Google Analytics 4 Integrations, Explained
Google Analytics 4 integrations are software connections that send data between Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and other apps.
They help us pull GA4’s rich website interaction data into the apps we regularly use in business operations. This way, we can make more informed decisions on improving our website traffic numbers, conversions, and sales (to start with).
With the recent sundown of Google Universal Analytics, there aren’t many apps that offer native GA4 integrations, but there are still other ways of integrating with GA4 if the apps you’re using don’t offer such an option.
Let’s take a deeper look at what GA4 integrations can do, how they differ from now-defunct Universal Analytics integrations, and how we can build them.
Which integrations are available in the Google Analytics 4 API?
Google currently offers official analytics APIs for:
Managing GA4 accounts.
Getting GA4 report data.
With Make, we can leverage these APIs to build all kinds of GA4 integrations.
An example would be an integration that registers new GA4 events when website visitors subscribe to our Mailchimp email list:
We can also have a GA4 integration that sends daily GA4 reports to our Slack channel:
As you can see, these are basic, two-step integrations that you can build in a matter of minutes, but the possibilities don’t end there.
You can connect as many apps as you want in Make, and process GA4 data automatically to fit your needs.
Google Analytics 4 integrations benefits
By integrating GA4 with other apps, we can apply its advanced analytics capabilities in other apps to enhance our business operations.
For instance, we can:
Get insights into ecommerce customer interactions, such as the number of users visiting our Shopify store and their customer journeys (we’ll dig deeper into GA4 integrations for ecommerce below).
Receive customized GA4 reports in our preferred app, such as Slack or Gmail, at a regular schedule. We won’t have to go through the hassle of logging into GA4 to view these reports or share access keys to the platform with other people.
Increase our return on investment in online ads. If we integrate GA4 with Google Ads, we can use GA4’s audience data to personalize the Google ads we display to users. We can also track the entire ad conversion funnel, from the first ad click to the eventual conversion, and identify opportunities for reducing funnel abandonment along the way.
Insights, customized data, secure access, and better ROI constitute the main benefits of creating and deploying GA4 integrations.
What are the differences between Universal Analytics integrations and Google Analytics 4 integrations?
The multiple differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics are still a matter of heated discussion, and as expected, there are also important differences between these product versions when it comes to integrations.
The three main ones include:
1. Event-based vs. session-based tracking
Universal Analytics tracked user interactions over blocks of time called “sessions.” Sessions can expire in various ways, such as:
After 30 minutes of inactivity.
A user visiting our website via a different campaign (even if they had already started a session on it).
As a result, sessions don’t always provide the full story of how users interact with our website. The same user could inadvertently start multiple sessions on our website, causing Universal Analytics to falsely report that multiple unique users have visited it.
In contrast, GA4 tracks interactions based on website events. These events include the first time a user visits our website, or when a user submits a form.
So, it doesn’t matter whether a person visited our website via different means, or whether they took a more than 30-minute break in between browsing it. GA4 can still attribute the events they’ve triggered on our website to them.
This helps our GA4 integrations deliver more accurate insights on website user behavior as we aim to optimize conversions.
2. Track data from multiple data streams
While Universal Analytics is limited to tracking website data, GA4 can track data coming in from both our website and apps.
As a result, our GA4 integrations can report on how users engage with our various web assets, especially when they jump between different assets before converting to one of them.
3. Differences in definitions of metrics
Some Universal Analytics metrics are now measured differently in GA4, leading to possible discrepancies between the data both platforms report.
Here’s how Universal Analytics and GA4 calculate their primary Users metric, respectively:
Universal Analytics: The total number of users.
GA4: The number of active users. Among other possible criteria, a user can be considered “active” if they have spent at least 10 seconds on your website.
Given the narrower definition of Users in GA4, we may see our GA4 integrations recording lower user counts than our Universal Analytics ones.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the GA4 is more inaccurate than its predecessor; it’s simply presenting a different picture of our website users.
Google Analytics 4 integrations for ecommerce
By integrating GA4 with our ecommerce platform, we can understand how users engage with our products, and therefore get ideas for generating more sales.
For example, we can set up a purchase event to track purchases and the flow of pages users go through before making a purchase.
Then, if we see many users dropping off at one point of the customer journey, we can take steps to reduce the sales friction present at that exact step.
The result? We optimize our ecommerce sales funnel for higher conversions and revenue.
Many ecommerce platforms, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce, offer native integrations for connecting GA4 with stores built on them.
If so, setting up a GA4 integration may be as simple as adding our GA4 Measurement ID to our ecommerce platform settings. Check your ecommerce platform’s support articles for the exact steps!
How to create a Google Analytics 4 integration
The most straightforward way of creating a GA4 integration is to use a native integration where available.
A word of caution though: Native integrations are often 2-step or 2-app integrations, and thus quite limited.
For more complex, expanding integrations and automations, other alternatives should be considered.
Option 1: Code through the Google Analytics 4 API
Directly sending code requests to the GA4 API provides the most flexibility as to the scope of integrations we can build.
However, coding through the API will require some degree of coding knowledge. In addition, costs and deployment times can easily skyrocket as integrations become more complex.
Option 2: Build your Google Analytics 4 integration with Make
So let’s say that your app doesn’t offer a native GA4 integration and that weeks (or even months) of programming aren’t your cup of tea.
In this case, building your integration with Make is the right approach for getting it off the ground in a no-code, fuss-free manner.
Make offers a visual editor where creating a GA4 integration involves dragging and dropping app modules into a scenario, and customizing their settings.
For example, if we wanted to build a GA4 integration that sends daily GA4 reports to Slack, we’d set up a Make scenario that generates a report in GA4 and creates a message containing the GA4 report in Slack.
With Make, we can integrate GA4 with 1,500+ apps to effortlessly build any integration that the GA4 API can support.
Filters and routers also let us customize our integration to take different actions based on the situations it encounters.
Enrich your business workflows with Google Analytics 4 data
While GA4 has unlocked greater visibility into user interactions on our website, tapping into GA4 integrations can help us get even more out of this powerful analytics platform.
Where native GA4 integrations are unavailable or incapable of fulfilling your use case, use Make to plug the gaps. You’ll love how its intuitive visual editor simplifies the process of building custom GA4 integrations, whether you’re a non-coder or a veteran programmer wanting to ship your integration quicker.
Sign up for a Make account here to start building your GA4 integrations before any valuable data gets siloed!