5 Holiday Wishes for GA4

Harrison Mateika - November 13, 2023

The holidays are just around the corner. Therefore, many will be writing out a list of gifts for loved ones (or perhaps Santa). GA4 users, on the other hand, likely have their own list of wishes that they would like to give to Santa Google this holiday season. As we all stare in wonderment at the brightest star in the night (or perhaps an Explore report on a computer screen), there are many wishes that many of us would like to see for GA4. Here are a few wishes that would definitely help to improve GA4:

A More Detailed Realtime Report

The Realtime report on GA4 features many of the attributes that were available on Universal Analytics (UA), including access to users by location, what pages were viewed in the past 30 minutes, and the types of events and conversions performed in the last 30 minutes. However, despite the similarities, the GA4 Realtime report lacks the depth and availability of information that was available to UA.

The most glaring example is that Realtime reports feature data from the past 30 minutes rather than data coming in by the second. This feature loss is likely by design, since this feature can technically be enabled by utilizing DebugView. However, DebugView only allows users to view events by singular devices rather than getting the whole picture of where users are on the site and what events are being performed second by second. While it is not always an issue, there are moments when that feature is missed. Google can’t (nor should it) turn back the clock on its Realtime report. However, adopting the same philosophy as UA regarding their Realtime report would be beneficial.

Other ideas for the GA4 Realtime report include adding the ability to see views by the Page Path dimension and getting to see Users by session acquisition, in addition to first user acquisition.

Allow for Audience Remarketing without Enabling Google Signals

GA4 Audiences can only be remarketed to on Google Ads if Google Signals is enabled. For the majority of industries, this isn’t an issue. However, for more privacy-concerned industries like healthcare or financial services, legal concerns about activating Google Signals often come up. It would be beneficial if Google could find a way to allow for some form of remarketing to these analytics audiences to help accommodate users within those industries.

A Longer Data Retention Time for Explore and Funnel Reports (for non-GA4 360 Users)

Data Retention on GA4 currently has a maximum time of 14 months for standard users. Even though this data is thankfully available on the Reports tab, it’s a shame that more isn’t available on the Explore tab for a deeper use of analytics techniques. Many companies that don’t want to invest the high price tag for GA4 360 would appreciate if GA4 expanded the Data Retention to 26 months, allowing users a 2-year window to take advantage of their data collected.

Allow Users to Change the Order of Collections on the Left Tab

A really nice feature of the Reports section is the ability to create custom overview and detailed reports and bucket them within collections and topics. These collections can be published and are accessible on the left tab. Even though the order of reports and the order of topics can be changed within collections, GA4 currently does not allow users to change the order that collections are displayed on the left tab. This seems like an easy improvement to make and it would give users the ability to fully customize and organize their GA4 data reports. This could help users potentially provide a reporting structure that makes the most sense for their organization.

Transparency on the Release of Future Features or Interface Changes

It’s jarring to wake up one morning, open a computer, and enter a GA4 property only to find that the entire Admin interface has changed. Yes, it definitely can be something that could be for the better in the long run, but it would have been preferable to have the option to test a Preview of the new look before it was fully implemented (similar to how Microsoft changes their Office applications). Furthermore, while it is often a pleasant surprise to see new minor features appear, it would be helpful if these new features were announced before implementation. Google often does an excellent job of providing ample notice to GA4 users before certain features are taken away. Applying that same philosophy to added features or interface changes would be beneficial.

At the end of the day, GA4 is still a great tool despite its quirks. If you need assistance figuring out how the platform works, or require any help with reporting and configuration please contact us at info@morevisibility.com.

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