GA4 Integrations: Make Your Data More Actionable

Integrations are a big part of Google Analytics. Built on APIs, they provide an easy method to create a flow between apps and platforms. The integration connects your software to all the data available for analysis. This connection is vital if we want to unlock the full potential of Google Analytics 4.

Among all GA4 integrations, the BigQuery integration is one of the most important. And with GA4, it is now easier than ever to enable it…

So read on for step-by-step instructions on how to get started!

Configuring a BigQuery Project

You can integrate BigQuery into Google Analytics 4 to combine and utilize the amalgam of power of these two platforms. 

Follow these steps for configuring BigQuery into GA4:

#1 You need a Google Cloud Platform Account to create a project where the BigQuery API is enabled.

#2 Head over to Google Analytics to complete the setup.

Two essential things before you proceed:

  • In GA, you must have Account Level EDIT access
  • In BQ, you must have Project OWNER rights

Only these access permissions let you connect Google Analytics 4 and BigQuery. 

#3 In GA4, do the following:

Go to the Admin section and select BigQuery links.

Create a new link by clicking on the Link button.

#4 The next thing you’re going to do is select your project and click Confirm.

#5 Next, Choose a data storage location.

#6 And select the frequency of your BigQuery data imports to be Daily

 and/or Streaming (continuous).

Wait at least 2 – 3 days after creating the link, and then check if the BigQuery export works as expected.

Oh, and by the way, you must do a basic tracking setup to see data there.

For more in-depth details, check how to set up BigQuery Export here.

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GA4 + Data Studio

You’ve probably heard about Google Data Studio before. If it’s new to you, let us explain:

Google Data Studio is basically a versatile tool for data visualization and reporting, mainly extracting the data from GA4 and presenting it easier to understand and digest. It’s a tool to demystify the complex data and views in GA4.

The tool is entirely free, and it allows you to connect multiple data sources for a greater understanding of operations and business goals.

Data Studio lets you share files with your team members who can work collaboratively in real-time.

You can efficiently create interactive reports and dashboards that are fully customizable. Some of the BEST features of Google Data Studio are:

  • Dynamic updates. These are number one for us. If the dashboards in Data Studio are linked to your source data, everything will be updated automatically by pulling data from the GA4 database. So, if you’re getting ready for a call or presentation, Data Studio will show the last available data in the reports.
  • Another important aspect of GDS is Broad data visualization options that make data more accessible and easy to manage than the GA4 interface.
  • Multiple sources let you link different data sources, combine metrics and dimensions and visualize them. 
  • Not to forget Easy to share access that lets visualized data to be shared without granting access to your sources. 

Connecting GA4 to Data Studio

Before creating visualizations in Google Data Studio, you must first connect it to a GA4 property. BTW, if you haven’t still set up your GA4 properly, head over to our quick but broad guide.

You must have Read & Analyze permission for the property you want to connect it to.

#1 Log in to Data Studio.

#2 Click on the Create and select Data Source.

#3 Pick the Google Analytics connector

#4 Give Data Studio access to your account by clicking on Authorize.

#5 Select an account and then the property.

#6 Click on Connect

You’ll see the data source fields panel, and this is how you know it’s connected to your data set.

The data set is all your underlying data, i.e., Google Analytics 4 property. To create a data source, you must use one of Data Studio’s available connectors, i.e., Google Analytics for a GA4 property, to relate it to that data set (GA4 property). 

In the data source fields panel, you can configure options and fields provided by this connector. No data is ever compromised by any changes you make in Data Studio.

Credentials let you sort out viewers who need access to the underlying data and reports.

Owner’s Credentials let you share a report with anyone even if they don’t have access to the data set, e.g., the GA4 property to which your data source is connected.

Change credentials by clicking on Data credentials above the data source fields panel.

Creating a New Report from the Data Source

Now that you’ve got your data source set up, it’s time to create a report.

#1 In Data Studio, click on the Create and then Report.

You will see a report editor.

#2 You can now add data to the new report by clicking Add To Report from the selected data source.

Keep in mind: GA4 is still updating, and new additions are being made. There were certain tweaks regarding Google Data Studio with GA4. For example, now event- and user-scoped custom dimensions and metrics are available, but some important fields were excluded before this. See how to set up and track events in GA4 here.

For the latest info on these changes, always refer to the official Google Analytics Data API (GA4).

Your First Report in Data Studio

Go over these FIRST before you make your first report in Data Studio.

Make sense of visualizations and make them a priority

Good reports are like good fences – they keep your stakeholders safe from harm and help you get what you want! But it’s important to remember that essence should always come before aesthetics, even if looks take a while to design them. After all, no one cares about pretty graphs or charts if there isn’t anything useful inside them.

Why not ask a colleague to review your report? It’s always better with the help of someone else! They’ll spot any inconsistencies and data combinations that don’t quite work.

Don’t data-bomb the reader (no info overload)

Everything should be visible without the need to zoom out or go for a bigger screen. Use a table instead of text if possible. It’s better to make two pages on the same topic than stuff one page with too much information! It will otherwise be difficult for readers who want quick access and understand your report’s key points.

Don’t overload. Keep it short and straightforward.

Visualizations should be appealing

Data Studio has so much to offer to create visually appealing dashboards and reports! You, a data expert, should take advantage of what they have available! Data Studio will help you direct your readers’ attention exactly where you want it if you use it right. There is no need to be afraid of it – data can actually make your report more exciting and creative. 

If you want to make your report more persuasive, use graphics and charts emphasizing specific elements. Bright colors can help strengthen the impact of the text, while bold fonts work well for titles or headings in a variety-of font style combos.

Let your creative soul roam free!

Only 100% correct data is valuable data

The data you supply in your reports is fundamental. If it’s inaccurate or misleading, then the information presented to readers might be incorrect, which could have detrimental effects on business success rates. You should verify your analytics data in Google Data Studio with what’s there. Some metrics can be easily compared (e,g., sessions and users), while others might require a custom report, but make sure you do this correctly, or the accuracy of reports will come into question!

GA4 + BigQuery + Data Studio

This section will show you how to take advantage of BigQuery and Data Studio power. Combining these will allow you to make the most of your unsampled data while creating reports and dashboards.

We mentioned that BigQuery’s computing capabilities allow for millions of rows processed in seconds—a significant feature when dealing with large data sets. 

We highly encourage the integration between these two products so users can create reports or dashboards quickly, which make use of all their available information readable, digestible, and easy to comprehend.

The Powerful Synergy

The synergy between GA4, BigQuery, and Data Studio is powerful because you have access to full data without unwanted sampling. There are limits on how much information can be stored or processed in the Google Cloud Platform (GCAP), and you can store 10 million events before it starts getting limited in BigQuery!

But that doesn’t make this partnership any less beneficial! 

The power of BigQuery allows you to make any analysis or visualization imaginable, meaning it’s possible to transform your data for the results from these different methods to give better insight into what matters most when making important decisions. 

Full data ownership is a crucial part of BigQuery. With access to raw information and without restriction on personally identifiable info, you are free to merge any other type of info (emails, various user data, CRM, offline data) with your clickstream data in BQ. This gives you the chance to perform user-centric analyses for marketing campaigns in BigQuery.

Data Studio is a powerful tool that lets you transform your data into meaningful reports crucial to achieving business goals. You can write custom SQL queries in BigQuery and let Data studio ingest the results–this way, it’s easy to get what you need without having too much hassle or spending hours trying to figure out how things work on their own!

With a vast amount of data stored in BigQuery, it is possible to produce visually appealing and informative reports. With BigQuery being such an integral part of what makes Google Data Studio so valuable, there’s no way we’ll see its popularity decrease anytime soon!

Connecting BigQuery to Data Studio

The easiest way to connect your BigQuery project with Data Studio is by following the same steps given previously for connecting GA4. You can simply choose Big Query as the connector in this case!

Once you’ve authorized Data Studio to connect with your BigQuery projects, select the project that will provide underlying data for this new source.

Querying data in BigQuery can be challenging. Sometimes you only have access to a raw table, but you can create a data source from SQL query results if you select Custom Query

Now, you have a connection between BigQuery and Data Studio. What you probably want to do is recreate reports from GA4, but we suggest trying your best to really use the potential of Data Studio. Invest some time into creating more complex but more comprehensive reports.

Data Studio is exhaustive, giving you many options to present data most suitably to you and your business. There’s also the option to add other data sources apart from GA, which is also very cool – Data Studio allows new dimensions and a more interdisciplinary view of performance. 

Ready for the BigQuery Integration?

GA4 integrations are crucial for unlocking the full data-driven potential of the platform. In this post, we walked through how to connect GA4 with BigQuery and how to spice it up even more with Data Studio.

If you have any questions about setting up GA4 or using its integrations or Data Studio, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help.

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