How to Set up GA4: 5 Easy Steps

Do you want to set up Google Analytics 4 (GA4) on your website but don’t know where to start? In this guide, we break down 5 steps to start setting up this powerful analytics tool!

how to set up ga4

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a powerful web analytics tool that delivers valuable data used to create insights and make decisions. In July 2023, Google Analytics 4 replaced Google’s Universal Analytics to give website developers a more comprehensive look at how people use their websites by giving them access to a wider scope of data to work with.

For those who want to take full advantage of everything this platform has to offer, this guide on how to set up Google Analytics 4 will teach you everything you need to know about getting started and connecting your website to the tool.

Step-by-step guide to set up GA4

Let’s break down everything you need to do to set up GA4 on your website:

1. Creating an account and property

Head to the Google Analytics website and click Create an account to create an account. If you already have an account, then log in. In the center column and select the Create Property button. This will lead you to the property creation page.

Name your property when the prompt tells you to. Name it something short and self-explanatory, like [Your company/website’s name] GA4, for example. Ensure you have input the relevant reporting time zone and country as well as the currency you work with.

When you click Next, you must answer some questions before moving forward. One of the questions will ask you about your business objectives. There are three choices that will affect the type of reports you receive in your interface after setup. The choices are Raise Brand Awareness, Examine User Behavior and Get Baseline Reports. The simplest option is Get Baseline Reports for reports with more general data. Then click Create.

2. Setting Up Data Streams

how to set up ga4

Under the ADMIN section, click on the Data Streams option. Input your website’s URL. HTTPS is the default protocol already selected, so you can include your URL without that part. When setting up your data streams on GA4, you can disable or enable Enhanced Measurement. This feature was made to help marketers get as much information and document as many events as possible without needing to work with developers or Google Tag Manager.

Enhanced Measurement is enabled by default and tracks these events:

  • Scrolls
  • Page views
  • Site searches
  • Form events like submissions
  • File downloads
  • Outbound link clicks
  • Video views and engagement

You can enable and disable these events as you see fit, depending on your needs and what you what included in your reports. Just click the toggle buttons in the Enhanced Measurement section to do this.

3. Install Google Analytics 4

You can install Google Analytics 4 in one of three ways:

The first way is to use it using a Google Analytics plugin. This is a good idea for people using popular content management systems like WordPress, Shopify or Squarespace. You need to make sure your chosen plugin supports your content management system. Some of these will require a Measurement ID. You can find your ID by going to the Admin panel in Google Analytics, then go to Data Streams and select your set-up web data stream. Your ID is in the top right corner and starts with G-.

The second method is to install GA4 using the native tracking code. If you work with a website with no native GA4 integration or cannot support GA4 plugins, you can ask the developer to install native GA4 tracking code into the site’s source code. In the Data Stream menu in the GA4  admin panel, you can click View tag instructions and select the View tag instructions button. Select Install Manually to copy the code that needs to be placed in the source code.

ga4 setup instructions

The third installation option is to use Google Tag Manager (GTM). This method gives you more flexibility and power when managing tracking codes. You need to install GTM on your website before you can start using it. Select your data stream and copy your Measurement ID. Place your ID into the Google Tag Manager field, which you can find under the Tags menu, selecting New and then choosing Google Tag. In the Tag ID text field, input or paste your ID. Then, find your new Google tag in the tags menu.

4. Use the DebugView

When using the first or second method to install GA4, you need to test it. After installation, go to your GA 4 account and choose the DebugView option in your Admin tab. You will see something displayed here in debug mode. You need to enable this. You can also install the Google Analytics Debugger as a Chrome plugin from the Chrome store for free. If you installed GA4 using the third method, then DebugView data will automatically be visible.

ga4 debug view

Click on everything you see in the DebugView to see a list of parameters. Click on each individual parameter will help you find ways of removing the bugs.

5. Get Access to the Real-Time Reports Function

On the left-hand sidebar on your UI click on the Realtime option. This will give you a list of data being used in your reports. GA4 gives you the chance to see this data on a more detailed, granular level.

ga4 real time report setup

You will be presented with a map and a list of cards containing traffic sources, the most common events and the number of users on your site from the last 30 minutes. You can also take snapshots of individual users using the view user snapshot button. You will be able to see a list of all the events this user has taken and click on them to see more information.

Revolutionize Your Website With Grade My Website

Google Analytics 4 is a great tool to set up on your website so you can start tracking valuable data and make changes that matter. Learning how to action the insights you gain from your data is another important task. That’s where Grade My Website comes in. We are experts in all things related to digital marketing and our web analytics services can help your website flourish.

Contact us to learn more about what we can offer you and how we can help you make your website go above and beyond your wildest expectations.

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