Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics, replacing Universal Analytics (UA) as the default for new GA properties in 2020.

GA4 has been rebuilt from the ground up, and offers speed, feature and flexibility benefits over UA.

Although a few GA4 ecommerce features are yet to be released, we recommend all Shopify stores start to capture data in GA4 in parallel with UA. UA data cannot be imported into GA4, so you will need at least 6 months of historical data before you finally switch over to GA4.

Note: Caveat: until Google resolves a bug with matching server-side events, some of the reports will not work (details below). We will update you when this changes.

How to set up Shopify to GA4

For new customers

During the onboarding steps you will be prompted to provide a GA4 measurement ID and access token.

For existing customers

We are working on settings to add the GA4 measurement ID. Until then, please reach out to our support team.

Which reports can you trust now in GA4?

Realtime

Realtime overview allows you to see where your users are coming and segment them by different audience types.

User acquisition

User acquisition allows you to see how users arrive at your website and how successful certain marketing campaigns are in attracting them.

Engagement overview

Engagement overview can help you analyse customer’s actions, which can help with retargeting customers more effectively and turning visitors into paying customers.

Events

Using Event Tracking to measure interaction on your website can offer a better understanding of how users are engaging with features of your website in a more advanced way than the standard reports do.

Conversions

Conversions shows you a summary of all purchases, and are is when analysing who purchased what.

Ecommerce purchases

Ecommerce purchases offer detail about each product you’re selling. This is useful when analysing which products are performing well so you can further optimize your offering.

Demographics

Demographics may help you refine your marketing strategy so you can drive more traffic from demographics that are more likely to convert.

Tech

This section can help you optimize your website and make it more accessible and user friendly (i.e. a higher engagement rate for a particular browser, etc)

Acquisition overview

The Acquisition section tells you how well each channel drives conversions, so you can determine which online marketing tactic is bringing most users to your website.

Retention

The Retention report helps you understand how frequently and for how long users engage with your website or mobile app after their first visit.

Which reports will be fixed by early 2022?

Pages and screens

The server-side events will come in with page equals (not set) until Google makes the fix. You may also see (other) page title, because this site has more than 50,000 unique page titles.

Monetisation overview

Ecommerce purchases cannot be linked with browsing of a product list for now. Items views by item promotion name isn’t compatible with Littledata’s tracking, as we have no way of reliability tracking on-site promotions.

Traffic acquisition

This report is currently unusable, as all the purchases are linked to (not set), and not the correct source and medium.

What is the bug preventing these reports from working?

Littledata’s tracking works by linking client-side events (e.g. page views) with server-side events (e.g. Adds to cart or Purchases).

In Universal Analytics these events were linked into one session automatically, if we specified the same Google client ID, and the events were sent within 30 minutes of each other.

In GA4, sessions work differently: the tracking script on the browser creates a session identifier for each session, and all events in that session need to include the session ID as a property. Unfortunately, GA4 does not currently recognise the session ID that is sent to their servers via Measurement Protocol.

As a result, the server-side events are not linked to a session, and reports based on sessions - like the traffic acquisition report - cannot show a unified user journey including purchases.

Google has advised us this problem will be fixed in early 2022, so we will update all customers when we know more.