February GA4 & Google Updates

Napkyn's Monthly Update on all things GA4 - The things you need to know.

Get Started with Advertising

Use the Advertising section in your Google Analytics 4 property to get more insight into your most important user journeys. The reports in this section help you better understand the ROI of your media spend across all channels, make informed decisions about budget allocation, and evaluate attribution models.

However, you will no longer be able to use the Advertising Reports (including Model Comparison report & Conversion Paths) through GA4 UI UNLESS you link a Google Marketing Platform product to the advertising section.

Primary Channel Group

We have added the Primary Channel Group, a new, editable channel group that will be the default reporting channel for all channel reports. Channels are rule-based definitions of your website's traffic sources that let you monitor the performance of all of the channels sending traffic to your website. The Primary Channel Group allows you to control your default reporting channel, creating a record of custom channel changes over time for historical reporting purposes, while still maintaining all custom channel groups which reflect the most current definition across all historical data.

The initial criteria for the Primary Channel Group is the same as the Default Channel Group, and so all your historical data in the Primary Channel Group will match that of the Default Channel group until you change the criteria for the Primary Channel Group. You will be able to then set the Primary Channel Group criteria to any of your existing Custom Channel Group configurations, at any time, and from that point forward the Primary Channel Group’s data will respect the criteria of that Custom Channel Group.

You will continue to have access to the default, and all custom channel groups via the primary dimension picker, custom reporting, and explorations.

GUA features being deprecated in March:


Advertising Section Updates

To simplify reporting in Google Analytics, Google is updating the Advertising section, bringing all relevant reporting for advertisers and publishers together in one place. With this update, you can now use the following sections for either behavioral or performance reporting:

  • The Reports section provides insights into how users engage with your websites and apps so you can improve your product and user experience;
  • The Advertising section will become the hub to monitor and analyze your campaigns whether you’re a publisher or an advertiser.

Additionally, the Explore section, Custom Reports, and the Data API will provide behavioral insights as well as anonymized and aggregated insights from Ads Campaigns.

The following changes started to roll out on Feb, 22nd:

  • Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform and publisher reports and features will be located in the Advertising section;
  • Access to the Advertising section will require a link to at least one:
    • Google Ads
    • AdSense
    • AdMob
    • Google Ad Manager or
    • Google Marketing Platform account;
  • The Publisher ads report will move to the Advertising section.

With these updates, you will be able to access more tailored experiences across behavioral insights and advertising or publisher insights. If you currently run ads campaigns or monetize your properties with ads, make sure your ads accounts are linked to continue getting these actionable insights.

Finally, if no account is linked, you will see a page that prompts you to link to an ads or publisher account.


SPA Pages Tracking

One of the pain points with Google Analytics 4 (through Google Tag Manager) is how to run it on a SPA website so that all tags can make use of updated page_location and page_referrer fields.

The solution is the “update” configuration field that you can set “true” in a Google Tag that fires for the route changes.

This field merges the updated settings into the existing Google Tag configuration for the measurement id. It also automatically suppresses the default, config-based page_view event.

More info & documentation.


Manual Traffic source dimensions and report

Google added user-scoped, session-scoped, and event-scoped variations of 8 new platform-agnostic traffic source dimensions.

These new dimensions apply consistently across paid and organic traffic and across Google media and third-party media, enhancing your ability to analyze user behavior and performance in cross-channel reporting, explorations, segments, and audiences.

  • Manual source
  • Manual medium
  • Manual source/medium
  • Manual campaign name
  • Manual campaign ID
  • Manual term
  • Manual content
  • Manual source platform

These new dimensions are populated based on the UTM parameter values passed in click URLs for websites and the following new UTM values passed in the campaign_details event for mobile apps:

  • FirebaseAnalytics.Param.CAMPAIGN_ID

  • FirebaseAnalytics.Param.SOURCE_PLATFORM

The session-scoped dimensions are also available in a new Manual report, which you can access by clicking View Manual campaigns in the Acquisition overview report in the Life cycle collection.


Search Ads 360 and Display & Video 360 linking for sub-properties and roll-up properties

Google added the ability to link your subproperties and roll-up properties with Search Ads 360 and Display & Video 360. Linking functions exactly as it does for ordinary properties. Once linked, Google Analytics will send the same data in the same way as for ordinary properties.

With this capability, clients can now share a subset of data from a subproperty, or a superset of cross-property data from roll-up, with Search Ads 360 or Display & Video 360 for advertising to subsets or supersets of your audience.

Want to know how to link Google Analytics with those tool? Check here for Search Ads 360 and Display & Video 360.


Length of event parameter values

For Analytics 360 properties, we've increased the limit on the length of event parameter values collected through the Google Analytics for Firebase SDK for mobile apps from 100 characters to 500 characters → https://goo.gle/49aLIJB


Trend Change Detection

Trend change detection is a new type of insight that surfaces subtle but long-lasting and important changes in the direction of your data. It's similar to anomaly detection in that they both detect a change in data. The main difference is that anomaly detection highlights sudden spikes or dips in data, while trend change detection highlights more subtle changes over a longer period of time.

Google Analytics displays these changes in an Insight card in the Insights & recommendations section of the Home page, in Reports snapshot and Advertising snapshot, and in the Insights hub.


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