Google Analytics 4

Welcome to our in-depth guide aimed at helping you enhance your understanding and use of GA4 data to its fullest potential. In this section, we will briefly discuss the importance of GA4, identify the target readers for this guide, and give an overview of the topics covered in the successive sections.

Before we begin, we have created a checklist to help you improve GA4 Data:


Understanding GA4’s Distinctive Features

In this section, we will delve deeper into the distinctive features that GA4 brings to the table.

Event tracking in GA4

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offers enhanced event tracking capabilities. You can now track a wider range of user interactions on your website or app automatically without having to set up manually. While events like pageviews, button clicks, video views, and scroll depth were trackable in Universal Analytics (Google Analytics 3), GA4 makes it easier and more flexible to track them. This feature helps you gain a more comprehensive understanding of how users engage with your content.

  • page_view: Fired whenever a user visits a new page on your website.
  • scroll: Fired when a user scrolls 90% of a page.
  • outbound_click: Fired when a user clicks a link that leads to a different domain.
  • video_start, video_progress, video_complete: Fired for video interactions.
  • file_download: Fired when a file is downloaded from your site.
  • search: Captures on-site search queries (though some configuration may be necessary).
  • view_item, view_item_list, view_search_results: These are useful for e-commerce tracking and fire when a user views an item, item list, or search results.

The user-centric model

GA4 uses a user-centric model, which means it focuses on individual users rather than just sessions. This allows you to track and analyze user journeys across multiple devices, providing a more holistic view of user behaviour. It helps you see how users interact with your brand, even if they switch between mobile and desktop.

Setting up GA4 for Success

Before leveraging GA4 data, it is vital to set it up correctly. This segment will cover how to set up GA4 to be successful.

Proper installation of GA4

Setting up GA4 correctly is crucial. You’ll need to install the GA4 tracking code on your website or app. Google provides clear instructions to ensure the tracking code is properly implemented, enabling you to collect accurate data.


  • Backup Your Website: Before making any changes, create a backup of your website, just in case anything goes wrong during the installation process.
  • Implement the GA4 Tracking Code: Ensure that the Google Tag has been installed on ALL PAGES of your website. You or your developer can install the code below just before closing the </head> tag:

GA4 tracking

When you are installing the Google Tag, make sure that you replace GA_MEASUREMENT_ID with your actual Measurement ID.

  • Test the Installation: After adding the Google Tag, open your website in a browser and check the browser’s developer console for any JavaScript errors related to Google Analytics.

Check these guides to learn how to install GA4:

Configuring your GA4 property optimally

Customizing your GA4 property is essential for gaining specific insights. You can set up custom events, create unique user properties, and define conversion goals. Custom events for example allow you to collect information about a user interaction with an element on your site that GA4 does not collect automatically. Customization such as this tailors GA4 to your business needs and objectives.

Learn how to create custom events, create unique user properties, and define conversion goals at the links below:

Integrating GA4 with other Google services

GA4 seamlessly integrates with other Google services like Google Ads and Google Tag Manager. This integration allows you to combine data from different sources, making it easier to optimize your marketing strategies.

Learn more about GA4 integrations here:

Advanced Tracking and Reporting with GA4

Learn about the sophisticated tracking and reporting features available in GA4 below.

Setting up event tracking effectively

Effective event tracking enables you to monitor specific user actions that matter most to your business, such as form submissions, video views, and purchases.


  • Define Your Goals: Make sure you have identified the specific user interactions or events that you want to track (e.g., button clicks, form submissions, video views, downloads).
  • Create an Event Strategy: Plan how you’ll categorize and label events. Use a consistent naming convention for clarity.
  • Events and Conversions: It’s strongly recommended to set events as conversions in GA4 for events that are of significant value to your business in order to establish key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Debugging and Troubleshooting: Monitor event tracking regularly and use debugging tools like the Google Analytics Debugger browser extension to identify and fix any tracking issues.
  • Exclude Internal Traffic: Filter out internal or test traffic to ensure your data accurately represents user interactions. A common example of this is the IP addresses of all desktop computers used by employees in your organization.

Utilizing audience building features

In GA4, audience building features enable you to create customized segments of your website visitors based on their interactions and behaviour.

To use these features effectively, start by navigating to the “Audiences” section in your GA4 property.

Audiences GA4
From there, you can define audiences by specifying conditions, such as page views, events, or e-commerce transactions. You can also use predefined audience templates or import segments from Universal Analytics (if applicable). Once you’ve created an audience, you can apply it to your reports and analyses to gain deeper insights into the behaviour of specific user segments, allowing you to tailor your marketing strategies, content, and user experience to better engage and convert your target audience.

If you are looking for additional audience-building options take a look into predictive audiences, a new feature in GA4. Predictive audiences offer several valuable benefits for marketers and businesses including more precise targeting based on various data points, automated audience creation, and enhanced insights based on user behavior patterns.

Learn more about predictive audiences here.

Advanced filtering and segmentation

GA4 offers advanced filtering and segmentation options, allowing you to dive deeper into your data. You can segment your audience based on various criteria, helping you understand user behaviour, preferences, and demographics more effectively.

Leveraging Annotations in Google Analytics 4

Discover the utility of annotations in keeping track of data changes and optimizations below.

Creating and managing annotations

Annotations are valuable for keeping track of significant data changes, campaigns, or website optimizations. More specifically, they provide additional insight into the following four key areas:

Historical Context: Annotations provide historical context by documenting significant events, changes, or insights related to your website’s performance. This context helps you and your team understand fluctuations in data and identify the causes.

Collaboration and Communication: Annotations facilitate collaboration among team members by sharing insights and context about website activities. They make it easier to align strategies, interpret data, and make informed decisions based on shared knowledge.

Data Interpretation: Annotations help in the interpretation of data trends, anomalies, and performance shifts. When you know why certain events occurred, you can better understand their impact on your metrics, enabling you to fine-tune your strategies.

Documentation: Annotations serve as a valuable historical record, allowing you to track the evolution of your website and its performance over time. This documentation is especially helpful for tracking the effects of marketing campaigns, website updates, and other key events.

Best practices for using annotations

Using annotations in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) effectively requires adhering to best practices to ensure clarity, consistency, and optimal use of this feature.

  • Be Clear and Descriptive: Write annotations that are concise yet descriptive. Clearly explain the event, change, or insight, and avoid vague or cryptic descriptions.
  • Use a Consistent Naming Convention: Establish a consistent naming convention for annotations, ensuring that they are easily identifiable and organized.
  • Include Dates: Always include the date of the event in the annotation. This helps provide a clear timeline and context for the data.
  • Specify Event Impact: Clearly state the impact or significance of the event or insight, making it easier for team members to understand its relevance.
  • Use Annotations for Significant Events: Reserve annotations for noteworthy events that can impact data interpretation or decision-making, such as website updates, product launches, marketing campaigns, or unusual traffic spikes.
  • Maintain an Annotation Calendar: Create an annotation calendar or log to keep track of when and why annotations were added. This ensures a comprehensive historical record.
  • Keep Annotations Updated: Regularly update or edit annotations to maintain accuracy and relevance as new information becomes available or as events evolve.

For additional information on how to add annotations in GA4, visit this instructional blog by Loves Data.

Making the Most of GA4’s Predictive Metrics

This section discusses the predictive metrics feature in GA4.

Understanding predictive metrics in GA4

Understanding predictive metrics in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) provides valuable insights into future user behaviour, helping businesses make data-driven decisions.

These metrics enable proactive decision-making, allowing organizations to optimize marketing campaigns, resource allocation, and user experiences.

By harnessing predictive insights, businesses can tailor their strategies to meet user expectations, improve engagement, and boost customer satisfaction. This knowledge empowers organizations to stay ahead of trends, outperform competitors, and create a competitive advantage in the dynamic digital landscape.

Overall, predictive metrics in GA4 are a key asset for driving growth, enhancing user experiences, and achieving sustainable, data-informed success.

How to set up predictive metrics

Setting up predictive metrics in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a valuable way to gain insights into future user behaviour.


  • Ensure Data Collection is Active: Confirm that your GA4 property is actively collecting data, as predictive metrics rely on historical data for accurate forecasts.
  • Configure Data Stream: Make sure your data stream is correctly set up for web, mobile apps, or other platforms you intend to use for predictive metric analysis.
  • Utilize GA4 Machine Learning Models: Explore the machine learning models in GA4, such as purchase probability or churn probability, and decide which is most relevant to your objectives.
  • Monitor Predictive Metrics: Keep a close eye on the predictive metrics and set up alerts or dashboards to track changes and anomalies.

Utilizing predictive metrics for forecasting and strategizing

Leveraging predictive metrics in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offers significant advantages for forecasting and strategizing.

These metrics provide businesses with the ability to anticipate user behaviour, enabling proactive decision-making. By understanding future trends and user preferences, organizations can allocate resources more efficiently, fine-tune marketing efforts, and enhance user experiences. This leads to improved ROI, as strategies are adapted in anticipation of user behaviour.

The power of predictive metrics empowers businesses to stay ahead of the competition, reduce churn, and create a data-driven, agile approach to decision-making, resulting in more effective and successful strategies.


As we wrap up, here are some key takeaways so you can begin leveraging GA4 more effectively in your business strategies:

  • GA4 includes a number of distinctive features that were not previously available with GA3 (UA) including enhanced event tracking and a user-centric model.
  • To take full advantage of the improved data collection capabilities of the GA4 platform, proper installation, optimal property configuration, and integration with other Google services (e.g. Google Ads, Google Tag Manager) are essential.
  • Learning how to set up event tracking, how to utilize audience-building features, and how to use advanced filtering and segmentation will allow you to make the most of the advanced tracking and reporting features available in GA4.
  • Other features such as annotations and predictive metrics will complement how your data can be tracked and utilized for strategic decision making.

If you’re looking to set up your Google Analytics 4 property today, you can download our free Google Analytics 4 Set Up Checklist here to get started.

If you’re looking for help with your Digital Marketing or tracking, send us a note, we are here to help.