Bounce Rate is back: Not one we’re that happy about. Bounce Rate was initially left out of the data collected by GA4, but Google has now added it in (although the calculations are slightly different). Bounce Rate is the percentage of sessions that were not engaged (meaning somebody had landed on one of your webpages and instead of exploring your website, they ‘bounce’ right off of that page and leave). The problem is that most people think a high Bounce Rate on every page is a terrible thing. But it’s not. Think about recipe pages. Somebody could spend ages on a recipe page whilst they’re cooking, and then bounce off without exploring the website. That’s because they found exactly what they needed, not because they weren’t engaged. Always take Bounce Rate with a pinch of salt, and think about context. The good thing about Bounce Rate on GA4 is that if a user is on a page for more than 10 seconds and then bounces, instead of counting this as a traditional bounce, GA4 will incorporate this session into ‘engaged sessions’. But, still think about context!!
UTM term and UTM ad content: If you look in Explorations, Reporting, and Audience Builder, you will now be able to find utm_term and utm_content parameter values. When looking at the utm_term parameter, you’ll see the first user manual term and session manual term. Then for the utm_content parameter in GA4 you’ll see first user manual ad content, and session manual ad content.
GA4 will continue to change and develop, and we’ll keep tabs on these changes to make sure that our clients (and anyone else who wants to learn!) are kept up to date. If you need help transitioning from Universal Analytics to GA4, get in touch and we can do it for you. We can also provide Analytics training to help you feel more confident using and understanding Google Analytics.