How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 and What Data to Expect

Laura Caveney
13th September 2022

Google Analytics 4 is here to stay, so how do you set it all up and what should you expect from the new dashboard? 

Universal Analytics is due to be phased out by July 2023. 

If you haven’t already, there’s no better time to set yourself up with Google Analytics 4. 

Remember, it can’t access any historic data, so the sooner you do it, the more data you’ll have at your disposal. 

In this blog, we’re going to run through: 

So, let’s get started. 

How to set up Google Analytics 4 

If you haven’t already set up your Google Analytics 4 account, what are you waiting for? 

The sooner you do it, the better. 

Related: Why you need to set up Google Analytics 4 now 

And setting it up couldn’t be easier. 

So easy in fact, we’ve got it down to 3 easy steps. 

Step 1: Create your GA4 property 

To create your Google Analytics 4 account, head to the admin section of your current GA account. 

Click Create Property. 

You can also use the Google Analytics 4 Setup Assistant wizard if you want a walkthrough of the setup. 

Once you’ve clicked that, you’ll be taken to a new screen. 

Here, you’ll need to write in the name of your property. This can just be your business name. 

Choose your timezone and your currency and then click Next

You’ll then be asked a few questions including your industry and company size. 

You will also be asked why you’re using Google Analytics 4.

Select the options most appropriate for you and then click Create. 

Step 2: Create a web data stream

Now that your account is created, you next need to create a data stream. Unlike Universal Analytics, you can now send multiple measurement IDs into one Google Analytics account. 

You can create data streams for iOS, Android and web users. There is a limit of up to 50 data streams on your Google Analytics 4 property. 

When creating your data stream, you’ll see the below prompt. 

Be sure to enable enhanced measurement as this allows you to automatically track interactions like file downloads, outbound clicks and more. 

Step 3: Connect your Google Analytics account to your site 

If you used Google’s Setup Assistant wizard and you already have a Universal Analytics account, then this will do the hard work for you when it comes to implementing your new account. 

If not, then you may need to investigate how to properly connect your GA4 account to your site either via your CMS or Google Tag Manager. 

Learn more on how to set this up properly via Google

Quick housekeeping for GA4 before you start

Understandably, Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 are different. And chances are, it’s been some time since you set up your UA account… 

So, before you dive into the data, make sure that you sort these two housekeeping points out: 

  1. Data retention 
  2. Define internal traffic

Data retention 

Similarly to Universal Analytics, there is a data retention setting within your account where you can set how long GA retains data before deletion. 

We recommend pushing your data retention to 14 months, the maximum. 

You can do this easily. 

Head to Property, then Data Settings < Data Retention. 

Click Save and you’re done! 

Define your internal traffic

You probably set this up so long ago in your Universal Analytics account that you forgot it existed. 

But one important task to do before you start analysing your data is to exclude any internal traffic of people who regularly use the site but aren’t potential leads. 

Similar to the View < Filters in Universal Analytics, Google Analytics 4 has a similar setting. 

Head to Data Settings and then select Data Filters. 

By default, GA4 will automatically create a filter to exclude internal traffic. 

However, you will need to configure this a little. 

  1. Head to Data Streams, select your stream and then click Tagging Settings 
  2. Select Define internal traffic and click Create 
  3. In Configuration, enter a Rule name, e.g., Office and enter the IP address to be excluded 
  4. Select Save 

To apply this filter, navigate to Data Settings > Data Filters and then select the internal traffic filter that you just created. 

Here you’ll be able to change its state. 

There are three options: 

Once you’ve done these two tasks, you can start exploring GA4. 

Data you can find in Google Analytics 4 

Google Analytics 4 is a total change from Universal Analytics. 

The way data is collected and displayed is totally different. And while it might initially look relatively light in comparison, several enhancements available can provide a more detailed analysis. 

The Analysis Hub, available free in GA4, takes a deep dive into user behaviour, funnels and paths. 

Related: Key differences between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics

To better understand what data you have to play with, let’s look at some highlights: 

Let’s break these down into more detail. 

Answer specific queries in the search bar 

You will have previously used the search bar in Google Analytics to find commonly used reports. 

In Google Analytics 4, the search bar can be used a little differently. 

You can search direct queries like: 

Test it out with a few different queries and see what you can discover. 

Watch real-time reports  

Watch real-time reports in Google Analytics 4 to see events that happened in the last 30 minutes. 

You can: 

This is a useful report, which you can find as a default report in the left-hand navigation, to monitor real-time results – great for when you’re launching something new! 

View predictive insights based on AI 

Google Analytics is a fantastic marketing measurement tool. But measuring isn’t always enough. 

Looking back doesn’t always give you the insights you need to make data-driven decisions. 

GA4’s predictive analytics can help you make those decisions at scale. 

It offers AI metrics like: 

These will help you improve your marketing performance by optimising your paid campaigns and retargeting audiences. 

See suggested audiences 

When you first set up your Google Analytics 4 account, you’ll be asked questions about your business and industry. 

GA will use that information to create new audiences that could be a good fit for your business. To view this data head to Audiences, under the Library. You’ll see suggested audiences listed under Build a New Audience

Monitor life cycles 

Life cycle reporting is useful when it comes to understanding how users are acquired, engaged and retained. 

This report is meant to replicate the funnel you use for moving people through the buying process. 

It can help you answer questions like: 

You can also apply reports on life cycles to demographics, events and conversions. 

Create custom reports 

Creating a custom report in Google Analytics 4 is tricky at first since it’s so different to Universal Analytics. 

Using Analysis reports, you can create your own set of data and easily drag and drop metrics that matter to you. 

There are quite a few different aspects of the Analysis report that you need to consider: 

These are all the settings you need to look into when it comes to compiling your analysis. 

Getting started with Google Analytics 4 

Google Analytics 4 offers a great deal of flexibility and insights for marketers looking to better measure their outputs. 

Getting started with it couldn’t be easier. 

Remember, you can feed even more data through your GA reports with the right integrations. Whether you’re looking to connect your CRM, your other marketing tools, or want more data-driven insights only available with an attribution tool, you can take your marketing measurement to the next level. 

Find out more about why you should connect attribution to Google Analytics. And remember, for more insights into GA and reporting, you can sign up for our newsletter. 

We share key insights for marketers to help them: