6 causes your GA4 experiences aren’t including up


Sentiment for Google Analytics 4 has not been overwhelmingly optimistic:

To say the least:

Joe Sinkwitz GA4 Comment

However Common Analytics (UA) isn’t coming back, so it’s time to determine tips on how to make GA4 work as nicely for you as potential. 

This text will stroll via a few of the frequent points shoppers and entrepreneurs have run into concerning GA4 reporting and how one can deal with every.

1. Metric and calculation modifications in UA vs. GA4

A basic space of confusion for Google Analytics customers transitioning from UA to GA4 is that GA4 makes use of totally different metrics and calculations than UA.

Adam Proehl does a superb job strolling via these differences in UA and GA4 metrics in his Search Engine Land article.

Google has additionally printed a breakdown here

Simply the terminology round customers, featured at the start of that Google documentation, is an space the place folks get confused as they’re making an attempt to recreate their previous UA experiences in GA4:

UA vs GA4 terminology on users

As Proehl summarized, the high-level distinction right here is:

“UA was primarily based on classes and pageviews. GA4 relies on occasions and parameters. Each strategies can acquire and tally information, however the output in a report will look totally different.”

Familiarizing your self with the variations in how issues are calculated and what totally different terminology means and measures is a vital first step to making sure you aren’t confused by your GA4 experiences.

2. Totally different filters and UI

In case you’ve logged into Common Analytics and GA4, you’ll see main modifications to the interface (which, like many facets of GA4, not everyone loves). 

Moreover, there are a number of other ways to filter information that can deviate from interface to interface.

I’ll use a particular instance to display how one can get tripped up right here. 

To rapidly get at total natural visitors in Common Analytics, you might go to Viewers > Overview, then phase for natural visitors:

UA - organic traffic overview

In GA4, attending to an identical fast view of a top-line natural visitors pattern might look one thing like this:

GA4 - organic traffic overview

However it is a totally different metric (first consumer medium) and a unique filter (comprises natural – which works for this property however might not for a web site with natural social visitors, and so on.)

Among the views or experiences you have been used to in UA might solely be accessible as “Explorations,” a reporting suite inside GA4 that features:

  • Funnel explorations.
  • Path explorations. 
  • “Free kind” experiences (a alternative for “customized experiences” in UA).

This can be your ticket to recreating a few of the views and experiences you have been accustomed to in UA (or no less than a detailed approximation).

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3. Information thresholding in GA4

Data threshholding in GA4

GA4 information might appear to be utterly lacking or dramatically under-reported in sure views for sure actions (guests, particular occasions, and so on.) when a consumer drills right down to a particular stage.

This can be a frequent level of confusion, notably for small to medium-sized websites granular ranges of information.

In response to Google:

“In case your report or exploration is lacking information, it might be as a result of Google Analytics has utilized an information threshold. Information thresholds are utilized to stop anybody viewing a report or exploration from inferring the id of particular person customers primarily based on demographics, pursuits, or different indicators current within the information.”

If you wish to keep away from thresholding, listed here are your choices:

  • Disable Google Alerts: There are professionals and cons to utilizing Signals, however an enormous con is that it allows this type of thresholding. The primary professionals are:
    • It’ll begin populating demographic information in GA4.
    • It enables you to reuse Google Analytics audiences as retargeting audiences in Google Advertisements (thus, you may present extra focused adverts to them).
  • Swap to device-only reporting.
  • Export information to BigQuery. 

4. Information sampling in GA4

Whereas it isn’t new or distinctive to GA4, information sampling is one other issue often complicated customers. In contrast to UA, customary experiences in GA4 truly received’t be sampled – which is nice information!

Word that customary experiences are these within the Stories tab.

Nevertheless, experiences that dwell throughout the Discover or Promoting sections of GA4 could also be sampled.

Data sampling in GA4

This may increasingly result in discrepancies in:

  • Normal experiences – the place you might even see bigger numbers in GA4 than UA.
  • Superior experiences – the place sampling is utilized in GA4. 

The answer for avoiding sampling is to drill right down to a extra particular time-frame (basically the alternative of thresholding) or improve to Google’s paid Analytics 360 product and leverage options.

Sampling and thresholding might be utilized throughout the similar experiences. 

5. API limitations for GA4 

There are additionally modifications in how the Google Analytics API can course of information with the appearance of GA4. 

This is applicable to third-party reporting instruments and Google’s personal Looker Studio.

Some key limitations to the data you’ll have accessible in Looker Studio embrace:

  • Solely a sure variety of rows can be found through the API.
  • Not all dimensions can be found but, so sure metrics (like exits) might not be accessible in Looker Studio experiences.
  • Calculations are barely totally different in Looker Studio than GA4, relying on the setup of every account. Looker Studio typically has points with information skewed by a number of filters, as an illustration.
  • For brand spanking new customers, guests are counted as “new” at midnight, even with the identical shopper ID, which typically causes discrepancies.

API quotas are current for any reporting device, so in case your information is in a third-party device and the GA4 interface isn’t syncing up, this can be the rationale.

To assist deal with these points, there are a couple of potential workarounds:

  • Adjusting your experiences so that you just’re much less prone to hit quota limits.
  • Exporting to BigQuery first (which does have its own limitations), then connecting BigQuery to Looker Studio.
  • Utilizing a third-party device that automates the export/import timing to handle quota limits.

Being conscious of Looker Studio’s particular limitations and tips on how to recreate experiences round these is an efficient place to begin for avoiding confusion and frustration surrounding these experiences.

6. Occasions, targets and historic information

This one is probably going a bit extra apparent. Nonetheless, relying on how they have been initially arrange and whether or not you migrated your UA account or events to GA4, it’s possible you’ll or might not have occasions populating in your present experiences.

In case your occasions weren’t migrated over, you’ll need to create new events and goals within GA4 (mainly if these have been “laborious coded” through UA). 

Equally, whereas some UA accounts are still recording data, Google is sunsetting UA, and ultimately, you may be lacking information there. 

You received’t have GA4 information earlier than it’s put in in your web site. All this will likely not happen instantly while you drill into a particular situation in a report.

And if you have to have a look at UA and GA4 information aspect by aspect, return to the beginning of the article and be mindful the variations in metrics and calculations.

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and never essentially Search Engine Land. Workers authors are listed here.

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