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The Common GA4 Mistakes That Businesses Are Making

August 14, 2023

Summary: Are you using Google Analytics 4 for user and customer insights? Here are common mistakes businesses are already making in GA4. Learn more now.

Is Google Analytics 4 (GA4) working optimally for your business? When you want insights into your user and customer behavior and ultimately improve your business, you definitely want to use the GA4 platform for data!

And if you’re new to analytics and the GA4 platform, you have nothing to fear! WSI recently hosted a webinar titled “Unlocking Google Analytics 4 for Better Business Insights“. You can watch the recording and use our downloadable GA4 setup checklist to help make your life easier!

The good news is that WSI has been working with Google Analytics 4 since its launch. And we’ve put together this post to identify the common mistakes that we’re finding businesses are already making with GA4

Not Leveraging Custom Reports And Metrics

One of the great things about GA4 is the ability to customize reports and metrics. You know what data you need to improve the performance of your digital marketing campaigns and measure return on investment (ROI), so customize the dashboard to prioritize metrics important to your business. Yes, GA4 does offer predefined reports, but it also gives you the opportunity to customize reports based on your specific business needs. Why be like everyone else when you can be the best you? The same goes for GA4 reports.

Not Adjusting How Long Google Retains Tracking Data

Do you know the default Google Analytics 4 data retention period? Two months. Just imagine how much data you lose if you don’t adjust the retention period. Google Analytics Data Retention controls enable you to store user and event-level data for fourteen months before it is automatically deleted. Remember! Increasing the retention period only affects the data collected from that point onward. Data previously collected will still be deleted based on the initial timeline, so it’s best to change it right from the start.

Not Removing Unwanted Referral Traffic

You want to measure all traffic, right? Maybe not. Ideally, you should only have data you are interested in, and this includes referrals. Google Analytics 4 sees referrals as traffic arriving on your website via another source, such as third-party links (search engines excluded). Why do you need referral traffic information? Besides increasing your site traffic, it shows other sites are linking to yours, boosting your search engine optimization (SEO), and helping you rank higher in search engines.

Where will you find referrals in GA4? Navigate to Reports – Acquisition – Traffic Acquisition. Check out the webinar recording! We spend a bit of time on referrals.

Forgetting To Link All Relevant Google Tools

Is your site already linked to Google Search Console? Every website should be linked, as it’s a great tool to measure your site’s organic search traffic and performance. Google Analytics 4 makes it easy to connect as all Google Tools are in one place. From here, you can link your GA4 platform with Google Ads, Ad Manager, and the Google Merchant Center dashboard, to name but a few. Do you need to analyze terabytes of data with BigQuery? With one click, you can connect your company’s GA4 platform to BigQuery.

Not Enabling Cross-Device And Demographic Tracking

You definitely want to enable cross-device and demographic tracking, but to do so, you need to activate Google Signals. Demographic characteristics such as user language, age, gender, interests, and the location of people using your website and app are not automatically collected. Since privacy laws are becoming very strict, the demographic information is only from users who signed into their Google accounts and turned on Ads Personalization.

What about cross-device tracking? Activate Google Signals, and you can organize data sources from multiple devices in Cross-device reports, whether your customer uses a mobile, tablet, or laptop to get to you.

Not Turning On Remarketing And Conversions in Google Ads

If you use Google Ads, you know Google is pushing Conversions in GA4 as best practice. Turn it on in Google Analytics 4 and disable your Google Ads conversions/UA Goals, or you will be double-counting conversions and overbidding! Migrate your remarketing lists from Google Ads to GA4 as soon as possible and disable them in Ads.

Let go of any fears you have of Google Analytics 4! Our team of WSI Certified Digital Marketing Consultants will help you every step of the way, whether it’s setting up Google Analytics 4 or customizing reports. Reach out today, and we will work with you to help you conquer GA4. 

About the Author

Rick spent 20 years in the insurance industry in finance, primarily developing reporting platforms for B & C stakeholders.   His ability to speak to consumers of data (managers and analysts) and translate their needs to programmers led him to start his own digital marketing agency in 2004 to develop data driven solutions for business owners. 

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