Life After The Switch To GA4

Aug 31, 2023

Life After The Switch To GA4

Now, just over one month into the Google Analytics 4 (GA4) era, it’s apparent that the world is still spinning. While Google’s new analytics dashboard is taking some getting used to, we have found that by and large, the stats that marketers have come to rely on to gauge web and media performance are still readily available. Inevitably, however, there are a few items causing more confusion than others.

We asked our in-house GA4 savant, and Director of Operational Improvement, Robert Drews for the top three GA4 changes causing the greatest challenge for our clients since the switchover. Here are his picks:

Bounce Rate - Bounce rate was one of the prominent metrics displayed on the Audience Overview page of GA4’s predecessor Universal Analytics. Defined as “The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page…” The metric has been replaced with the more positive spin of Engagement Rate, which is the percentage of engaged sessions. The rate is actually just the inverse of Bounce Rate, you can calculate it easily by using 100% – Engagement Rate = Bounce Rate. So an engagement rate of 65% equates to a 35% bounce rate. (100 - 65 = 35).  Engagement takes a front seat in the new GA4 reporting as the focus shifts from sessions to events. Engagements are defined as, sessions that lasted longer than 10 seconds, or had a conversion event, or had 2 or more screen or page views.

Scheduled Reporting Emails - Truly one of the big misses in this new analytics rollout is the inability to schedule reports to your inbox directly from GA4. While it’s still possible to send reports to any user from the platform, the ability to automate monthly, weekly or other interval reports are still missing. There’s hope that automated reports will someday be added, but currently users must go in and send the report directly.

Fortunately the big brains at Placewise have developed a way to automate reporting using Google Looker Studio for those that absolutely need it. Please reach out to your Performance Manager for more information on this set up.

Audience and Behavior Overviews - As two of the main screens in Universal Analytics that clients had come to rely on, the absence of these primary menu items has caused some of the most confusion. If you find yourself in this camp, read on.

For similar metrics found in Audience Overview, we recommend visiting Reports → Acquisitions → Traffic Acquisition. Here many of the same metrics are already displayed. If you’d like to add others simply click Edit in the top right corner, then under metrics search for the fields you would like to add to the report.

Behavior Overview which made it easy to see the top pages on your site can most closely be found under Reports → Engagement → Pages and Screens. Follow the steps above to customize this report to include any metrics you’re missing for your reporting exercise.

Change can be hard but we’re hopeful that new reporting methods, metrics and capabilities will improve business for shopping centers. When it comes to Google services, we take the good with the bad, adapt and overcome. We’ll be back soon with more tips and tricks for getting the most out of GA4. In the meantime feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns and be sure to follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date on the latest in digital technology for shopping  destinations and more.

Download the pdf here:
Life After The Switch To GA4