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Episode 102 - Adding Google Analytics 4 to your Shopify Store

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    Hey. Scott Austin here. 

    This episode is going to explain how to connect Google Analytics 4 also known as GA4, the latest version of Google Analytics to your Shopify store.  GA4 has been out for quite a while, but the Shopify admin has been supporting the legacy version of Google Analytics called Universal Analytics instead.  But Google is shutting down Universal Analytics in summer of 2023.  So Shopify has added support of GA4 to the Shopify admin and rolled it out in March of 2023.

    About GA4

    Here's a brief overview of GA4.  Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google Analytics and was introduced in October 2020. GA4 is designed to provide a more comprehensive view of customer behavior across multiple devices and platforms than previous versions of Analytics.

    For ecommerce stores, GA4 provides new features and capabilities to track and analyze customer behavior in a more effective way. Some of the key features of GA4 with respect to ecommerce stores are:

    1. Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking: GA4 provides an improved ecommerce tracking system, allowing ecommerce stores to track product performance, purchase behavior, and user engagement more accurately.
    2. Cross-Domain Tracking: GA4 allows ecommerce stores to track user behavior across multiple domains and platforms, providing a more comprehensive view of the customer journey.
    3. Predictive Analytics: GA4 uses machine learning to provide predictive analytics, allowing ecommerce stores to anticipate customer behavior, identify trends, and adjust their marketing strategies accordingly.
    4. User-Centric Data: GA4 is designed to focus on individual user behavior, providing more personalized insights into customer behavior and preferences.
    5. Event-Driven Data Model: GA4 uses an event-driven data model, allowing ecommerce stores to track and analyze specific user actions, such as product views, add-to-cart actions, and purchases, in real-time.

    And even if you don't desire any of the new GA4 features, it doesn't matter.  Because Google is retiring Universal Analytics and you'll have to move to GA4 to continue to access Google Analytics reports.

    If you are currently using the old Universal Analytics version of Google Analytics, you should connect GA4 as soon as you can.  This is because the data stored in tho old Universal Analytics reports will be exposed in the new GA4 reports.  So the sooner you connect GA4, the sooner you'll have the new data to use as historical reference in your reports.

    This episode assumes that you already have a Google Analytics account and are using the Google sales channel in your Shopify store.  There's some resources in the show notes to help you with those steps if you don't have them in place yet.  

    Adding GA4 to your Google Analytics

    You can use the GA4 Setup Assistant in Google Analytics to create a new GA4 property that collects data in parallel with your existing Universal Analytics property. There are no changes to your Universal Analytics property, and it continues to collect data as always. You can access both properties via the property selector or Admin screen in Google Analytics.  

    To use the GA4 Setup Assistant, you need the Editor role for the account. Follow these steps in Google Analytics to create your GA4 property.

    1. In Google Analytics, click Settings Admin which is in the lower left of the screen.
    2. In the Account column, make sure that your desired account is selected. If you only have one Google Analytics account, it's already selected.
    3. In the Property column, select the Universal Analytics property that currently collects data for your website.
    4. In the Property column, click GA4 Setup Assistant. It's the first option in the Property column.
    5. Click Get started under I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property.
    6. In the Create a new Google Analytics 4 property pop-up screen, click the Create and continue button.
    7. On the Set up a Google tag page, follow the instructions to finish creating your new GA4 property:

    Connect GA4 to Shopify

    The Google sales channel is used by many Shopify stores to create a product feed for Google to use on it's shopping search results and to create Google Shopping Ads.  If your store does not have the Google sales channel added and you aren't interested in Google Shopping, you'll still need the Google sales channel in your Shopify store for GA4 to work.

    To connect your Google Analytics accout to Shopify follow these steps.

    1. The person to do this needs to the owner of the Google account that is already used to connect the Google sales channel to the Shopify admin. And that person also needs to have Editor access to Google Analytics. 
    2. Go to your Shopify admin and then to the Online Store sales channel.
    3. Click the Preferences option in the menu under Online Store
    4. Scroll down to the Google Analytics section.  There will be a GA4 message box with a yellow background.  Click the Manage pixel here button.
    5. You'll now be in the Google sales channel.  In the Connect a Google Analytics property box, select your GA4 in the drop-down box that appears and click the Connect button.  And that's it for the connection process.
    6. Test that the connection is working properly.  Go to Google Analytics and open up the Realtime report in your GA4 property.  See if data is showing up.  You'll especially want to see an e-commerce event in the Event report.  If you don't see already see an Add to Cart event, go to the customer facing side of your Shopify store and add a product to the cart.  You should now see an add_to_cart event in your GA4 realtime report.


    That's it for getting your Shopify store properly sending data to GA4.  It's a delightfully easy process.

    Thanks for listening.

    JadePuma is a certified Shopify Expert. If you need any help with your Shopify store, we can help.