Google Analytics 4: an insight into your website visitors

In online marketing it is nowadays essential to collect data/data. These statistics have different starting points to be able to analyse certain data from your website or website visitors. As an entrepreneur you are aware of the fact that “to measure is to know”. It always sounds a bit cliché, but when you know and especially understand your target group, you can better respond to opportunities and/or threats for your company. The free service to provide more insight into this is Google Analytics 4.

The definition of Google Analytics will be explained in the blog below. In addition, it will be explained what can be done with the different groups within Google Analytics. Finally, the link between Google Analytics and various other Google services is examined.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free tool from Google that provides insight into the statistics of a website or webshop. The service does this by registering actions of website visitors and displaying this clearly. This results in a detailed report for the administrator of the website or webshop, including visitor flows, traffic sources and page views. More details about this are provided later.

The latest version of Google Analytics was launched in October 2020; Google Analytics 4. Google Analytics 4 is seen as the new standard as it will support future updates. The predecessor of Google Analytics 4 is Universal Analytics. Google will therefore no longer release updates for Universal Analytics. Google Analytics 4 uses its own property, so data from your old Universal Analytics property cannot be included. This means that Google Analytics 4 will start collecting data again. It is therefore advisable to switch to the new Analytics as soon as possible.

Linking Google Analytics with WordPress

When you have created an Analytics account, it is important to link it correctly with your website. After creating an Analytics, you will see the tracking code for your website. The best way to place these on your platform is through the source code.

Placing the tracking code is not very complicated, but you just need to know where to do it. Once logged in to the back-end, go to View > Editor (could also be Theme Editor, depending on how your website is built). Here you see an overview of the code that is on the website. The tracking code of Google Analytics should be placed in the head of your website. On the right side of your screen you will see the different theme files of your platform. Here you select header.php. That way you get to the code that is in the header of your website. You then have to add the tracking code from Google Analytics to it. You will copy the Analytics tracking code and then paste it in the line under <head>. Then scroll down and click on “Update File”. In Analytics you can immediately check whether the tracking code is working properly. You keep the website open and within Analytics you go to the Realtime > Overview section. Here you can see an up-to-date overview of the traffic currently on your website. When you see that an active user is listed here, you know that you have implemented the code correctly in the code of your website.

Switch to Google Analytics 4

You probably already got it. Google is moving away from Universal Analytics and therefore everyone has to switch to Google Analytics 4 before July 1, 2023. From that date, Universal Analytics will no longer collect data. It is therefore important to prepare well and to make the transition to Google Analytics 4 in time. This is easy to do by simply following the steps that Google indicates here. When you are logged in to your Universal Analytics environment, you will find the notification at the top to switch. If you click on get started, you can easily follow the steps to create your GA4 account. Please note that you have to add a new Analytics code to your website or set it up in your Google Tag manager. Of course you want to collect data in your new account.

What can you do with Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 gives the user insight into various data. When you open the service, you see all kinds of different numbers, graphs and percentages. In Google Analytics you can indicate over which period he/she wants to see the data. For example, you have the option to see numbers, graphs or percentages for the past week, the past 30 days, the past year, etc. In addition, a valuable addition to the tool is that it distinguishes between data from (normal) users, new users and returning users. This allows you as an entrepreneur, for example, to analyse which landing pages generate new users or which advertising campaigns ensure returning users. The software provides a wealth of information that can be very valuable to your organisation. However, you must have the ability to find and interpret all this information.

That’s why Google Analytics 4 has added a menu bar on the left side of the program. The menu bar consists of: reports, discover, ads and configure. The menu options Discover, ads and configure go into more detail on certain data, but for now the heading ‘report’ will suffice. In reports, Google Analytics 4 has divided your data into five relevant groups.

The five groups that Google Analytics has formulated for reports are:

  1. Real-time
  2. User
  3. Acquisition
  4. Engagement
  5. Monetisation

Real-time

Under the group ‘real-time’ you can monitor current activities of visitors on your website or webshop. The data of the ‘real time’ heading is continuously updated and displayed. This gives you insight into the current number of visitors to your website, which pages and/or events they have activated and which conversions have taken place as a result. This can be relevant information if you want to know how new advertising campaigns and/or changes to the website affect your visitor traffic.

User

With the help of the ‘user’ group in Google Analytics 4, you as an entrepreneur get to know your target group a lot better. For example, the software gives you insight into your website visitors with regard to demographic and technical data. The demographic overview shows from which countries your users come. In addition, you have the option to go deeper and see which province or city your target group comes from. Finally, Google Analytics shows you the data of the website visitors regarding their gender, age, interests and language.

The technical overview shows information that says something about the platforms and devices that your website visitors use. This way you can read whether your (new/returning) users use the internet, iOS or Android as a platform to run your website. In addition, the technical overview provides insight into the choice of operating system and the device category of your target group. Things like the browser, screen resolution, and device model are also listed. Finally, Google Analytics 4 gives you the opportunity to get an idea of ​​how your (possible) app is doing with users.

Acquisition

Under the heading ‘acquisition’, Google Analytics 4 indicates exactly through which channels visitors have come to your website or webshop. For example, the user and traffic acquisition give you as an entrepreneur the opportunity to look at the session source and the medium with which visitors arrive on your website. The different mediums that Google Analytics 4 distinguishes between are:

Organic search traffic / Organic search

With organic search traffic, Google Analytics shows how many new users have come to your website via the organic search results of the search engines.

Direct

If Google’s tool indicates that visitors came to your website through the direct way, it means that the visitor came directly to your website by typing the URL into the search bar of their browser.

Paid search traffic/ Paid search (Cost Per Click)

With paid search traffic, things are a bit more complicated with Google Analytics 4. When users have come to your website through advertising campaigns, Google Analytics 4 categorises them under paid search traffic. This therefore includes visitors who come via Google Shopping, display advertising and remarketing campaigns.

Social

When Google Analytics categorises 4 new website visitors via the social media medium, the users have come to your website via social media channels. It is possible that visitors have come to your website through social media marketing (paid advertisements). But because the medium from which the visitors arrive is a social media channel, Google Analytics 4 will also display it that way.

Referral

New visitors who come to your website via a link on an external website are displayed under the medium referring (referral). If visitors come to your website as a result of your link building activities, they will be placed under ‘referral’. The same applies when you place a link to your website in an email to potential customers.

Other

Finally, there are also situations in which your website visitors arrive at your website via another medium. These are then categorised under ‘other’.

Involvement

Under the ‘engagement’ group in Google Analytics you can see what visitors do on your website. Think of which pages are displayed, the average time visitors spend on certain pages or on which pages visitors decide to leave your website. Engagement includes four subcategories, all of which contain interesting information about the behaviour of the website visitor.

Engagement overview

The engagement overview provides insight into the average number of sessions per user, the user activity in recent times and very interesting; the user loyalty of your website.

Pages and screens

The overview of pages and screens takes a closer look at individual data about pages. For example, you can read how many users scroll on different pages, but also income from certain pages or screens is shown.

Events and conversions

‘Engagement’ also includes events and conversions. Displays the number of times events are triggered and which conversions result from them. Events are activities/actions performed by visitors on the website and these are collected by Google Analytics 4 when they are activated. Conversions are then goals set by a company and marked as conversion. With the help of conversions you can analyse which pages and sources provide the most valuable actions on the website.

For a website, the events and conversions differ compared to a webshop. An ordinary website has very different goals than a webshop. For example, a relevant event for a website could be when someone signs up for a newsletter. This is stored by Google Analytics 4 when someone is shown the thank you page after subscribing to the newsletter. At a webshop, an event could be when a visitor adds a product to the shopping cart. If a conversion has been created for this on the basis of the purchase confirmation page, Google Analytics 4 stores this data and can be viewed under conversions.

Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4

Generating income

New from Google Analytics 4 is insight into how your webshop generates income. Using the monetisation heading, you can gain insight into publisher’s e-commerce, in-app purchases, and advertising revenues.

With e-commerce purchases, you can see how many item views per item name have taken place in recent times. In addition, Google Analytics describes which items have been added to the shopping cart by the user after viewing. Finally, it is very useful that Google’s tool indicates which items your users have made an e-commerce purchase for. This way you can always keep track of which products are doing well and which are not doing so well.

Under the heading of ” in-app purchase data is displayed on purchases made by users are doing in your app. Think of it as the amount of purchases and the proceeds thereof.

In the “ads from the publisher” determines the number of impressions your ads, and what is the scope of it, the number of clicks it, to have been made, and the total revenue it produced.

Linking Google Analytics 4 with other Google services

Google has made it possible to link Analytics 4 with other Google services. Think of Google Ads and Google Tag Manager. This ensures that a distinction can be made between traffic that came via the organic way and data about traffic that came to the website via the paid (Google Ads) way. In addition, by means of Google Tag Manager, tags (pieces of code) can be added in the backend of the website/webshop. This results in even more insights into data and behaviour of your website visitors.

Do you also want more insight into the statistics of your website or webshop, such as visitor flows, traffic sources, page views and e-commerce purchases? Start now for free with Google Analytics 4. Do you want more information or help with the implementation of your website or webshop with Google Analytics? Please feel free to contact us, our online marketers are always happy to help!

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