We do our fair share of GA4 migration projects, from larger clients with complex GA360 implementations to smaller clients with simpler setups. We also do a large number of proactive audits.
Incorrect GA4 deployments are frequent
What we see: many sites without GA4 at all, and many with GA4 but with incorrect implementations. Only a few with GA4 correctly setup, taking full advantage of the redesigned reports (custom funnels & pathing), predictive audiences, etc.
Undetected issues are particularly prevalent on Shopify
Flawed GA4 setups are particularly frequent for Shopify sites, since Universal Analytics implementation was native but GA4 implementations have to be done the “hard” way (Google Tag Managers, dataLayer, etc.). So it’s not surprising there is a lack of experience.
A widespread issue is around the checkout funnel tracking. Google specifies exactly how to track the major steps of the checkout, as illustrated below:
These are the checkouts steps that will appear in the default checkout funnel reports when they will be made available in GA4 (they’re not, yet). Once those reports are available, they will show you all your historical data. But you have to use the exact event names as specified in the GA4 documentation.
Some default reports to be released will be empty
If you don’t, and use other event names to track progress in your checkout, your reports will be blank. And you can’t retroactively change event names, so you won’t have default reports populated.
Correctly seeing these ups sounds simple right? You send the event names as specified, and default reports will surface that data. Well, it might be simple but it’s not being followed.
Here is an example of how a popular app on Shopify is tracking what should be the
begin_checkout event (or at least was sending a couple of months ago, I haven’t checked since) .
The event highlighted won’t be recognised as an ecommerce event by GA4, so won’t have associated product data and won’t appear anywhere in the default report. It’s impacting both data accuracy, visibility and business outcomes.
How can you check your GA4 property?
How can you check if your checkout tracking is deeply flawed? You simply look at all the events being sent to your GA4 property: Navigate to the Configure section and you see a list of all events sent to GA4.
If you don’t see all of the checkout events there, or if the numbers are off, then you probably have an issue in your deployment.
If you see additional checkout events outside of those specified by Google, you most likely have an issue, but not necessarily. As long as your implementation is sending the recommended GA4 checkout events, then you can add additional custom events without negative impact.
Need some help around GA4?
If you think your GA4 implementation isn’t setup properly and would like a quick check, whether you’re on Shopify or not, please comment below with your site URL and I will do a quick check.
I’m also happy to do do 15 mins call to guide you around GA4, so don’t hesitate.