This article takes you through the first five items on our checklist of recommended configurations for GA4. Before getting started, it is important to ensure that you have admin access on your GA4 account – otherwise you will not be able to complete the following set-ups.
All screenshots on this guide have come from the GA4 demo accounts, which can be accessed here.
Setting up conversions Each time a user visits your site a page view event is recorded [page_view]; since all pages views are recorded, this measure in itself cannot count as a ‘conversion’, otherwise everyone visiting your site would be counted as such.
To counter this, you need to set up an event for specific page views that confirm a conversion has occurred – for example, when a user is directed to a ‘thank you for your purchase’ page. For the remainder of this guide, we will refer to this as your ‘confirmation page’.
First you will need to create an event for your confirmation page. To do this, navigate to the admin portal – and under the property tab, click events and then create event [see yellow highlights below].
When the platform prompts you to create a ‘custom event field’, then enter a name for the event, for example ‘lead_conversion’.
You will see two ‘matching conditions’; in the first one enter your first matching condition: this will be the event name (in this example ‘lead_conversion’) equals page_view.
In the second ‘matching condition’ you will want to make sure that the event is recording page views from the desired page. This will be page_location equals, and then include the URL to your ‘confirmation page’
If your parameters are the same as the source event then you will simply need to check the box that says ‘copy parameters from source event’. If not you will have to add modified parameters.
In this case, you will need to add two modification parameters; this is because you are using a recommended event, and therefore you will need to define each of the required parameters. You simply need to enter the value parameters, and then click create.
The second step is to mark your event as a conversion. Again navigate to the admin portal, and under the property tab first click conversions, then click new conversion event. In this section, add the name of your new event – in this example ‘lead_conversion’.
Activating Google signals Google signals are session data from sites associated with Google accounts that have turned on Ads Personalisation [learn how to turn this on in Part 2 of this series].
To activate, navigate to the admin portal – and under the properties tab click data settings.
Then under data collection, make sure that you enable ‘Google signals data collection’
This enables the Google signals data collection for all regions. If you are interested in only looking at specific regions, you can edit to exclude specific regions from the analysis.
Note that if you disable collection of Google signals data for certain areas [or as a whole] you will not have access to the following for the disabled areas:
Cross platform reporting Remarketing lists based on analytics data Advertising reporting features Demographics and interests Linking to search consoles To analyse elements of organic search related to your site, you will need to link to the search consoles. Through this integration, you will be able to see:
Where your site is ranked in search results Which queries lead to clicks How clicks translate to user behaviour Which landing pages engage users or drive the most conversions Navigate to the admin portal, scroll down to the bottom of the property column, and find the section called ‘product links’.
In the link table click ‘link’.
Select ‘choose accounts’ in the row for ‘link to search console properties I manage’ and then select the account you want to link to.
Once this is confirmed, you will be prompted to select the data stream from your website. After this has been selected, you can review and then submit your configuration settings.
Filtering out developer traffic You can filter out the traffic of internal developers using debug mode to troubleshoot issues from your report analyses, making it less likely that internal activity will skew your data.
To begin, you will need to create a data filter [note that you can only create 10 data filters per property]. On the admin portal, navigate to ‘data settings’ in the property column, and then click ‘data filters’. [see yellow highlight below].
Click create filter, and choose ‘developer traffic’. Choose a name for the filter that is inline with the following:
Unique among data filters in the same property Begin with a unicode letter Contains only unicode letters, numbers, underscores and spaces Contains no more than 40 characters Choose ‘exclude’ for the option ‘to filter out developer traffic’.
Choose your filter state:
Testing: Filter is evaluated, and matching data will be identified with the dimensions ‘test data filter name’, available in reporting. Active: Filter is evaluated and applied to incoming data. Matching data will be excluded from processing. Inactive: This filter will not be evaluated.
Once this is set up you will need to activate the data filter. Once this is activated, Google Analytics will filter out all the data collected from users engaging with your site while the debug mode is enabled – giving you the ability to test or troubleshoot on your website without skewing the reports.
As an addition, we would recommend that the client, and web developers IP addresses are filtered out for any internal activity that occurs on the website. Like the above, this will ensure that the activity generated by users at those IP addresses will not appear in the reports – again ensuring the data is not skewed. You can create up to 10 of these data filters per property.
Note that the role of editor is needed to complete the following steps.
Firstly you will need to be able to identify internal traffic; to do this, navigate to the admin portal and in the property column click ‘data streams’ [see yellow highlight below].
Click a web data stream, and in the web stream details click ‘configure tag settings’, and then ‘show all’. Click ‘define internal traffic’, and then ‘create’.
It will then prompt you to input a name and a traffic_type parameter for the tool. Where you see:
IP address > Match type, select an operator. IP address > Value, enter an address(es) to identify traffic from the location of the web stream you selected. Following this, click ‘add condition’ to set multiple conditions. Following these steps, any IP addresses that match the conditions set will be marked as internal traffic.
Once you have identified your internal traffic, you will need to create a filter. Follow the same steps that you used to filter out the developer traffic to filter out the internal traffic.
Filtering out bots Automated traffic that comes from ‘non-human’ sources – such as bots and spiders (often used for SEO purposes) – are automatically excluded from data. This means that your analytics data, for the most part, will not include data from any known bots. You cannot disable this feature on GA4, nor will you be able to see the volume of bot traffic on your site compared to human traffic.
…And just like that you’re part-way complete! Once you have completed the above steps, go back to the previous article and check off the relevant items on the list.
Congratulations! You are about a third of the way through configuring your GA4 properties. In the following article we will take you through the steps to configure all the properties in relation to Google Ads.