[UA→GA4] 5 ways to improve your GA4 key event data

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Once you have set up your GA4 data collection for your websites and apps, you should take a few additional steps in order to get more accurate and useful data.

For basic setup, follow the steps in Make the switch to GA4

This article guides you through 5 different ways to get more useful GA4 data when you have a more advanced implementation.

1. Set up your GA4 property correctly

You can use the Google Analytics 4 Property Setup Assistant tool to create a new GA4 property that collects data alongside your existing UA property. Your UA property remains unchanged. You can access both properties using the property selector or Admin page.

2. Collect the right data.

Collect the data that is most relevant to your business goals. This makes it easier to find the insights you need. This includes setting up your data streams, events, and dimensions and metrics. Make sure you understand the new data model and how it differs from Universal Analytics.

  • You can set up key events to measure and analyze user actions that are most important to your business.
  • You can activate signals like cross-device reporting, cross device remarketing, and cross device key events export to Google Ads.
  • Linking to Search Console can help analyze and organize search results for your website in Analytics.

3. Use custom dimensions and metrics.

Custom dimensions and metrics enable you to report on information about your users and how they interact with your site or app. They're useful when the data you want to analyze isn't available through the predefined dimensions and metrics.

Some dimensions and metrics you could consider are:

  • User-scoped custom dimensions to analyze an attribute about users on your website or app.
  • Event-scoped custom dimensions to analyze an attribute about an event, such as the value of the event or whether the intended action was completed successfully.
  • Item-scoped custom dimensions to analyze an attribute about a product or service sold on your online store. For example, you can analyze the color, size, rating, or status of a product.
  • Custom metrics to analyze the data points from an event parameter. For example, you can analyze the value of a transaction from an event parameter.

4. Extend your data retention

You can define the amount of time before user-level and event-level data stored by Google Analytics is automatically deleted from Analytics servers.This can be done by setting a data retention period or by creating a data deletion request. The data retention period can be set to 14, 26, 38, or 50 months or to never expire. The data deletion request can delete all data in a field for the provided date range or only data matching a given key.

5. Remove unwanted referrals

Unwanted referrals can skew your data and make it difficult to track your conversions. Exclusions set in UA can affect conversions attributed to Google Ads. If these exclusions are not set up accordingly in GA4, the credit attributed to Google Ads can differ (for example, exclusions for payment providers like PayPal are often made in UA.) If referrers were excluded in UA but not in GA4, GA4 key events can be misattributed in GA4, resulting in fewer key events attributed to the Google Paid channel when compared to UA. Referral exclusions affect the amount of credit that is exported to Google Ads. Match referral exclusions settings between UA and GA4 to minimize incorrect attribution. Note that excluding referrals does not change the overall amount of key events in the Google Analytics property; it only affects how key events are attributed. Learn more about Referral exclusions in UA.

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