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Introduction to GA4 Events

by | Last updated Feb 7, 2024 | Published on May 17, 2023 | Search Engine Marketing

Google Analytics – used by 28 million websites around the globe – is getting a major update with the July 1 transition from what’s been known as Universal Analytics to GA4.

Google announced GA4 in October 2020, and the tech giant has been consistently blasting the message of big changes coming ever since. Now, the current Analytics log-in page has a doomsday-style countdown clock as a warning that the time is nearly nigh.

What does this mean for business owners? Potentially a lot. Because at the end of June 2023, Google Universal Analytics will no longer update data for your site. It’s all shifting to GA4. And your old Universal data will not transfer over to GA4, so any history you have will be lost. 

GA4 is Very Different from Universal

If you’ve used Analytics in the past, GA4 will look a lot different to you. The big update also delivers new measurement capabilities. There’s quite a bit changing, so for this video, we focus on what Google calls “events” – and why they will matter to your business.


Google Analytics 4 Events

In Universal Analytics, data is – or as of July 1, was – tracked based on pageviews and sessions. That will shift to tracking based on events.

While we may think of an event as a thing we attend, such as seeing Aerosmith on their final tour, Google events refer to an action being taken on your website.

Google Analytics events measure specific user interactions on your site, such as clicking a button, hitting the “click to call” button on mobile, initiating an email from the site, or downloading a document.

GA4 has four categories of events:

  •  Automatically collected events
  • Enhanced measured events
  • Recommended events
  • Custom events

The last type, custom events, can collect data specific to your business that Analytics doesn’t automatically collect. For example, you may want to track every time someone visits a page that features the text, “thank you.” Per their name, these would be custom designed and set up by you or your web team. 

Automatic events in GA4 include:   

  • When someone clicks from one page of your site to another using a hyperlink or Call to Action button
  • The first time someone visits your site
  • When someone visits a form on your site AND when they interact with the form, such as a download
  • The first time a user scrolls down 90% on a site page
  •  When a visitor start a video on your site; or when they view 10, 25, 50, 75% of that video; and when they complete a video

Enhanced measurement events are only captured if you enable them in GA4, such as whenever someone performs a search within your site.

Recommended events help you measure additional features and behaviors and they generate more useful reports. Recommended events can capture e-commerce-related actions on your site or group-related actions, such as when someone does something within a subscription environment.

Within GA4, you can also select whether events will be captured as conversions as well. Where once events and conversions were separate measurements, now events are the main measurement and certain ones can be designated as conversions. 

If this is already sounding a little complicated, Google does offer a set-up assistant to help the transition from Universal Analytics to GA4. 

Savoir Faire is readying our site and the clients’ sites we manage. If you have questions about the change to GA4, please give us a call or send an email.

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