Google Analytics for Beginners: Getting Started with GA4

Google Analytics for Beginners: Getting Started with GA4


What Is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free web site analytics software that helps entrepreneurs higher perceive their website’s total efficiency.

Not like Google Search Console, which offers detailed information about how customers uncover web sites via Google natural (which means unpaid) search, Google Analytics offers with all site visitors sources. Together with natural search, paid search, social media, and extra. 

And past telling you the way your customers arriveon your website, it has information that tells you what they do after they arrive. That features which pages they view and what actions they take.

Google Analytics may also appear difficult and complicated at first. However it would not need to be. 

On this information, we’ll educate you the fundamentals of Google Analytics and assist you to set up it in your website.

Let’s begin with a quick historical past.

Common Analytics

Common Analytics (UA) is now not the present model of Google Analytics. However it’s the model that made Google Analytics well-known.

It grew to become widespread throughout the digital advertising world after the beta model was launched in 2012.

How widespread? The varied variations of Google Analytics have a better than 70% share of the net analytics software program market, in accordance with Statista.

Right here’s what the dashboard regarded like:

what the dashboard in Universal Analytics looked like
Google Analytics Home

However you received’t see it today.

That’s as a result of Common Analytics was set to cease processing new information in customary accounts on July 1, 2023. So entrepreneurs began adjusting to the brand new Google Analytics 4.

Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 (generally referred to as GA4) is the brand new customary for the Google Analytics platform. 

The platform was initially launched as a beta model in 2019. And referred to as the “App + Internet” property.

The dashboard in GA4 seems like this:

a dashboard in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

It doesn’t look all that completely different, does it? 

However there are some elementary variations between GA4 and UA. Particularly for many who have been accustomed to the prior model.

Variations Between GA4 and UA

Realizing these two variations between GA4 and UA will assist you to perceive immediately’s Google Analytics higher.

Distinction 1: Occasion-Primarily based Knowledge

Google Analytics measures consumer interactions on a web site. Every of these consumer interactions known as a “hit” and it turns into a part of the info you’ll be able to see in your Google Analytics reviews. 

GA4 collects all internet interplay information as “occasions.” In different phrases, all hits in GA4 are collected as occasions.

Common Analytics collected information via a number of hit sorts. You possibly can see this within the desk beneath, with the varied UA hit sorts on the left and the way they translate to GA4’s event-based information on the best.

a table showing how "hit type on Universal Analytics property" column translates to "measurement in Google Analytics 4 property"

The event-based information mannequin in GA4 means some metrics and reviews at the moment are completely different in Google Analytics. We’ll see this in better element after we evaluate Google Analytics fundamentals later on this information.

Be aware: Variations like this have been so disorienting for some entrepreneurs that they’re exploring Google Analytics alternatives. However Google Analytics remains to be an extremely helpful and highly effective software for many who discover ways to use it.

Distinction 2: A New Account Construction and New Knowledge Streams

Google Analytics 4 has a distinct account construction than UA and introduces the idea of a “information stream.”

Common Analytics had an account, a property, and a view. 

The account stage was sometimes linked with a company. The property stage was linked with a particular digital property, like a web site or an app. And the View stage was the place information was really seen. 

GA4 has an account and a property stage. However it doesn’t have any views.

The account stage works the identical because it did in UA. The property stage is completely different.

Bear in mind after we mentioned that GA4 was initially launched as one thing referred to as the “App + Internet” property?

That’s as a result of Google Analytics can now mix information from a web site and an app right into a single, unified image. Each the web site and the app can have their very own distinctive information streams that movement into an entire image of consumer conduct throughout the GA4 property.

We’ll see how you can arrange a knowledge stream after we get to the installation walkthrough below.

However first, let’s reply a essential query. What does Google Analytics really do?

What Is Google Analytics Used For?

Google Analytics helps reply vital questions on how your web site (or app) is performing. So you will discover methods to enhance.

Be aware: We’re focusing solely on GA4 for the remainder of this text. As a result of UA is now not supported.

Listed below are among the questions the platform can reply: 

  • Who was in your web site? You possibly can see what customers’ pursuits are, which languages they converse, which cities they’re from, and which international locations they’re from. 
an example of a map showing users by country ID in GA4

What occurred in your web site? You possibly can see what number of pages have been seen, what number of hyperlinks have been clicked, what number of movies have been performed, and way more. Google Analytics will present you the way typically these interactions happen.

a table in Google Analytics showing "event count," "total users" and "event count per user" metrics
  • When did completely different occasions occur? You possibly can shift your date vary to research related time frames. You may as well examine efficiency throughout time frames to see year-over-year or month-over-month tendencies.
search for data in Google Analytics for the last 12 months
  • The place did your guests come from? You possibly can see which sources contribute essentially the most (and least) site visitors to your website. Let’s have a look at the “Acquisition overview” report beneath. Look to the desk on the far proper and you may see that the overwhelming majority of site visitors comes from natural search (unpaid site visitors from search engines like google). Natural social and e-mail contribute a small share of site visitors.
in “Acquisition overview” report you can see which sources contribute the most traffic to your site

Professional tip: A company with a site visitors profile like this would possibly select to prioritize their keyword research to proceed strengthening their natural search efficiency.

As you reply these questions, you’ll be taught what works and what doesn’t. And you should utilize this to enhance your outcomes over time.

How Does Google Analytics Work?

Google Analytics works by gathering information out of your web site (or app) after which creating reviews so you’ll be able to analyze that information.

A small monitoring code must be put in on the location to allow information assortment.

Right here’s an instance of the Google Analytics monitoring code.

an example of the Google Analytics tracking code

When a consumer arrives on a website with this monitoring code put in, Google Analytics will place a cookie (a small file that collects details about the consumer) in that consumer’s internet browser. This customer exercise is what you in the end see in Google Analytics reviews.

How does this information get there? 

Let’s break it down into 4 steps shifting from left to proper. Like within the diagram beneath.

a digram illustrating how Google Analytics generates data
  • Step 1: A consumer lands on a web site with Google Analytics put in. The Google Analytics code sends a cookie to their internet browser
  • Step 2: Because the consumer interacts with the location, their actions at the moment are being tracked by Google Analytics
  • Step 3: The consumer’s interactions then get processed by the Google Analytics servers
  • Step 4: After processing, the info is out there for evaluate and evaluation in Google Analytics

Now, let’s arrange Google Analytics in your website.

The way to Arrange Google Analytics

Putting in Google Analytics is a two-part course of. 

The primary half is making a Google Analytics 4 property. Which generates your distinctive monitoring code. 

The second half is putting in that monitoring code in your web site.

We’ll begin this Google Analytics how-to by strolling via establishing your account.

Create a Google Analytics Account

First, sign in to Google Analytics together with your Google account.

In the event you’ve by no means used Google Analytics earlier than, you’ll see a display like this.

"Welcome to Google Analytics" page

Click on “Begin measuring” and proceed to Step 1 beneath.

You probably have used Google Analytics earlier than (with the e-mail handle you’ve used to log in), you received’t see this identical welcome display. If that’s your state of affairs, click on on the gear icon within the backside left of your display to entry the admin space.

Admin area in Google Analytics

Then click on “Create Account” and proceed to Step 1 beneath.

1. Arrange Your Account

First, give your account a reputation.

add your account in Google Analytics a name

You possibly can select no matter title you need. However it’s a good suggestion to make use of your small business’s title. So it’s straightforward to acknowledge.

You may as well select what data you wish to share with Google at this step. Akin to “Technical help” (who would possibly be capable to assist with a technical drawback sooner or later) and “Account specialists” (who would possibly contact you for gross sales functions sooner or later). 

Then, click on “Subsequent”.

2. Create Your GA4 Property

Now, give your property a reputation.

Be aware: Do not forget that the property stage is the place the info lives in Google Analytics. You probably have a number of web sites, you’ll be able to have a number of properties that exist in a single account.

As soon as once more, you’ll be able to select no matter title you need. It’s not a nasty concept to make use of your web site’s area title.

You’ll additionally choose your reporting time zone and your forex.

"Create a property" page in Google Analytics

After making your choices, click on “Subsequent.”

3. Present Your Enterprise Data

Now, select the trade class that looks as if the closest match utilizing the drop-down. If nothing matches, you’ll be able to select “Different Enterprise Exercise.”

And choose your small business measurement.

Then, click on “Subsequent.”

"Describe your business" page in Google Analytics

4. Choose Your Enterprise Goal and Settle for Phrases of Service

The choice you make right here determines what reviews might be pre-loaded in your Google Analytics property.

In the event you’re undecided, it’s fantastic to decide on “Get baseline reviews.” You possibly can at all times add further reviews sooner or later.

"Choose your business objectives" page in Google Analytics

Then, click on “Create.”

You’ll now want to just accept the Google Analytics phrases of service to maneuver ahead.

After reviewing, settle for the info processing phrases and click on “I Settle for.”

"Google Analytics Terms of Service Agreement" page

5. Arrange Your Knowledge Stream

You’re now prepared to start out gathering information and you may arrange your information stream. The information stream is what sends information into your Google Analytics property.

Select the kind of platform you’re engaged on.

choose the type of platform you are working on at "Start collecting data" page

Select “Internet” in the event you’re engaged on a web site. Now you can arrange your internet information stream and also you’ll see a piece that appears like this:

"Set up your web stream" page

There are three issues to do right here:

  1. Enter your web site URL 
  2. Give your information stream a reputation. You possibly can select any title you’d like. In case your area title is, you would possibly select Widget Corp Web site as your stream title.
  3. Make sure the blue toggle bar is turned on for “Enhanced measurement”—this lets you observe sure interactions like file downloads, exterior hyperlink clicks, and embedded video performs with out doing customized work

Now, it’s time to put in your monitoring code so your information stream will begin flowing information into GA4.

Set up Google Analytics

You’re now prepared to put in Google Analytics in your web site.

After your stream is configured in GA4, you’ll see a display with a “MEASUREMENT ID” discipline that’s distinctive to your property. And a “View tag directions” button.

“MEASUREMENT ID” field and “View tag instructions” button highlighted

When you click on the button, you’ll be given three set up choices:

  1. You possibly can set up the code manually in your web site
  2. You possibly can set up the code with a plugin or integration, if relevant
  3. You should utilize Google Tag Supervisor to put in the code

Professional tip: If you have already got Google Tag Supervisor working in your website, the third choice is probably going the best. You should utilize the set up directions on this Google Tag Manager information.

We’re going to go together with the guide choice.

The way to Set up GA4 Manually

To start out the set up, click on the “View tag directions” button out of your information stream.

Now, click on the linked header textual content to “Set up manually.” That is the monitoring code that can run GA4. 

Click on the “copy” icon to repeat it to your clipboard.

where to copy tracking code in the “Install manually” section

Now, go to your web site and paste the code excessive within the <head> part of the web page.

Pasting the code excessive within the <head> part will assist the tag hearth correctly and make sure you get essentially the most correct information.

Be aware: In the event you’re not snug modifying your web site code, ask a developer for assist. Additionally, some WordPress plugins will will let you modify your header with out instantly enhancing web site template information.

Congratulations—Google Analytics 4 is now working in your web site! 

Google Analytics Fundamentals

Knowledge is flowing into your Google Analytics property. 

However what information, precisely?

Google Analytics information exhibits details about guests and their interactions that happen in your web site.

Right here’s an outline of the principle information classes:

  • Customers
  • Views
  • Periods
  • Occasions
  • Conversions

Let’s see the way it all works.

Customers and Periods – Possibility B

A consumer is a singular particular person who visits your web site.

A single consumer might go to your web site a number of occasions. Every a type of visits is called a “session.”

The variety of customers ought to by no means be larger than the variety of periods. You possibly can see this within the information desk beneath.

a table showing Users and Sessions metrics in Google Analytics


A consumer is a person who visits your web site.

Google Analytics makes use of cookies to assist observe the variety of these distinctive people who go to your website. You possibly can see this within the information desk beneath.

a data table in Google Analytics with "users" column highlighted

However if you use Google Analytics, you might be doing greater than merely counting customers. You possibly can analyze the conduct of these customers. Akin to what particular pages they view.


Google Analytics information a view every time a consumer views a web page in your website.

If a consumer views a web page, leaves, after which comes again to that very same web page in a couple of minutes, that counts as two views.

Right here, you’ll be able to see a knowledge desk containing an inventory of high pages by views.

a data table in Google Analytics with "visits" column highlighted

Professional tip: You possibly can simply see this identical report in your individual GA4 property. Merely click on “Experiences” within the left-hand navigation, after which choose “Pages and screens” throughout the “Engagement” reporting space.


A session is one other title for a consumer’s go to to (not only a view of) your web site. A consumer can have a number of periods in your website. 

Throughout a session, a consumer can carry out a lot of actions. Like viewing a web page, downloading a file, enjoying a video, clicking a hyperlink, or finishing a kind.

Google Analytics associates every of those interactions with a singular session identifier. So you’ll be able to perceive which interactions befell throughout a session.

Google Analytics ends a session after the customer leaves the location or after half-hour of inactivity.

The partial information desk beneath exhibits a Google Analytics property that had 27,053 periods in the course of the specified time interval.

a data table in Google Analytics with "sessions" column highlighted

Be aware: The variety of periods ought to by no means be decrease than the variety of customers. That’s as a result of you’ll be able to’t have a go to (a “session”) and not using a customer (a “consumer”). 


Throughout a session, a consumer might work together together with your website in a lot of methods. They may obtain a file, play a video, scroll down the web page, click on a hyperlink, or full a kind. These interactions are generally known as occasions.

Google Analytics can file occasions like scrolls, session begins, clicks, and extra. Like on this picture:

a data table in Google Analytics with "event name" column highlighted

In the case of occasions, there are 4 fundamentals to grasp:

  1. All web site interactions are tracked as occasions. However there are completely different sorts of occasions, and so they’re handled otherwise.
  2. Google Analytics will observe some occasions by default. A few of these can’t be turned off. They’re referred to as “routinely collected occasions.” 
  3. So long as you saved the toggle for “Enhanced measurement” turned on in the course of the setup part, you might be additionally monitoring enhanced measurement occasions by default. You possibly can flip a few of these off at any time in the event that they aren’t a match to your measurement wants. Right here’s a hyperlink to Google’s resource if you wish to be taught extra proper now. 
  4. You may as well observe some occasions via your individual setup work. Google will present a really helpful title so that you can use for a few of these occasions. Google calls these “really helpful occasions.” Another occasions you create are referred to as “customized occasions.” Advisable occasions and customized occasions are comparable in that it’s essential to do all of the work to create them.

Be aware: Some customized occasions may be created throughout the Google Analytics interface, whereas different customized occasions require the assistance of Google Tag Supervisor. This can be a key good thing about utilizing Google Tag Supervisor with Google Analytics.


Conversions are an important actions that customers take in your web site.

In the event you run an ecommerce web site, your most vital conversion is probably going a purchase order. In the event you run a lead era web site, your most vital conversion is perhaps a contact kind submission.

However you first must establish which particular occasions ought to be counted as conversions you wish to observe. In GA4, the only strategy to create conversions is from occasions that exist already.

Meaning you’ll wish to do that sooner or later after your GA4 property has recorded particular occasions. You possibly can even create that occasion information your self by performing the specified motion in your website.

Let’s think about you wish to observe the file obtain occasion (referred to as file_download) as a conversion. This occasion might be tracked by default via enhanced measurement.

Right here’s what to do.

Click on “Admin” within the backside left of the Google Analytics interface.

“Admin” button in the bottom left of the Google Analytics interface

Throughout the property settings in the course of the display, click on on “Occasions”.

"Events" button highlighted in the property settings

Now, you’ll see an inventory of all occasions which were tracked in Google Analytics. 

Discover the file_download occasion. Use the toggle on the best facet of the display to “Mark as conversion.”

marking the file_download event as conversion

You’ve now created a conversion.

Be aware: You possibly can nonetheless get worth from Google Analytics in the event you don’t arrange conversions. Though it does assist with regards to evaluating your website content material and site visitors channels.

The way to Use Google Analytics

Now that you just perceive the fundamentals, you’re prepared to start out utilizing Google Analytics.

Let’s go over how you should utilize the platform to research metrics for vital pages and how you can refine your advertising technique based mostly on the outcomes.

Analyze Essential Pages with Google Analytics

GA4 makes it straightforward to see details about your best- and worst-performing content material.

Let’s use the “Pages and screens” report to do that.

Click on on “Experiences” within the left-hand navigation.

“Reports” button highlighted in the left-hand navigation

Now, broaden the “Engagement” reporting space and click on on “Pages and screens.”

where to find “Pages and screens" button shown in the menu

You’ll see an inventory of your most-viewed pages with the info sorted in descending order based mostly on complete views within the “Views” column.

a data table with the most-viewed pages and their metrics in Google Analytics

You may as well analyze these engagement metrics to grasp efficiency:

  • Views per consumer: The typical variety of occasions every consumer views the web page
  • Common engagement time: The typical size of time the web page was in focus within the internet browser
  • Conversions: The variety of conversions coming from every web page

Professional tip: Clicking on the arrow instantly to the left of a column headers in a report will type the info based mostly on that particular Google Analytics metric.

Now let’s see how you should utilize Google Analytics to research your site visitors and enhance total efficiency.

Refine Your Advertising and marketing Technique Primarily based on Efficiency

GA4 will present you which of them advertising channels are driving one of the best efficiency so you’ll be able to deal with what’s most vital and work to repair what isn’t working.

For this, let’s use the “Visitors acquisition.”

We’ll keep throughout the “Experiences” space.

“Reports” button highlighted on the left side menu

Broaden the “Acquisition” reporting space and click on on “Visitors acquisition.”

where to find “Traffic acquisition” button shown in the menu

You’ll see a breakdown of how your web site acquires site visitors. Primarily based on channels like natural search, direct (customers who got here on to your website), referral (customers who got here to your website from one other website), and so on.

a data table in Google Analytics showing a breakdown of how your website acquires traffic

You possibly can analyze these acquisition metrics to grasp channel efficiency and learn the way you would possibly refine your advertising technique.

Right here’s a method that would work.

You possibly can see that natural search is your most vital site visitors channel. It drives nearly all of site visitors and is chargeable for essentially the most conversions. Natural social, alternatively, drives little or no site visitors and hasn’t had a single conversion. 

Let’s say you determine that natural social might be a chance for progress. An ideal place to start out could be to take a look at which natural search touchdown pages are driving essentially the most site visitors and conversions. Maybe you could possibly create a social marketing campaign targeted on the content material on these high pages and create a collection of partaking posts that might assist drive site visitors to these pages.

Right here’s one other concept:

You possibly can see that paid search has a comparatively excessive variety of conversions however a decrease engagement fee than natural search. You would possibly hypothesize that the CTAs in your paid search advert copy are working properly. 

How may you leverage them in new methods?

You can use them as inspiration for in-page banners in your natural content material to drive extra conversions from pages that your readers are already partaking with.

Google Analytics Tutorials

You’ve already realized so much about Google Analytics. And there are further tutorials that can additional speed up your studying.

You can begin with these Google tutorials.

You’ll be capable to select your individual path based mostly in your particular wants. The “Analytics for learners and small companies” path has useful assets for many who are simply starting.

Click on “Get began” beneath that part.

Google tutorials page with “Analytics for beginners and small businesses” tutorial highlighted

From right here, you’ll be capable to select a particular coaching. 

In the event you’ve been following alongside, you’ve already arrange a property. 

Reviewing half two, “Discover your approach round Analytics,” is an effective wager.

“Find your way around Analytics” tutorial highlighted

Right here, you’ll discover ways to customise your reviews. Which is a useful subsequent step.

You possibly can even check your data with the certification observe in Google’s Skillshop. Simply seek for “Google Analytics certification” inside Skillshop to search out it.

However the certification is optionally available. And plenty of Google Analytics learners get extra long-term worth from the platform through the use of it repeatedly to research consumer conduct and site visitors efficiency.

You possibly can amplify your analytical insights by evaluating your efficiency together with your rivals.

Analyze Competitor Efficiency with Visitors Analytics

As you start to grasp your web site efficiency, you’ll doubtless wish to understand how your high rivals are performing. 

However your rivals aren’t providing to share their Google Analytics information with you, are they?

Traffic Analytics solves that problem by modeling competitor information based mostly on the precise consumer conduct of over 200 million actual however anonymized web customers. You get a transparent image of your high rivals’ internet site visitors so you’ll be able to see how your individual website efficiency compares.

Right here’s how you can use it.

Go to the Visitors Analytics software and enter the area title. The software will counsel further related rivals after you kind the primary two.

search for your competitors in Traffic Analytics tool

Click on “Analyze.”

You’ll see information on visits (equal to periods in Google Analytics), distinctive guests (customers), and pages / go to. You may as well see who’s trending up and who’s trending down.

Traffic Analytics provides information on your competitors’ visits, unique visitors (users), and pages / visit

And that’s simply the Overview part of the report. 

You possibly can dive deeper into viewers statistics and high pages to see what’s working for them. With it, you’ll be able to be taught from their high performers and refine your individual technique.

Able to check out Semrush supercharge your analytics insights? Start your free trial immediately.


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