Did you know that more than half of website visits don’t result in a conversion? If you’re not tracking your conversions correctly, you’re missing out on valuable information about what’s working (and what’s not) on your website.
This blog post will show you how to set up and track conversions with Google Analytics 4.
We’ll also explain the different conversions in GA4 and discuss conversion funnel best practices – planning, naming conventions, and reporting.
What Are Conversions in GA4?
Conversions are vital actions that you want your visitors/users to complete on the website. These actions can be grouped into micro and macro conversions.
A micro conversion is usually a smaller step that can lead users closer to the macro conversion. That can be a whitepaper download, newsletter subscription, comments on the blog, any of the smaller steps towards checkout, etc.
The macro conversion is the primary and most important action that the user can take, such as completing a purchase, filling out the registration form, etc.
Tracking conversions allows you to learn more about your company’s performance and customers. For example, you can create a segment of your users who have purchased and study what they’re doing on the website, their behavior, actions, etc. That can help you understand what works and what doesn’t work.
Finally, conversions are used to assess the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and then re-allocate your budget accordingly.
Let’s get started by learning how to track conversions using Google Analytics 4 properly.
How to Configure Conversions
If you worked with Google Analytics, the term Google Analytics Goal is not new to you since that’s how the conversions were called in the past.
In UA, you could always create a destination goal whenever you need a page view to be treated as a conversion. Additionally, there are a few other types of Google Universal Analytics goals:
• Goals based on events and their parameters
• Goals that were based on the duration of the session
• Goals that were based on the number of page/screen views per session
With Google Universal Analytics, the number of goals was 20 goals per view, and GA4 offers up to 30 conversions per property.
You’ve guessed it – the Google Analytics goals are being replaced with conversions as the most crucial interaction. This is not surprising since the term conversions was accepted and used by the industry and other marketing platforms for a long time.
Besides the name change, there are a few other differences that come with conversions:
- Conversions have a different configuration.
- Conversions have different types (no more destination, session-duration, or number-of-pageviews goals that we’ve mentioned above).
- Reporting is different – read more about metrics comparison between UA and GA4.
All these changes tell us one thing – everything is pointing in the direction of events, and it’s now up to us to mark important events as conversions.
Let’s see the ways of Google Analytics 4 conversion configuration in the following sections.
Google Analytics 4 has a lot of predefined conversions that you cannot disable:
- purchase (web and app)
- first_open (app only)
- in_app_purchase (app only)
- app_store_subscription_convert (app only)
- app_store_subscription_renew (app only)
Go to your Google Analytics 4 property and look at the Conversions menu on the left. You’ll see a list of predefined conversions displayed if you have received at least one event of that particular name. Your only default conversion will be a purchase if you only have the Web data stream connected to the property.
If you connected any app data streams, you would probably see the other default conversions.
Let’s get on to the next category of conversions.
Conversions That You Can Switch On
You can mark an event as a conversion in the Configure > Events on the left sidebar. You have to switch the toggle next to the event you want to treat as a conversion.
Remember that once you turn an event into conversion, only the new data will be affected, and past events won’t treat them as conversions.
The second option is to go to Configure > Conversions on the left sidebar. Click the New conversion event and enter the name of the event.
There is no difference between flipping the switch in the Configure > Events and manually adding the new conversion. But, if you choose to flip the switch in the Events, you will first need to wait until that event appears in the list.
You will start to see conversion data in the list of all Conversions after up to 24 hours.
Check out the section How To Track Conversion Data In GA4 Reports for more information about conversion reports.
Create Events & Mark Them as Conversions
There’s one particular scenario that you might be considering. Let’s imagine you don’t want to mark all events of a specific event name as conversions.
For example, you send users to the Thank you page once they subscribe to a newsletter. The URL is https://www.mywebsite.com/thank-you/. If you set the page_view event to a conversion, any pageview will be a conversion.
How do you filter out the page views that occurred only on the /thank-you/ page?
You have two options. Send a dedicated event (with a specific name for that event) from Google Tag Manager/Gtag.js, or you can use the Create Event feature in the GA4 interface.
Create Event feature allows you to create a new event based on other incoming events. To find it, go to the Configure > Events page, click Create Event, and then click Create.
The next step is to type the name of your custom event. Choose a name that is clear in what it represents. thankyou_page_visit might be a sensible choice.
After that, go to the Matching Conditions section, where you need to tell GA4 what type of event you need. When this event happens, the thankyou_page_visit will be created as well.
These are the conditions that you need to set:
• event_name equals page_view
• page_location contains /thank-you/
Keep the checkbox Copy parameters from the source event selected if you want to copy all variables from the page_view event to the new event. You can also Add Modification in the Parameter Configuration section if one of the parameter’s names is incorrect and you wish to correct it.
For example, if an event includes the parameter pricingPlan, but you want it to be pricing_plan, you may add a new field (and reuse its value) while removing the incorrect one by leaving the New Value empty.
Adding double square brackets tells GA4 to reuse the value of the parameter pricingPlan in that event. You may check the updated information in GA4’s Real-time reports and DebugView once you save the changes.
If you’re adding a new event that should be seen as a conversion, remember to go to Configure > Events page and mark it as a conversion.
If you can’t wait for the thankyou_page_visit to appear in the list, you can go to the Configure > Conversions and instantly make the conversion. Click New conversion event and add the event name there.
This option allows you to create a thankyou_page_visit event as a conversation without waiting for 24 hours until it shows on the Events page.
Plan Your Event Naming Convention Better
In situations when the event is being sent to GA4 from the website’s code or Google Tag Manager, organize your event naming convention better and generate more specific events.
Let’s imagine a scenario where you’re tracking events such as form_submission in your analytics, but you only want to count certain types of forms as conversions.
You track contact form submissions, footer form submissions, and registration form submission events, but in this case, only the registration form submission is treated as a conversion.
In that case, you could track 3 separate events:
- footer_form submission
Then, just for the registration_sign_up event, mark it as a conversion. This does, however, call for more extensive planning in the beginning.
Check Data in GA4 DebugView
Once you’ve configured all of your conversions, it’s time to test them and make sure everything is working correctly. We covered the DebugView in Google Analytics 4 in the GA4 setup guide. Check it out for in-depth details.
The DebugView is the essential feature developed for debugging GA4 data. To access it, go to the Configure section and click on the DebugView on the left side of the GA4 interface.
Once it opens, you’ll notice blue and green icons. Blue icons are events, and green icons are conversions.
Click on these icons to see the parameters that were sent together with a specific event. To see the values click on the parameters.
Now that you are sure that the data is displayed accurately submit your GA4 changes in the GTM container and publish it.
How To Track Conversion Data in GA4 Reports
There are four ways to see conversions in Google Analytics 4.
#1 Go to the Configure section in the left sidebar and click Conversions to see an overview of all events you have marked as conversions.
#2 Go to Acquisition, Traffic Acquisition, and you’ll see a column Conversions in the table.
#3 Monetization reports show data if you have an eCommerce tracking set.
#4 You can include the metric Conversions in the Exploration reports.
As you can see, there are many different ways to track conversions with Google Analytics 4. Which approach will work best for your business? It’s essential to experiment and find what works best for you.
But don’t forget, always be tracking! Your insights from conversion tracking can help improve your website and marketing strategy.
Are you ready to get started? If so, follow the steps in this post to set up conversion tracking on your website.
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