Google Analytics - GA4

Getting to grips with GA4

We’ve previously written about the switch to Google Analytics (GA)4 from the Universal Analytics (UA) platform, which was made exactly a month ago, and what it means for you, plus the differences between both.

It’s been quite a big change, so we’re covering this subject in two parts. Here, you’ll learn some tips for getting started on GA4; we also take a closer look at some features of the new system.

How can I assess site traffic in GA4?

If you’re keen to learn whether your marketing efforts have led to a growth in traffic to your site, you can look at either sessions or users. The latter is simply an individual who has been on your site, while sessions are the different times someone visited.

You can choose either, but be consistent and stick with your decision once you’ve made it.

How can I make sense of site traffic reports?

If you want to see site metrics in GA4, just open the Life cycle > Acquisition > Traffic acquisition report.

And if you’re wondering why figures for organic search users in GA4 and UA don’t match up, don’t worry – there are several valid reasons why these two numbers are not the same.

User engagement

User engagement figures allow you to understand the kinds of content that page users most like. ‘Bounce rate’ is an often misunderstood measurement anyway, so you won’t find it in GA4. Instead, there are user engagement metrics based on engaged sessions, including any user who has been on a page for 10 seconds or longer. (Although you can adjust this default time to up to 60 seconds).


You may not have previously considered this element. But if you’re unsure what an event is in this context, it’s a user’s interaction with your site – and it’s not something that necessarily has to align with your business objectives. For instance, clicks on outbound links and video plays may not make you money, but they’re still events conveying useful information about user behaviour.

Because GA4 is event-based, the platform gathers certain events automatically. You can also enable ‘enhanced events’, which we’d encourage you to do. These can be modified to create specific events. Indeed, all actions are now deemed ‘events’, and you can create up to 300 events per online property.

The Event Count tool replaces a similar one in GA4 which was called Total Events.


This is arguably the most vital report to understand, since it shows if your efforts in marketing are meeting your business goals. (In UA this was called Goals). Use this to measure things which actively contribute to your organisation’s success. Conversions includes aspects like whether someone has completed a form, interacted with a chatbot or downloaded a file.

You’ll need to tell GA4 which events you deem to be conversions. You can track as many as 30 conversions, and delete those you no longer need.

Active users

This is GA4’s ‘primary’ user metric, and it did not exist in UA. It provides a rapid, in-depth of the assessment of the quality of users’ visits and engagement level with your web content.

Create custom metrics

These narrow the focus of your Google Ads campaigns so that you target the right audience with the best message at the best time. Get down to the nitty-gritty of your users and what they are doing when they visit your website.  

In fact, you can customise any of the data produced in any of the reports. Plus you can create audience segments without having to save them.

Anomaly detection

This is where Google detects something it thought would happen on your website, but it didn’t. It means you can easily see if there is anything worth looking into.

Make the most of GA4

Staying in UA is no longer an option. So talk to your team (and us at Front Page) about GA4. Use Google Tag Manager as you migrate to GA4 to transfer some of your UA tags. And create events to track user interactions with your website which are aligned to your business goals.

Some features may still be missing – namely Google Search Console integration and site speed metrics – but you need to be diving in to GA4 nonetheless.

The good news is that your general analytics knowledge will be highly transferable, even if the terminology and tech are different.

As mentioned, talk to us at Front Page Advantage if you have any queries about GA4, whatever the size of your business and whatever your industry. We’ll be glad to help.