Google Analytics is an online tool business can use to monitor user interaction across web domains, mobile apps, and offline APIs. Analytics enables businesses to track web traffic, monitor virtual marketing channels, and measure their main KPIs.

Google Analytics 4 boasts new features that make it vastly different from the previous version. Chief among these is the new data modeling feature, which uses artificial intelligence to fill in gaps in data where cookie-consent rules may block traditional Analytics, blocked JavaScript, and privacy concerns.

The new default user interface in Google Analytics differs from previous versions of Analytics. Below are some of the most significant changes worth noting.

What’s New in Google Analytics 4? 

New Google Analytics, announced a year back, is more accurate than its predecessor because it uses machine learning to fill in data for website traffic and user behavior. The new Analytics doesn’t rely on having “hits” come from every page.

Google Analytics 4 was released in 2019 and is built on the same platform as the “App + Web” version of Analytics. This version of Analytics helps marketers better understand how users interact across apps, software, and a website.

One of its primary goals is to shift data presentation from focusing on visitors to one focused on the user experience from the first visit to conversion. Google Analytics 4 is all about “events.” Events are the primary way data is presented in Google Analytics 4.

To fill in gaps where businesses cannot understand their complete customer base, Google Analytics 4 has created a new machine-learning processing solution. Due to new privacy protection laws, the traditional Universal Analytics set-up is no longer a viable option for businesses. Alternate solutions like Google Analytics 4 have emerged to ensure data accuracy.

How is Google Analytics 4 different from Universal Analytics? 

The most significant difference between the older Universal Analytics and the newer Google Analytics 4 platform is their respective user interfaces. Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 use different measurement models. Universal Analytics uses sessions and page views, while GA4 uses hits, events, and transactions.

Businesses cannot expect to view old reports and many features they’d grown accustomed to in Google Analytics 4. The Universal Analytics account hierarchy (account > property > view) has been streamlined to just account and property.

Google Analytics 4 uses an event-triggered model of measurement. It captures any interaction as an event. As a result, all Universal Analytics hits translate to events in GA4.

In Universal Analytics,  an event has a category, action, and label. In Google Analytics 4, every hit is an event, and events can contain additional parameters.

For example, the page_view event in GA4 contains three parameters: page_location (the current page URL), page_referrer (the previous page URL), page_title.

One more difference between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 is that the accessible version of Universal Analytics limits the number of hits to 10 million per month. At the same time, Google Analytics 4 does not have a limit.

The final difference I’ll cover is the free connection to BigQuery. BigQuery enables users to remove sampling and analyze data directly from Google Analytics, something that’s impossible when querying the data inside of GA.

Setting Up Google Analytics for your Website

Google has announced that Google Analytics 4 will be the company’s only GA platform option; as a result, it’s essential to set it up correctly.

Method 1 – How to Add GA4 Tracking Code to Website without Using Google Tag Manager

Creating an account is important if you do not have one. To set up a new account, Google will create Universal Analytics as your property by default. However, it allows you to create Google Analytics 4, explained below in easy-to-follow steps.

Step 1: To access a Google Analytics account, log in to your Google account and go to https://analytics.google.com/analytics/.

Step 2: Go to the Start Measuring button and click it

Step 3: Provide the name of your company or organization. Click “Next.”

Step 4: Create a Google Analytics property name by entering the property name in the box and selecting “Reporting Time Zone” and “Currency”.

Step 5: Click on “Show Advanced Options” to create universal and GA4 analytics properties.

Step 6: Switch the toggle on the right-hand top corner from off to on. Later, you need to enter your website URL and choose from the radio button given below. It explains whether to create an account in GA4 and Universal Analytics Property or only Universal Analytics. Then click next.

Step 7: Provide information “About Your Business” by choosing which category most closely describes your business, your business size, and how you plan on using Google Analytics with your business. 

After selecting all the appropriate options. Click “Create” to create GA4 and Universal Analytics Property under a new Google Analytics account.

Step 8: Before continuing, please click the checkboxes. It is to accept the Data Processing Terms as required by the General Data Protection Regulation and the Measurement Controller–Controller Data Protection Terms of the data. Click “I Accept.”

Step 9: After accepting the terms, you will appear on the Web Stream Details screen. You can find the Measurement ID in the top right corner of this screen.

GA4 and the Google Universal Analytics property have been successfully set up.

Adding and Activating GA4 Tracking Code to a Website 

There are two ways to add GA4 tracking code to a website without using Google Tag Manager.

First, Connect the Measurement ID to the existing UA Property in Universal Analytics.

To associate the GA4 Measurement ID to your UA Tracking Code, you need to connect the GA4 Measurement ID under Universal Analytics Property in the tracking code under “Tracking Info” in the property column in the Google Analytics admin section.

Step 1 : Click “Admin”, located on the screen’s left bottom corner.

Step 2 : In the top left corner of the screen, click “Data Streams” and select “Web.” Under the “Data Stream” header, click the arrow (>) and select “Web Stream Details”.

Step 3 : You will find a GA4 Measurement ID on the top right. Copy this ID.

Step 4 : Go to your existing Universal Analytics Property, then click Admin.>Tracking info >>Tracking code.

Step 5 : Click the “Connected Site Tags” option located below 

Step 6 : You can paste the Measurement ID you copied in Step 3 to create a new site tag. 

Once you click “Connect”, your GA4 property is linked to your Universal Analytics property.

How to Copy and Paste the GA4 tracking code script in the backend  

Step 1 : Click “Admin”, located on the screen’s left bottom corner.

Step 2 : In the top left corner of the screen, click “Data Streams” and select “Web.” Under the “Data Stream” header, click the arrow (>) and select “Web Stream Details”.

Step 3 : On the “Web Stream Details” screen, under the “Tagging Instructions” tab, you will see an option entitled “Add New On-Page Tag.” Click this to see the “Global Site Tag (gtag.js)”.

Step 4 : Include this code in the <head> of every web page you want to measure.

Method 2 – How to add Google Analytics 4 using Google tag Manager 

You should install Google Tag Manager as the first step.

To ensure that you have installed Google Tag Manager correctly, click on GTM’s Preview mode on your website to check the plugin’s setup.

If you see the Preview and Debug console load successfully in your browser, then you can begin to configure the tags.

Step 1: To set up your Google Analytics Tag, you’ll need to get the Tracking ID from Google Analytics for your website.

In the Google Analytics interface, click the Admin section below the main navigation menu.

Step 2: Within the Admin tab, navigate to Property → Tracking Info → Tracking Code.

The Google Analytics Tracking Code will deploy on all of your website’s pages so that Google Analytics can function correctly.

We will not be using the Global Site Tag. Because we are installing analytics ourselves, we will not be using Google Analytics’ Global Site Tag code.

We’ll deploy everything via Google Tag Manager, which means that we need to copy the tracking ID instead of the code.

Step 3 : Once you copy the Tracking ID, return to Google Tag Manager.

To track the Tag, you will need to set up a new Tag on Google Tag Manager. Within your Google Tag Manager account, you can use the Tracking ID to create a new Tag.

Step 4 : Open Google Analytics: Universal Analytics as the new Tag type.

Google Tag Manager provides pre-built templates for different types of tracking, so we don’t have to manually implement any tags ourselves. We choose the one that suits our needs most closely.

Step 5 : Once a template is chosen, the system provides fields to be filled out. The first field is Track Type. The type of interaction to be sent is indicated.

In our scenario, we’ll want to deploy Pageview tracking on all pages.

Step 6 : Next, we will set the Google Analytics tracking variable.

Create a new Google Analytics Settings Variable for this Tag.

Here, we will need our Tracking ID. If there is no Tracking ID available, we will add a new variable.

Once you select a new variable you must add the Tracking ID that we copied before and see that other fields are not touched.

Step 7 : Once Tracking ID is given we need to name the variable. This helps you to easily access various variables created if you have more than one account.

Once every detail is given click save.

After the variable is set up next is to add the trigger to deploy the tag

Step 8 : Trigger plays a vital role in defining when you want to deploy the tag. We have a choice to choose to deploy the tag on all pages or for a few pages.

We shall choose the pre-defined trigger All Pages.

So for a Page view tag, we configured an All Pages trigger. This helps us to track how many times our users viewed our pages on the website.

After configuring give the tag name and click Save.

Once everything is created and saved it’s a good way to test the implementations to see if everything works correctly.

Step 9 : In the Google Tag Manager account you have a Preview mode. Select that to get a better preview output.

Just refresh Google Tag Manager and our website for the Tag to get uploaded.

Once refreshed the website will display the tag in the Tag Manager console.

If the complete installation is done in the right way, then Pageview-All Pages Tag will fire and display on our website.

Conclusion

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