How to ensure accurate reporting on GA4

July 12, 2023 Mark Irving

Universal Analytics (UA) is still processing data for many clients for the time being, but with Google not giving any clarity on how long that will be for, it’s best that everyone ensures they have an accurate GA4 set-up. UA could be turned off at any minute so businesses must ensure that they’re no longer relying on it.  

Most clients have made great strides forward over recent weeks and months to have this new analytics platform providing the data they need to better understand their customers and drive change within their businesses.  

This is a great time for businesses of all sizes, ages, and across all markets to take stock of which metrics are most important, and what information they need to make the decisions that will deliver the forecasts that they have. Here is a list of what to check is setup correctly on GA4 to ensure accurate reporting as you start to use GA4:  

Topline metrics must be reporting accurately 

Compare your GA4 sessions, transactions and revenue against UA and your platform figures. Whilst there are differences between how data is collected for UA and GA4 you should expect to be able to get a close match between the two (upwards of 95%). If you have a large discrepancy, it will need further investigation.  

Understand channel reporting differences in GA4  

GA4 reports by ‘First User Default Channel Grouping’ (indicating the channel which initially acquired the user) and Session Default Channel Grouping (understand what led to a conversion event in a session). Businesses should understand the differences and know which will give you the answer to the specific question that you’re posing.  

The attribution model selected, and lookback windows will impact these reports and GA4 offers more control than UA. 

Set up checkout funnels  

Review how customers are progressing through to purchasing with you and how this differs between different dimensions e.g., traffic source, device category, location. 

Product reporting  

While often not a daily consideration in web analytics you need to ensure you can review things at a product, sub-category and category level. Ensure the names, product codes and price paid are all reporting correctly.  

Ensure your custom setup has been copied over  

If you had custom setups on UA such as any data filtering, promotional code reporting, or additional product/category data (such as item size / material), you will have to manually check it has been copied over to GA4. Referral exclusions should also be reviewed (check out more2's Head of Search, Jose De Carvalho's guide on how to check this and why it's important

GA4 will take some getting used to but the new analytics will give your brand access to more accurate data and help you acquire and retain customers. If you have any questions related to GA4, please get in touch. 

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