How to Set Up Events and Conversions in Google Analytics 4
On July 1, 2023, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is replacing Universal Analytics(UA), the existing version of Google Analytics. Google is retiring Universal Analytics and it will stop processing data. After July 1, only Google Analytics 4 will collect and process data from your website or app. Google Analytics 4 should be set up now along with events and conversions.
Google Analytics 4 collects and tracks data differently from Universal Analytics. Google Analytics 4 should be set up to collect website data in parallel with Universal Analytics for an easy transition. In March, Google will start setting up a basic GA4 account in your Analytics account unless you opt out.
I covered How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 for Your Website in my previous blog post.
Once you have Google Analytics 4 set up in your Analytics Account and the global site tag added to your website, you will need to set up events and conversions in your GA4 account.
In this post, I discuss how to set up events and conversions directly using the GA4 User Interface. This method does not use the Google Tag Manager which makes it simpler.
What are Events and Conversions in GA4? How are they different from Universal Analytics?
An event allows you to measure an interaction that occurs on your website or app.
Examples of events include loading a page, clicking on a link or making a purchase.
Google Analytics 4 collects and tracks website and app data differently from Universal Analytics. GA4 is built for privacy and is driven by events.
Hits are Replaced by Events in GA4
In the existing version of Google Analytics, Universal Analytics (UA), all data collected from your website was session-based. Each session consisted of “hits” that were measured by a category, action and label. For example, pageview hits.
In contrast, Google Analytics 4 is totally event-driven. All “hits” and all actions are considered events which are measured by parameters. For example, page_view event with page URL as a parameter.
Goals are Replaced by Conversion Events in GA4
In Universal Analytics, you had to define goals that you wanted to consider as conversions. This included event goals, destination goals, duration goals and pages/screens per session. These goals will not transfer automatically to GA4 when you set up a GA4 account.
In Google Analytics 4, conversion events replace goals. Events that need to be considered as conversions must be specified as conversion events and are based on the event_name.
Types of Events in GA4
There are different types of Google Analytics 4 events that are collected.
1. Events that are automatically collected
- Automatically Collected Events that are collected when you set up Google Analytics 4 on your website or app.
These events include clicks and first visits on your website.
- Enhanced Measurement Events that are automatically measured when you enable enhanced measurement on GA4 once it is set up on your site.
You should make sure that the enhanced measurement setting is enabled once you set up Google Analytics 4 on your website or app.
To enable enhanced measurement,
Go to >Admin
Select the right GA4 property, then go to >Data Streams> Web
Turn on the enhanced measurement switch.
Make sure all events are enabled under enhanced measurement.
These events include page views, scrolls, outbound clicks, site search, video engagement, file downloads and form interactions.
2. Events that must be implemented to be collected in GA4
- Recommended Events are events that you have to set up but have predefined names and parameters. They use existing or future reports.
These include purchases, logins, sign ups, ad impressions as well as several e-commerce events such as add to cart, view cart, add payment info and more.
- Custom Events are events that you define based on your requirements. They should be set up only if none of the other types of events apply. Custom events will not show up in standard reports so you will need to set up custom reports and explorations to track them in google analytics 4.
How to Set Up Events and Conversions in Google Analytics 4 directly in the User interface (without Google Tag Manager)
Note that Universal Analytics (or Google Analytics 3) used goals to track conversions. These UA goals will not transfer to Google Analytics 4 when you set up a GA4 account. You will need to set up events and conversion events to track your conversions.
In Google Analytics 4, it is possible to set up events and conversions directly in the GA4 user interface. This method does not use Google Tag Manager.
Before setting up events and conversions, you must have Google Analytics 4 set up in your account and the GA4 code added to your website. For more information, read our post on What is Google Analytic 4? Plus How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 for Your Website
Once you have Google Analytics 4 set up in your account, you can follow these steps to create a Google Analytics 4 event and mark it as a conversion:
Step 1: Create an Event
1. log into your Google Analytics account
2. In the property column, make sure you select your Google Analytics 4 account.
3. Select Events in the GA4 property column
4. Click on Create Event
5. Under Custom Events, click Create
Step 2: Configure the Event
The next step is to configure your event.
In my example below, I configure an event for newsletter signups. I have used the newsletter confirmation page as one of the specific conditions for the event.
1. Enter the custom event name, in my example I enter newsletter_signup
2. Enter the matching conditions
- a) For the first condition, since this is a page_view event, I enter:
- b) For the second condition, I enter the specific page for the event:
3. Enter Parameter configuration
- a) If you want the same parameters as the original page_view event, just check the box to Copy parameters from the source event
- b) If you want to modify the parameters, enter the parameter values.
4. Click Create
Step 3: Test the Event to see if it works correctly
To test my newsletter_signup event, I visit my website and fill out and submit my newsletter signup form. I then confirm my subscription to get to the newsletter-confirmation page. This should fire the event for newsletter_signup.
1. To test if the event fired, I go to the Google Analytics 4 Realtime report and check to see if the event has been recorded.
2. I see the newsletter_signup event in the Realtime report and that confirms that the event is working correctly.
Step 4: Mark the event as a conversion
1. Go to Admin
2. In the GA4 property column, click on Conversions
3. Click on New conversion event
4. Under New event name, enter exactly the same name you used for your event. For my example, I enter newsletter_signup
5. Click Save
Note: In standard Google Analytics 4 accounts, only 30 conversion events can be set up per GA4 property.
Congratulations! Your new event and conversion are now set up in Google Analytics 4.
To view the conversion events in the conversion reports in Google Analytics 4,
Go to Reports > Lifecycle >Engagement > Conversions
The Conversions report will show the conversion event name along with the total number of conversions.
Google has announced that Universal Analytics will be retired on July 1, 2023, and will stop collecting data on that date. To continue collecting and tracking data from your website, Google Analytics 4 should be set up now to begin collecting data in parallel with Universal Analytics.
Unlike Universal Analytics that was based on hits, Google Analytics 4 is driven by events. All the goals that were used in Universal Analytics to flag conversions are replaced by conversion events in GA4.
After you install GA4 on your website, you should set up events and conversions to start tracking and collecting your website events and conversions.
We hope you found this article helpful in setting up GA4 events and conversions. Check back soon for more articles on GA4.
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