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Google Analytics 4: A Comprehensive Guide for Writers

Writers' Guide to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
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    As a writer, you know how important it is to create engaging content that resonates with your audience. But how do you know if your content is actually reaching the right people and having the desired impact? That’s where Google Analytics 4 (GA4) comes in.

    GA4 is the latest version of Google’s web analytics platform that offers a variety of insights and data to help you understand your content’s performance.

    In this guide, you’ll discover the newest features that GA4 provides and how you can use them to enhance your writing skills and drive engagement on your website.

    Additionally, you can access to a real account to try everything by yourself. This GA4 demo account enables you to access all GA4 features and has a deep understanding of how to use them.

    What’s Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

    Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google Analytics.It was launched in October 2020, and it’s designed to provide whoever uses it with a comprehensive understanding of user behavior and a convincing grasp of knowledge of what is known as customer journey. The previous version was “Universla Analytics (UA).

    GA 4 crosses over with Artificial intelligence- powered insights to help whoever uses it gain more knowledge and improve digital marketing efforts. It can track user behavior across multiple platforms such as websites, mobile apps, etc., in other words, and it’s not limited to a specific source.

    Unlike the old Universal Analytics version, GA4 shifts from session-based to event-based measurements, using machine learning to provide more detailed insights into user behavior.

    Previously, Pageviews tell you how many people have visited a website or app. But they don’t show what people do while they are there. Tracking individual events (in the new GA4) tells you more about what users do when they visit, like which pages they looked at and how long they stayed.

    Why Writers Should Use Google Analytics 4

    If you do have a blog, hopefully, you are already using it to track the performance of your website.

    Google Analytics is free, easy to set up (at least in its basic form), and incredibly powerful and customizable to meet your needs as a professional writer.

    Before we dive deep into the main features that you can use in the platform, here is a quick look at what you can expect from using it as a writer:

    -Understand which topics and articles are resonating with readers.
    -Identify which traffic sources are driving the most traffic and engagement.
    -Track user behavior and engagement on both the website and app.
    -Optimize content based on audience insights and preferences.
    -Analyze the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and promotional efforts.
    -Gain insights into reader demographics and interests.

    Google Analytics 4 Homepage Screen
    Google Analytics 4 Homepage

    Google Analytics for Content Marketers

    With GA4, content marketers can now track their campaigns more accurately and identify key areas of improvement.
    Here are a few ways that can help you as content marketers:

    1) Use Traffic Acquisition to know where your visitors are coming from

    Traffic acquisition refers to the process of getting visitors to your website from various sources, such as search engines, social media, email campaigns, and more.

    However, you need to know where your visitors are coming from. So this is exactly what Google has developed for you.

    GA comes with a very exciting feature: the acquisition report, which provides valuable insights into how users are finding and interacting with your website or app.

    This report provides a comprehensive overview of your website or app’s traffic sources, including organic search, direct traffic, social media, paid advertising, and more. You can use this information to identify which channels are driving the most traffic and engagement and to optimize your content and marketing campaigns accordingly.

    In other words, it tells you how people are getting to your blog, which channels are working well, and which channels need improvement.

    For example, if you notice that a significant portion of your traffic is coming from social media, you might want to focus more on promoting your content on those platforms and engaging with your audience there. On the other hand, if you’re not getting much traffic from search engines, you might need to work on your SEO strategy to improve your visibility in search results.

    The acquisition report in GA4 also provides insights into user behavior and engagement on your website or app. You can see metrics such as bounce rate, session duration, and pages per session, which can help identify areas where users are getting stuck or losing interest.

    You can use this information to optimize your website or app’s user experience and improve engagement.

    Acquisition and Default Channel Groupings

    GA 4 attributes acquisition data to Default Channel Groupings, just like Universal Analytics did. However, the Default Channel Groupings have changed a bit, mostly for the better.

    Default channel groupings are pre-defined categories that Google uses to classify your website or app’s traffic sources. The default channel groupings in GA4 include organic search, direct traffic, referral traffic, social media, paid advertising, email marketing, and more.

    By using these default channel groupings, you can quickly and easily see where your traffic is coming from and how it’s performing.

    Ga4 Traffic Acquisition
    GA4 Traffic Acquisition

    The most common default channels you’ll probably see driving traffic to your site are:

    1. Organic Search – when users access your site by using a search engine like Google or Bing and click on a non-paid link that leads to your site.
    2. Organic Social – when users access your site by clicking a link to your site from a non-paid post on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other popular social channels.
    3. Referral – when users access your site by clicking on a link to your site from another website not identified as a social media channel or search engine (note: some sites don’t pass referral data, so these links will end up listed as Direct traffic).
    4. Email – when users access your site by clicking on a properly tagged link to your site from an email they received (note: if you don’t properly tag your emails with UTM parameters that call out the email as the source, then your email links will be attributed to Direct traffic).
    5. Paid Search – when users access your site by clicking on a paid listing in a search engine (once again, provided it’s tagged properly).
    6. Direct – this is a catch-all bucket when Google Analytics can’t tell exactly where the traffic is coming from; most people think of this as traffic that types in your URL directly into the browser, but this is only a small percentage of your Direct traffic.

    There are a handful of other default channels, such as display advertising, paid social, affiliates, and more.
    As the name suggests, these are all set up by default, so there is nothing you need to do to configure these.

    2) Use the Engagement Rate to evaluate the performance of each piece of content

    For years, website owners and bloggers have been obsessed with bounce rates. Well, not anymore!  A better metric to track is engagement rate. This looks at the pages that visitors viewed after they landed on your site, as well as how long they stayed there. 

    So, instead of simply looking at the percentage of people who leave your site after viewing a single page, you can get a better understanding of how much content your visitors are actually

    By tracking engagement rates, you can get an idea of how effective each piece of content is in driving readers to explore other pages on your site. You can also use this metric to compare the performance of different pieces of content and determine which ones are performing better than others. This helps you focus your efforts more effectively. 

    Engagement rate can be a useful metric for understanding the quality of your website or app’s user experience. A high engagement rate suggests that users are finding your content interesting and engaging, while a low engagement rate may indicate that users are having trouble finding what they’re looking for or are not interested in your content.

    You can find the ‘Engagement’ section on GA4 in the ‘Reports’ section.

    Engagement Overview Ga4
    Engagement overview GA4

    A session happens when someone visits your website or opens your app. According to Google, this session ends after 30 minutes of not doing anything. A person has an “engaged session” if they do something like

    • Performs a conversion event. (buy something or register in a form, etc.)
    • Stays on a page for more than 10 seconds.
    • Views multiple pages.

    If a user opens a page or screen on your app and stays for less than 5 seconds before closing it, it will be considered a session, but not an engaged session.

    By tracking and analyzing the number of engaged sessions, you can get a better idea of how people are using your website or app. You can also use this metric to compare the performance of different pages on your site.

    When users come across your content, they want to feel like they are investing their time in something valuable. If your content doesn’t offer anything that’s worth their time, they are less likely to engage with it.

    Also, the complexity of your content, lack of personalization, and poor visualizations can also affect their engagement. The above reasons are just some of the reasons that lower your engagement rate, but all the other reasons stem from two main reasons:

    1. Your site has a poor user experience that makes it difficult to engage with the content.
    2. Your content is low quality or doesn’t meet their expectations.

    You can use your engagement rate on GA4 across different channels and different pages to see which areas you need to improve on your website.

    3) Track Conversions: Measure the success of your website/app

    Channels And Conversion Events In Ga4
    Channels and conversion events in GA4

    Every website has a purpose. And this isn’t meant to be philosophical wisdom. It means that you have specific actions you want your users to take when they get to your site/blog.

    One way to do this is by using the UTMs, which are codes that help identify campaigns, sources and mediums for your website’s traffic. They provide a way to track the effectiveness of different marketing efforts, and can be used to understand how well certain campaigns perform. This is especially helpful if you’re running ads on social media or other platforms like Google Ads.

    Another way is by using Google Search Console directly, and/or through Website’s Perfromance Looker Studio Template.

    Finally, you can use tracking conversions, i.e., how many of your visitors are taking the desired action.
    Conversion tracking tools like GA enable you to gain insight into who’s converting on your site and what content/pages perform best. 

    Monitoring the conversions and then optimizing your efforts to increase your number of conversions is one of the most important things you can do as a content writer/content marketer/copywriter. Without conversions, your blogs just seem kind of pointless.

    Google Analytics 4 doesn’t have goals like its predecessor.

    But, it does have “events” which are similar and can be tracked to measure behavior. Site owners have the option of activating Enhanced Measurement the first time they connect GA4 to their website. 

    Enhanced Measurement In Ga4
    Enhanced measurement in GA4

    Enhanced Measurement Events can automatically obtain necessary events for your reports. These events include things like page views, scroll tracking, outbound link clicks, site search, file downloads and video engagement. 

    Conversion Events In Ga4
    Conversion Events in GA4

    Furthermore, you can set up custom events to measure more specific activities like when someone signs up for your newsletter, reached a thank-you page, or pretty much anything else you want to track as a conversion. But this will require more collaboration with your developer or agency.

    Final Thoughts

    As you can see, working with GA4 is a game-changer for all marketers and content writers, and website owners overall. It provides deeper insights into user behavior, allows for more personalized marketing, and comes with advanced AI-powered features that make it easier to understand your data.

    If you’re serious about growing your business and staying ahead of the competition, then you need to start using GA4 today.
    Give it a try and play around with this Demo account to understand all the features better.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

    It’s the latest version of the Google Analytics platform that is designed to help businesses and marketers gain a deeper understanding of their customer’s behavior and preferences. It lets them measure traffic and engagement on both websites and apps.

    Why is it called GA4?

    It’s called Google Analytics 4 because it is the fourth version of the tool, after Universal Analytics (GA3), Classic Analytics (GA2) and Urchin (GA1). 

    Is Google Analytics 4 (GA4) the same as Universal Analytics (UA)?

    Google Analytics 4 is centered around an event-based model. Universal Analytics (also, known as Google Analytics 3) stands on a session-based data model. As we mentioned in the beginning, GA4 is not an upgrade to Universal Analytics. But it’s more of a new product that works on event-driven-based models.

    What access level do I need as a writer to view Google Analytics?

    As a writer, you only need “viewer” level access to view Google Analytics. This level of access allows you to see all the data in the account but doesn’t allow you to make any changes to the settings or data.

    Is Google Analytics available on mobile?

    Yes, Google Analytics is available both on mobile (iOS and Android) and on the web. The mobile version has a streamlined interface designed for on-the-go access, while the web version provides more advanced reporting and analysis capabilities. Both versions offer a range of features to help track and analyze your website or app’s performance.

    Where can I learn more about GA4?

    There are many resources available online to help you learn more about GA 4. You can find helpful articles, videos, and other materials on sites like the GA help center, Udemy, and Coursera

    Is the Google Analytics certification valuable?

    Yes, Google offers the Google Analytics certification, and it’s very valuable as it demonstrates your expertise in using this tool and understanding of digital analytics. It shows companies that you have knowledge and experience to effectively use their data to improve marketing performance. This can help open doors to job opportunities and strengthen your resume. Plus, it’s a great way to stay up-to-date.

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