Google Analytics 4 is a brand new property released by Google that will take over from Universal Analytics later this year. This most recent version of Google Analytics will offer far more advanced features compared to Universal Analytics and capabilities to allow users to track and analyse their website data. One of the most exciting features of GA4 is the more advanced reporting interface which will allow the user's a far more comprehensive view of the data being pulled into a Google Analytics account.
GA4 offers a wide range of reports for users to gain insight into their website analytics. Data reports are important in all capacities when it comes to business, and Google Analytics is no different. The reports in Google Analytics help users to optimise their website performance, digital experiences and marketing strategy based on the key metrics that Google Analytics provides in its reports.
Understanding GA4 Reports
There are many different reports available to a user in their Google Analytics account.
The home report of Google Analytics gives a user a high-level overview of the website performance associated with the Google Analytics account. The home report is essentially the main dashboard found within Google Analytics 4 and includes metrics like:
User Acquisition data (The number of users who have visited the website and how this traffic has arrived at your website)
Engagement data (Highlighting data like the average session duration, bounce rate, average pages per session etc)
E-commerce data (Metrics like revenue, transactions, average order value, product performance and checkout behaviour)
Retention data (Data like the percentage of returning users)
Events (Data on user events like button clicks, form submissions, etc)
This data that is seen on the home dashboard can be adjusted to fit the metrics that are the priority for your business or website.
Types of GA4 Reports
User Acquisition Report
The user acquisition report in GA4 allows you to understand how new users who arrive at your website have found your website for the first time. This traffic acquisition report only collects data from users who have never visited your website before, as the purpose of the report is to provide insight into how new users reach your website and in return, this will allow you to identify where you need to focus your marketing efforts.
This report (also known as the pages and screens report) provides insight into what pages and screens users are visiting when they use your website. This report by default can be found in the life cycle reports section of GA4. If you have editor access to the GA4 account you can also add this report to your library in GA4 for easy access in the future. These user reports help to identify what pages users of your website spend the most of their time on and if these users are missing any valuable pages that you believe should be part of the user journey and whether or not you need to drive more traffic to the pages of your website that perform poorly.
In order to populate this report you will need to have configured some e-commerce events within the GA4 account. It is important to note that if you miss any of the required parameters for data being pulled into the report then the event will be treated as a custom event and will not be included in the report. Overall the report shows you the data of products and services that you sell on your online store. This is beneficial as the report can help you to identify what product and product categories generate the most revenue, which of the products you sell have the lowest number of views and what are the most popular products that users add to their cart.
The retention report is a great tool to help you identify after their first visit, how frequently and the duration of time that users interact with your website. The graph that can be found in the report is known as the user retention by cohort graph and this provides insight into how well a group of users (users are grouped by criteria, for example, the time of day that the user was acquired) is retained by the website. These life cycle reports can help you to identify how well your website resonates with users and encourages repeat visitors and then potentially repeat sales.
The pre-defined report in GA4 allows you to identify when your events have been registered as conversions on your website. Before using the report you will need to verify that Analytics is tracking your events as conversions properly and to do this you will need to trigger an event on your website and track it in the real-time report view. The conversions report will allow you to view what conversion actions are the most common among your website users and how much revenue is actually associated with these actions. You can then make data-driven decisions based on the report to identify what your most profitable conversion action is and whether any adjustments can be made to your website to improve the conversion performance.
Tips for Utilising GA4 Reports
Understanding your website goals and KPIs
Being able to understand your website goals and KPIs within your business can help you to provide clarity on what you want to achieve through your website. You can use the GA4 reports helping you make data-driven decisions on changes to make.
Creating custom reports to track specific metrics
Whilst GA4 offers a range of built-in reports as mentioned above that help to explain the data going on within your website. However, these can fall short based on what your website goals and KPIs are, so being able to create custom reports is ideal when you're trying to track specific metrics.
Setting up automated reports and alerts
Being able to set up automated reports and alerts within GA4 can help you to save time and give highly valuable insights without needing manual data analysis.
Using filters to get more accurate data
Filters in GA4 allow you to focus your attention on very specific subsets of data. This can help you save time when combing through lots of data and trying to find the data that is specific to what you need.
Reports in GA4 are so valuable when it comes to website optimisations and the tracking of data. Utilising the features GA4 provides in its reporting interface can be a game changer when it comes to making data-driven decisions surrounding your website and marketing campaigns.
GA4's reporting interface will shape how we use Google Analytics reports in a marketing capacity.
Universal Analytics will still be reporting data until the end of June 2023. Now is the ideal time to switch over to GA4 to mitigate the risk of losing your website data.