GA4: Top 5 Metrics To Track When Starting Out

Phil Hughes
Phil Hughes

As of 1st July 2023, Google will stop tracking the older Universal Analytics. Moving their focus to their updated GA4. Depending on when you read this post. You’re either moving over or setting up a new site. Either way, Google Analytics is still the behemoth for website tracking.

Starting your website is an exciting time. Have you created a WordPress site to start blogging, or as a place to show your portfolio? Are you selling digital products on Gumroad? Creating your own t-shirt designs and making them available to purchase on TeePublic? Dropping shipping using Shopify?

There are a million and one things you can do with your website.

However, there is one constant when starting your website. You need to track visitors to your site to help you make informed decisions.

Oh, before we get started. If you want to know how data from Google Search Console, sits within a larger data-driven marketing approach? Check out this guide I’ve put together called What Is Marketing Analytics And Data-Driven Marketing.

GA4 – The New Sheriff In Town

You may have been monitoring website traffic stats for years.

Or it may be the first time you’ve set up a blog or eCom site.

Either way, GA4 isn’t the easiest platform to find your way around. Even if you’re good at using online Dashboards. Understanding what the data means can be challenging.

I’ve spoken with lots of people on Social Media, and I haven’t heard a good word about GA4.

Google has scored a massive “own goal” with their new version of what has been the “go-to” website stats platform.

When you are starting out you want to keep things simple and focus on creating content and driving traffic to your site. The last thing you need is the distraction of trying to process complex data. Analysis Paralysis can be crippling.

That is why I started Elementary Analytics. To keep things simple and help people focus on key information across different platforms. Hoping to help you make informed decisions and get back to growing your website or business.

Top 5 GA4 Metrics To Track

So, GA4, at the writing of this post, is a mess.

Experienced marketers and newbies alike are tearing their hair out.

Everyone is in the same boat at the minute, trying to figure the new platform out. What I’ve done over the past 12 months I’ve used GA4 across all my websites. Starting to figure out which 5 stats you should be looking at, the ones that give you the most bang for your buck.

Here are the 5 GA4 metrics to look at, as long as the numbers are going in an upward direction you should be golden.

Page Views

This may seem like a no-brainer. “Of course, I want to know how many page views I am getting”.

For me, this is a quick metric to see if I have created enough engaging content over the last week. Has the overall number of page views in the past 7 days increased compared to the previous 7 days? If the answer is “Yes”. Great my marketing efforts are working.

If your site has been around for a good few months, but you haven’t done much in the way of promotion of new content. If page views are still going up it could be a sign that your SEO is good and have been creating “evergreen” content. Great work!

Sessions

When someone visits your website, Google Analytics starts recording what they call a session. A session is ended if a visitor has been inactive on your site for 30 minutes.

Let’s say someone views one of your blog posts. After a short while, they decide to nip out for lunch, leaving your blog post open. After 30 minutes, Google Analytics knows they are away from the desk and ends the session.

When they return to their desk and begin reading the post again this will start a new session. Therefore, Google Analytics will record this as 2 sessions for that user, on that day.

Sessions can be used to interpret whether people are coming back to your site and engaging with your content again and again.

Users

This is an interesting Google Analytics metric for me. Similar to sessions, however, when a user first visits your website, Google Analytics identifies this and keeps a record of this on the visitor’s browser.

Again, this can help you determine whether a person is revisiting your site and engaging with your content.

Or if you have shared a new blog post on Twitter and have a very high number of new users. This shows that your effort has worked and you have reached a host of new people.

Sessions per User

GA4 Sessions per User refers to the number of sessions (visits) a user has made to your website or mobile app, as measured by Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

A session is defined as a period of time during which a user interacts with your website or mobile app.

This metric is important because it helps you understand how often people return to your website or app, which can give you insight into their level of engagement and interest in your brand. In simple terms, GA4 Sessions per User shows you how many times an individual user visited your website or app over a given time period.

Let’s say you run an e-commerce website and you want to know how often people return to your site to make purchases.

You can look at the GA4 Sessions per User metric to get a sense of this.

If a particular user has made 5 visits to your site in the last 30 days, for example, their GA4 Sessions per User for that time period would be 5. This information can help you understand how often people return to your site to make purchases and whether or not they are loyal customers. If you see that most of your users have high GA4 Sessions per User values, it could indicate that they are frequent and engaged visitors to your site.

On the other hand, if most users only visit your site once or twice, it might suggest that they are not finding what they are looking for or are not very interested in your brand.

In general, understanding GA4 Sessions per User can help you make informed decisions about your website or app, such as optimizing the user experience to increase engagement and retain visitors or improving your marketing strategies to attract new users and convert them into loyal customers.

Events

GA4 Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) refers to specific actions that users take on your website or mobile app, such as clicking a button, watching a video, or adding an item to their shopping cart.

Events are a way to track user interactions with your website or app and can provide valuable insight into user behaviour and engagement.

For example, if you have an “Add to Cart” button on your website, you can set up an event in GA4 to track every time someone clicks that button. This information can help you understand how often users are adding items to their carts, which can give you insight into the effectiveness of your e-commerce website or app. You can also see how many times each event occurs and compare this information to other metrics, such as page views, to get a more complete understanding of user behaviour on your website or app.

In simple terms, GA4 Events are specific user actions on your website or app that you can track and analyze in GA4.

They can help you understand how users are interacting with your site and can provide valuable information for improving the user experience and increasing engagement.

Viewing Your Top 5 GA4 Metrics

It can be a pain viewing these GA4 metrics using the Google Analytics dashboard.

Even more so, if, like me, you have a couple of websites that you want to keep an eye on. To see what the traffic is like in the early stages of promotion.

This was one of the reasons I started building Elementary Analytics. I wanted a cut-down and very specific view of my Google Analytics website stats.

At the time of writing this post. I track the GA4 metrics for this site, my personal blog. As well as an eCommerce site around a hobby of mine.

“Elementary” Or Simplified View Of Your GA4 Metrics

With our dashboard, you can view your top 5 GA4 metrics on a single widget. Create as many widgets as you need for the sites where you would like to view information.

Below is a screenshot of the last 30 days’ stats for elementaryanalytics.com.

Our GA4 overview widget shows traffic stats for your website.

The widget gives a total of 4 GA4 metrics over the past thirty days. These metrics are page views, users, sessions per user, and events.

There is also an indicator highlighting if a specific metric has increased or decreased compared to the previous thirty days.

A graph breaks down the 5 key GA4 metrics by day. As you can see, we had a few good days in terms of page views and events. Although the last few days were better for sessions per user. This means people were coming back to our site for some reason.

There is also a slightly more detailed view if you click the ‘View detailed breakdown’ link within the widget.

A detailed GA4 stats breakdown for your website inside our dashboard

The graph displayed is the same as the previous widget. However, our dashboard gives a breakdown for not only the last thirty days. But stats for the last seven days, this month, last month and the last ninety days. We even have a 12-month run rate, showing you how you’ve been growing over the past year.

So you can easily see how your traffic is growing for your website.

Conclusion

In conclusion, tracking the right GA4 metrics can have a major impact on the success of any digital marketing efforts.

By understanding the five main GA4 metrics discussed in this post, you can make sure that your digital marketing campaigns are well-informed and targeted towards the right people.

This, in turn, will help you make the most of your digital marketing efforts and reach your desired goals.

Elementary Analytics is the perfect tool to make sense of your data and gain deeper insights.

Our 14-day free trial makes it easy to get started.

Simply sign up today and start to take advantage of the powerful features Elementary Analytics offers. With our easy-to-use dashboard, you don’t have to waste time trying to navigate the awful GA4 dashboard. Elementary Analytics provides better reporting options, more accurate data, and automation to make your life easier.

Try out our 14-day trial today and see for yourself why Elementary Analytics is the best choice for data analysis and data-driven decision-making.

We guarantee you won’t regret it.

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