What’s up with Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 is here. Maybe you’ve seen the messages in your Analytics dashboard. Maybe you’ve heard a little about it. You’re probably wondering what it is, and more importantly what you’re supposed to do about it. Here’s your quick guide to setting up Google Analytics 4!

What is Google Analytics 4?

Simply put, Google Analytics 4 is Google’s latest update to their tracking code. It expands on the functionality of the Web+App property (which most bloggers aren’t really using anyway). It stands to reason that at some point Google will require everyone to switch over, but for now, it’s optional.

Do you need to switch to Google Analytics 4?

You may see notices in your Google Analytics dashboard prompting you to switch to Google Analytics 4. For most people, the short answer is that at this point, I do not recommend switching. I do recommend adding Google Analytics 4 in addition to your current tag.

Since Google Analytics 4 is new, it’s not fully integrated with lots of services you may be using and there’s not as much information out yet about how to view and use your data from the GA4 tracking code.

But you can install both the Google Analytics Universal Analytics code alongside the Google Analytics 4 tracking code. This will ensure you’re ready for the switch if and when Google forces it, but you won’t lose the current data you already have.

How to add Google Analytics 4 to your site

Whether you’re setting up Google Analytics for the first time or you’re adding Google Analytics 4 to a site that already has the Universal Analytics code installed, you’ll follow the same steps:

Create a new Google Analytics 4 Property

The first step is to create a new property inside your Google Analytics account.

Google Analytics 4 Create Property
  1. Log in to Google Analytics.
  2. Click the admin settings wheel on the lower left corner of the screen.
  3. You’ll see three columns. Check that you’re in the correct Account in the first column. (Most people only have one.)
  4. In the Property column, click Create Property
  5. Enter your property name. I’ve named mine “[Website Name] GA4” to differentiate this one from the one with the older Universal Analytics Code. Choose your time zone and currency and click Next.
  6. Fill out the info about your business and click Create. (Don’t overthink these questions!)
  7. Set up a Data Stream by clicking Web and entering your site URL and a name for the data stream. I use “[Website Name] Web Stream”. Click Create Stream.

Add the Google Analytics 4 tracking code to your site

Google Analytics 4 tracking code
  1. On the Web Stream Details screen, click Global Site tag in the Tagging Instructions section.
  2. Copy the tracking code provided and paste it into the <head> of your website.

    For WordPress, you’ll have options depending on your site setup. Always look for a way to add tracking code with a plugin you already have, rather than jumping to add a new plugin. Check to see if you have any of the following:

    Elementor Pro – Go to Elementor > Custom Code > Add New. Paste in the code and name it Google Analytics 4. <head> should automatically be selected from the Location drop-down. Click Publish.

    Genesis Themes – Go to Customizer > Theme Settings > Header/Footer Scripts. Paste the code into the Header Scripts section and click Publish.

    Insert Headers & Footers Plugin – Go to Settings > Insert Headers & Footers. Paste the code into the Scripts in Header section and click Publish.

    For all of these methods, if you have other code already in these sections, just hit enter twice and then paste this new code below what’s already there.

    For Blogger, you’ll add the code directly into your theme. In your Blogger admin, go to Theme. Click the down arrow beside the orange Customize button, and click Edit HTML.

    Click inside the big box of HTML code, and press Ctrl+F on PC or Cmd+F on Mac. Search for </head> and press enter.

    You should see the </head> code highlighted. Paste the Google Analytics 4 code directly above </head>. Click the save icon in the top right.
  3. Once you’ve pasted in the code, you can safely click the x to close the Web Stream Details screen.

Give it a little time (30 minutes or so should be enough, depending on your site traffic), and check the Real-Time report on the Analytics dashboard to make sure data is being pulled in.

setting up Google Analytics 4

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