Tips to Understanding GA4 for the Small Biz Owner
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Tips to Understanding GA4 for the Small Biz Owner
Kate Gingold
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Tips to Understanding GA4 for the Small Biz Owner

If you opened up the new Google Analytics platform to see your business reports and were bewildered, you are not alone. Let’s try demystifying GA4 so you can use it.

While Google has warned people for years that GA4 was coming, the changes were so massive, that many marketing, sales, and other business folk were hesitant to switch. In July of 2023, however, the old Analytics platform stopped processing data, so you had no choice but to move if you wanted to know how your website was doing.

The amount of data Google collects and the ways it can be reported, compared, and manipulated is pretty astounding. Marketing data analysts in all departments are no doubt over the moon with the new platform. Most small businesses, however, do not have analysts, even though they would benefit from the data and want access to it.

It took more time than you’d expect, but finally, the average small biz owner has a fighting chance of figuring out how to make GA4 work for them. Setting up and reading reports in GA4 is very different from the previous Analytics version. Google refined some things since launching GA4 and experts started writing “how-tos” as they explored, so between them, navigating the new platform has become clearer.

But before we dive in, let’s review the most basic data small biz folks are looking for in their Google Analytics reports, data you are probably looking for, too.

  • How many users are coming to our site and is that number growing?

Obviously, more people coming to your website means more opportunities to engage and make sales, so you want to see a nice stream of new users. People also use the internet for research before making a “buy” decision, so measuring returning users is also useful. Comparing user growth month over month or comparing the same month in different years tracks improvement or decline and measures the success of marketing efforts.

  • What pages are users looking at when they arrive at our site and do they get engaged?

GA4 is all about engagement and measures a lot of user movement around your website rather than just the old “Bounce” report when someone clicks on one page and then leaves. On what page did the user start? Did they click on anything while on that page? Did they go on to other pages? Which ones? Also, knowing what kind of content users are spending time on tells you what content to create more of and what to let go.

  • Are they taking the customer journey as planned or do we need to tweak it?

When building your website, you planned a customer journey that would lead a user from awareness of you and your offering through the decision-making process until the final action. By studying your analytics reports, you can track users along that journey to see if they are, in fact, following it until the end. Learning where they got off track helps you fine-tune the process for greater success.

  • Are users answering our Call To Action?

A Call To Action (CTA) can mean making a purchase, but it can also mean signing up for a newsletter, or requesting a quote, or clicking to make a phone call. You may have several different CTAs for different reasons or from different marketing campaigns. GA4 lets you set up reports to track all of your CTA activity, both large and small, for your information and further analysis.

If you have been frustrated trying to figure out the new platform, we want to simplify things for you. Over the next few weeks, we’ll give a little tour of GA4 and provide some suggestions on how to use it for your own business. Sprocket moved all of our clients to GA4 months ago so there would be historical data for comparison, but if you haven’t moved yet and aren’t sure of the process, give us a call so you can get on board as well.

Photo by Marcus Aurelius

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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