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Data Collection Guidelines: Extracting Quality Data from Google Analytics 4

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In the age of Digital Analytics, Google Analytics for data collection has become an essential tool for measuring website traffic, analyzing user behaviour, and tracking the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. In Google Analytics 4 (GA4), data collecting is essential since it forms the basis for developing insights and making decisions about your website or app. GA4 utilises various tracking techniques, such as server-side tagging, GTM, data import, and the implementation of tracking code. But it is important to collect high-quality data in order to make accurate and effective business decisions. 

In Google Analytics 4, there are several best practices you can follow to ensure that you are collecting high-quality data. Here is the step-by-step process:

Defining KPIs: Firstly, Before collecting any data, it’s essential to define clear goals and objectives for your website or app. This will help you identify the metrics you need to track and collect data on and ensure you measure what’s important keeping these in mind Tatvic sends a pre-kick-off questionnaire form with the client having all the prerequisites needed to start such as business KPIs, internal IPs, referral domains to exclude, any cross domains or sub-domains if they have.

Set up tracking correctly: The next step is to collecting quality data is to ensure that your tracking is set up correctly. It is essential to ensure accurate data capture whether the tracking is done through a native code base method or through any plugins, SDK, or GTM.

Each method has its own standard rules or format that needs to be followed like in the native code base implementation the tracking code should be placed as high as possible in the head section of the code this will ensure accurate user interaction, accurate calculation of important metrics such as page load time, time on page, etc. 

While configuring events for google analytics data collection there are predefined rules which need to be followed to get correct reporting such as:

  • Event names are case-sensitive. For example, sign_up and Sign_up are two different events.
  • Do not use event names similar to automatically collected events.
  • Event names must start with a letter. Use only letters, numbers, and underscores. Don’t use spaces.

To track significant user interactions, Tatvic creates an Event Schema document based on the client’s business KPIs while adhering to all the aforementioned guidelines.

Configuration settings: Once you have setup your data correctly, this section regulates how Google attributes your marketing data, how long it keeps user-based data, and how the session timeout configuration is handled. Because the default settings are generalized they need to be changed according to your business requirements like the default session timeout duration is 30 min but for an OTT platform where the average video length is of 2hrs 30 min session timeout would give an erroneous session count and bounce rate. 

Also, with more and more users accessing websites and apps on multiple devices, it’s important to track user behavior across devices. Cross-device tracking can help you understand how users interact with your website or app across different devices and platforms.

Adequate filters and segments: Now, Filters and segments can help you analyze and make sense of the data you collect. Use filters to exclude data from certain IP addresses or internal traffic, bot traffic, and segments to isolate specific groups of users or behavior patterns. Spam and bot traffic can skew your data and make it difficult to draw accurate conclusions. You can also set up bot filtering in your GA4 settings to automatically exclude bot traffic. 

Create useful custom dimensions and matrices: Since you have now all the required data in your GA4 property, Custom dimensions, and metrics will allow you to collect additional information about the user that is specific to your website or app like we in tatvic create custom dimensions like user_type, membership_status, etc which give information about logged-in and guest user or whether the user is a prime member or not that help to know deeper insights about user behavior. This can include things like user preferences, user behavior, or other unique data points that can help you better understand your audience.

Follow data privacy regulations: Ensure that you are collecting and storing user data in compliance with data privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. Be sure to obtain user consent for data collection and follow best practices for data security.

Now how to maintain the consistency of quality data collection?

The following steps will assist you in maintaining the quality of the data you have collected after following all the above-mentioned guidelines.

Leveraging machine learning for Anomaly: Even with the best tracking setup, data anomalies can still occur. It is important to monitor your data on a regular basis to ensure that it is accurate and consistent. Look out for sudden spikes or drops in traffic, as well as changes in user behavior. GA4 offers advanced machine-learning capabilities that can help you identify patterns and insights in your data. Take advantage of these features to uncover valuable insights and make data-driven decisions. In Tatvic we set custom insights like user count, engaged session, etc as per the client’s KPIs and monitor the same periodically to check if any unusual user behavior occurs.

Periodic Audit: It’s important to regularly audit your data to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date. This can involve checking for duplicate or incomplete data, verifying that tracking codes are working correctly, and ensuring that goals and events are set up correctly.

Concluding Thoughts 

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you are following a tried and tested google analytics data collection process and collecting accurate and meaningful data that can help you optimize your website or app and improve your overall business performance.

In conclusion, collecting quality data in Google Analytics 4 requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following these best practices, you can ensure that you are collecting accurate and actionable data that can help drive business decisions.

Picture of Durga Chouhan

Durga Chouhan

Durga is a GAIQ certified Data Analytics consultant and works as a Customer Success Manager at Tatvic Analytics. She has trained clients on Google Analytics and is passionate about using data interpretation and analysis to create business solutions.

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