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PPC Marketer’s Ultimate Guide To Google Analytics 4

When I first encountered Google Analytics 4, I must admit that I had a similar reaction to many of you. It seemed overwhelming and complicated, causing me to quickly close it with a resounding “Nope!”

However, as time passed, we received news that Universal Analytics would be phased out by 2023. This realization compelled me to give GA4 another chance and delve into its features and capabilities, especially as it relates to my interests in the PPC (pay-per-click) agency industry, alongside insights from PPC Beast.

Transitioning to GA4 is akin to switching from Windows to Mac for a PPC agency. It requires a shift in perspective and a deeper understanding of the platform. Once you become familiar with the interface and grasp its nuances, you’ll begin to uncover its true potential and appreciate the insights it can provide. Like any new system, becoming proficient and confident in navigating GA4 takes time and effort.



The Discontinuation of Universal Analytics is Quickly Approaching

I completely understand your concern about the necessity of installing GA4. Taking action now and installing GA4 on your website is essential for online marketing purposes. You must set goals and track necessary actions on your site to ensure optimal performance.

Even if you are planning on using GA4 in July 2023, it is highly recommended that you install it now. This will help you to get a head start on learning how to use it effectively, especially if you are working with a PPC agency like PPC Beast.

Once UA is phased out in July 2023, it will be necessary to have GA4 installed if you want to compare data from year to year. Failure to install GA4 this year will make it challenging to gather historical data, hindering your ability to make informed decisions.

If you’re running both UA and GA4 simultaneously, you’ll need to export and merge reports from both platforms, which can be tedious and time-consuming. Although this process can be simplified using Data Studio, it’s still best to avoid this hassle and get GA4 installed on your website as soon as possible. Hiring a digital marketing PPC agency can help install and configure GA4, saving you time and effort.

GA4 introduces an event-based model, replacing the session-based model utilized by UA. This transition enables a significant increase in data collection capabilities for your analytics.

Compared to UA, GA4 can send a much larger volume of data. Specifically, the GA4 tag allows the transmission of up to 25 event parameters, whereas UA was limited to just four per event.

Additionally, GA4 supports up to 500 distinct named events without including default events such as page_view, click, or video_start. It’s important to note that the 500 event limit only applies to events you manually set up within GA4.

While I won’t delve into the specifics of installing GA4 since there are already numerous resources available, there is one crucial step you should take: enabling Enhanced Measurement.

To activate Enhanced Measurement for pay-per-click, navigate to the Admin section, followed by the Data Streams of the relevant property you are working on. Then, select the Web tab and ensure that the slider for Enhanced Measurement is turned on.

You can access various measurement options by clicking on the gear icon on the far right, such as capturing Scrolls and Outbound click.



To Set up Conversions in GA4

If you’re looking to track conversions for your online marketing business, there are a few ways to do it. If you’ve already set goals in Universal Analytics, Google provides a convenient tool for seamlessly migrating your conversions to GA4. Suppose you don’t have access to this tool. In that case, an alternative solution is to utilize Google Tag Manager (GTM) to create a Custom HTML tag that will effectively transmit your conversion data- just like a PPC agency would do- to the data layer.

It’s also important to note that some plugins and third-party services might already have this functionality built-in, so it’s worth checking if that is the case for you.

Once you have created your events or conversions for digital marketing, you can easily locate them in the Configure section of the main menu. It’s suggested to check here first when creating a conversion, as what you want to track may already exist in this section. If you find the event you want to track, click the slider to activate it, and consult with a Google Ads specialist if needed.



Some New Concepts Differentiate it From Universal Analytics

One of the key distinctions in GA4 is between user engagement and session engagement. User engagement statistics can span multiple sessions, whereas session engagement focuses on data within each session.

GA4 places a strong emphasis on engagement. A notable change you’ll notice is the absence of the bounce rate metric. Instead, it has been replaced with “Engaged Sessions.” In GA4, sessions are categorized as either engaged or not engaged.

To be considered as an engaged session, the user needs to fulfill at least one of the following criteria:

  • Stay on the website for over 10 seconds.
  • Trigger a conversion.
  • Have two or more page views.

GA4 also introduces a new metric called “Average Engagement Time per Session.” This measures the average amount of time users are engaged within each session.

It’s noteworthy that GA4 may have only some features and metrics available in Universal Analytics. You can use the Explore tab to create custom reports in such cases, including pay-per-click. These reports function similarly to Data Studio or the Analysis Hub in Universal Analytics.



Some Changes in the Google Ads

When using GA4, you may notice changes in the Google Ads integration and the overall menu structure. Let’s go through these points:

The menu on the left side in GA4 is more compact than the previous version. There are fewer submenus, and you may find that some features you were accustomed to are either missing or not as easily accessible.

It’s important to note that not all sections in GA4 provide the option to change the time period for viewing data. For example, if you are using a custom report from the library, you won’t be able to modify the period directly within that report.

To work around this limitation, you can navigate to another section, such as the Report main menu. From there, you can adjust the time as needed. After making the desired changes, you can return to your custom report to reflect the updated period.

In terms of paid search, you may find that the explicit “Google Ads” section is missing in GA4. However, you can still access Google Ads data by going to the Acquisition Overview submenu under Report > Acquisition. Look for the third box on the bottom-right of the second row to find the Google Ads Manager information.

With GA4, there is a limitation in the reporting functionality that may cause some inconvenience. Let’s break it down:

In the current version of GA4, you need help navigating through reports with tables that allow you to click and drill down to view more detailed information.

For instance, in the Google Ads report mentioned before, you cannot click on campaigns to see ad groups; you’d have to switch to the ad groups section. However, when viewing ad groups, there is no way to filter them by the campaign.

Similarly, when selecting any other dimension, the only filtering option available is a basic search box at the top of the table. No regex filter or visual filtering options are present, unlike Universal Analytics.

This limitation applies to all table reports, and you will notice a blue “plus” sign next to each table that lets you add dimensions like browser or city.

Unfortunately, this feature is not available in the Google Ads report. To find it, navigate to Report > Acquisition > User Acquisition and refer to the table on the second row of the report. Here, you can access the ad groups dimension to use the secondary dimension dropdown.



The Capabilities of Advanced Reporting in GA4 are Quite Constrained

The default setup of GA4 provides a quick overview of information, primarily targeting novice users. However, some previously accessible and user-friendly detailed reports are no longer readily available in GA4, requiring a more advanced understanding of the platform to access and use effectively. Custom reports built under the Explore menu in GA4 offer significant power and insights if properly configured. While the current gallery of pre-made reports is somewhat limited in GA4, it is expected that as GA4 matures, there will be an expansion of custom reports and resources detailing how to create specific PPC agency reports.

PPC Beast can certainly help in configuring and interpreting GA4 custom reports to get the insights that you need.



Why Settle for Less? Choose PPC Beast, Your Local PPC Agency

Contact PPC Beast, the top online marketing and digital marketing PPC (Pay-Per-Click) agency today. We are here to assist you in starting your pay-per-click journey. At PPC Beast, we are a dedicated PPC agency with a team of Google Ads specialists. Our main goal is to help you achieve your objectives and grow your business through effective online marketing strategies. We utilize tools like Google Ads Manager to create successful client campaigns. By collaborating with us, we can work together to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into a thriving reality.

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