September Olsen is a senior digital content analyst at MSPC. Here, she dives into how Universal Analytics is being replaced by Google Analytics 4 in July 2023, and how you can recreate your favorite reports.
You’ve likely heard the news by now, but in case you missed it: Google recently announced that Universal Analytics (UA) will no longer process data starting July 1, 2023.
That means users across the globe will need to pivot their data collection to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) by then to continue data collection with no interruptions.
If you have yet to do so, Google has plenty of documentation to assist you in your GA4 setup from your current Google Analytics account.
When you first log into GA4, you’ll notice there’s a new interface, and you may be on a scavenger hunt to find your favorite reports from UA in the new system (we were too).While the basic Google Analytics metric names and dimension definitions have remained the same, the layout of the platform has changed.
We’ve outlined three of our most commonly used reports in Google Analytics Universal Analytics (UA/GA3) and how to find the equivalent in Google Analytics (GA4) below.
Report 1: Breakdown of Pageviews for Certain Pages
Where it was in UA: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
Where to find it in GA4: Reports > Lifecycle > Engagement > Pages and Screens
GA4 defaults page sorting by page title, not URL string. To view this report as URLs, click the drop-down above the table near the blue “+” sign, then select “Page path + query string and screen class.” A good reminder: Make sure your site's title tags are in place and are unique to each page.
What it’s used for: This feature is used to track page views by page rather than the site as a whole, now called “Views.” It also gives a breakdown of the average time on a page, which is particularly useful for determining how long users spend consuming your content.
Bonus: Filter by session_start event to get your landing page report. This is similar to the “Entrance” metric from UA.
To generate a landing page report and find the most popular landing pages:
- Click the event count metric
- Click “All Events”
- Type session_start in the search bar
- Select the session_start metric
- Sort from high to low
Report 2: Acquisition Overview
Where it was in UA: Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels or Source/Medium
Where to find it in GA4: Reports > Lifecycle > Acquisition > Traffic Acquisition
The default version of this report is similar to the “Channel Acquisition” report in UA. To get this report to provide a further breakdown by source, medium or campaign, select the desired metric in the drop-down at the top of the table column.
What it’s used for: This report shows you where traffic is coming from and how many events or conversions have happened per channel.
Report 3: Search Traffic Report via Search Console
Note: This requires linking your Search Console account to GA4. If you have yet to do that, you can follow these instructions from Google.
Where it was in UA: Acquisition > Search Console > Landing Pages or Queries
Where to find it in GA4: There are two locations to find these reports.
Option 1: Acquisition > Overview. In the bottom right corner, by default, are the two tables for Search Console. Click “View Google organic traffic acquisition” (landing page impressions and clicks) or “View Google organic search queries” (search query impressions and clicks).
Option 2: By default, the Search Console collection of reports shortcut is unpublished in the navigation bar. To publish, go to “Reports” on the far left, then click “Library” at the bottom of the navigation bar. Under “Collections,” find Search Console, click the three vertical dots in the corner of the box, then click “Publish.”
The set of Search Console reports will now appear under the main “Reports” tab on the left. To find search query data, click into the “Queries” report from Reports > Search Console > Queries.
To find organic landing page data, click into the “Google organic search traffic” report from Reports > Search Console > Google organic search traffic.
What it’s used for: This report tracks your website’s search performance by number of impressions and clicks by landing page or search query. These results can be used to optimize your site to appear higher in search rankings and receive more organic traffic.
Good luck as you make the transition from Google Analytics UA/GA3 to GA4. Know we’re all in it together!
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