A circular puzzle of Google Analytics bar chart logomark.

The Complete Guide to GA4

The Further Team
Sep 13, 2022


Google Analytics has set the standards for how we measure web behavior since 2005, but many of those familiar standards have changed with Google Analytics 4. With the latest release of Google Analytics, Google is making significant improvements to the way we collect data and respect user consent choices, but the result is that brands who migrate to the new version will need to spend some time understanding what has changed.

That’s why we created The Complete Guide to GA4.

This guide will walk you through the key concepts that you need to understand to be successful with Google Analytics 4.


There are many benefits to embracing Google Analytics 4, including:

  • A robust solution to enable cookieless measurement for users who have opted out of cookies
  • Built-in predictive audiences to help you identify your most valuable customers
  • Cross-platform customer journey analysis for brands who deploy both web and native mobile applications
  • Direct integrations to media buying platforms

Unfortunately, installing Google Analytics 4 on a website or native mobile application can be a complex project. To help you understand what is involved with this process, we have created the GA4 Migration Assessment. The form will ask you about 20 questions and then provide you with a step-by-step guide to help you plan your migration that includes critical things to consider based on the information you provided.


The Analysts at Search Discovery have extensive experience with Google Analytics 4. We have been installing GA4 for our clients since it was released in beta in 2019, and Google has funded numerous projects to have the Search Discovery team help brands successfully install the tool and train their teams.

Each chapter in this guide was written by a subject matter expert who specializes in the topic. Search Discovery is a Google Premier Partner, and we have been a certified Google Analytics 360 sales partner since 2012.

CHAPTER 1: What is Google Analytics, and Does Google Give it Away for Free?

Let’s start at the beginning. How do companies get value from Google Analytics, and what is Google’s motivation for making it available for free?
Ken Williams

CHAPTER 2: How Does GA4 Differ from Prior Versions?

How has the Internet changed since the last version of Google Analytics launched in 2013, and what problems was Google Analytics 4 designed to solve?
Elizabeth Brady

CHAPTER 3: How Data is Collected on a Website or Native Application

This is a quick overview of how analytics tools work, and how to use developer tools to view the data that an analytics tool is collecting from a website or native mobile application.
Kim Mack

CHAPTER 4: Before You Implement: How to Plan

Before you begin installing code, this chapter explores best practices for building a plan to ensure that Google Analytics is capable of supporting your business needs.
Tim Wilson

CHAPTER 5: Best Practices for Designing your Events and Parameters

This chapter details the best practices that our team at Search Discovery has created for naming events, parameters, and user properties in GA4.
Cade Egbert

CHAPTER 6: Setting Up Your GA4 Property

This chapter reveals how data is stored and rolled up in Google Analytics 4 so that you can determine how you should structure your accounts, properties, and streams.
Mandy Johnston

CHAPTER 7: Implementing GA4 Tracking Code

It’s finally time to start collecting data. Let’s explore the new concepts introduced with Google Analytics 4 (such as configuration and event tags) and how to correctly set special values like the user_id.
Jim Snyder

CHAPTER 8: Validating Your GA4 Tracking Code

Learn about the new tools for validating your tracking code that are available in Google Analytics 4 and best practices to ensure your team trusts the quality of the data you are collecting.
Chima Umeakunne

CHAPTER 9: Setting Up GA4 to Share Data with Other Products

Arguably the most powerful feature of Google Analytics 4 is your ability to integrate the data with other products. This chapter explores the various integrations available, and the benefits of each.
AnnMarie Hill

CHAPTER 10: Managing User Privacy in GA4

This chapter profiles the legal implications of Google Analytics 4, Google Signals, and the new Consent Mode feature.  
Cory Underwood

CHAPTER 11: Optimizing Acquisition Channels

You’ve got the data. Now let’s turn our attention to how Google Analytics 4 can be used to optimize your acquisition channels and how to get the most out of data-driven attribution.  
Lachlan Brown

CHAPTER 12: Optimizing User Experience

How are users interacting with your website or application? Are they completing the tasks that you would like them to? Are they experiencing problems? This chapter reveals how GA4 can help you find out.  
Jeremy Cottriel

CHAPTER 13: The Cost and Benefits of Upgrading to New Google Analytics 360

New Google Analytics 360 (the enterprise version of Google Analytics 4) enables paid features for customers with sophisticated measurement needs. These features improve data collection, enhance your ability to govern users, and enable sophisticated analysis techniques with guaranteed performance and support. In this chapter, we’ll summarize the key benefits of upgrading from the free (standard) version of GA4 to the New GA360 and explain how to estimate the annual cost.
Ken Williams

CHAPTER 14: The Future of Measurement in the Google Ecosystem

Google Analytics 4 is only the beginning. This chapter describes the Google ecosystem for marketers. Learn how mature marketing organizations can gain a competitive advantage by embracing the full Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud Platform by building on top of the data collected in Google Analytics 4.  
Ken Williams

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