Planning your GA4 implementation - A G4 event planning framework

This article is a shortened version of the presentation we gave at the Google Analytics 4 kick-off event in Brussels on May 17th 2022.


Google Analytics 4 represents, for many people, a fundamental shift in the analytics landscape. The shift from a hit based measurement model to an event-based measurement model represents an opportunity to track data beyond the capabilities of Universal Analytics.

The main reason is the extreme flexibility that is inherent to event-based measurement.

But with extreme flexibility comes the opportunity to create chaos. As with all things that are new, people are excited. Events are being sent in by the hundreds and chaos reigns in many Google Analytics 4 accounts. This in turn jeopardises your ability to turn that data into actual value as analysts drown in a see of unfamiliar events. What we want to prevent is a Google Analytics 4 account with hundreds of custom events. That’s why we created a Google Analytics 4 planning framework.


As always, analysts are just a reflection of the business. As a result the first step is to start from the business questions and challenges you are facing. Think of the questions you would like to answer using your Google Analytics 4. In order to answer these questions you’ll be generating data points. These data points are generated by tracking specific events. And designing these events can be tricky if you’re new to event-based analytics and to Google Analytics in general.


Google’s documentation is actually pretty good at helping here, if you know where to look. As the volume of documentation is daunting, we created a framework to act as a guide. We created the following flowchart that clusters events into 5 main buckets:

  • Pageviews or screens

  • eCommerce

  • Enhanced measurement

  • Recommended events

  • Custom events

This flowchart will help you find your way around Google’s documentation, leverage Google Analytics 4’s capabilities at max and ensure your Google Analytics 4 events adhere to best practices. With this flowchart planning your Google Analytics 4 implementation becomes a breeze.



Interpreting the flowchart is very simple.For each of the data points you’ll want to generate, in order to answer your question, you’ll simply walk through the flowchart and ask yourself the following questions:


  • “Is the data point I would like to generate linked to page or screen views?”

  • “Is the data point I would like to generate linked revenue generated, and therefore eCommerce?”

  • “Can the data point I would like to generate be generated using Enhanced Measurement?”

  • “Is the data point I would like to generate part of the recommended events catalogue created by Google?”

  • “Is the custom data point I am about to create controlling cardinality and using parameters?” - Where cardinality refers to the number of unique events.

You can find a clickable PDF version of the flowchart here.


The result of using this framework should be a set of events. Most of which adhere as much as possible to Google’s very own specifications. The next step is to consolidate everything in a tracking plan and prepare the instructions for your development team. In a next article we’ll share more details on how to build a best-in-class tracking plan.


Conclusion


This framework takes away the scariest part, finding your way through Google’s documentation while helping you during the most important phase - planning. This ensures that your implementation is “analysis friendly”. This means we’re leveraging Google’s pre-made features and reports maximally while maintaining an understandable and controllable implementation of your custom events. The results? The Google Analytics 4 analysts are set up to ensure data gets turned into value.


At Human37 we have been helping all types of companies implementing best-in-class and future-proof GA4 accounts. Do you need help? Reach out!