How to Harness the Power of Google Analytics 4 on Shopify

James Kirkby
June 29, 2023

Alright, e-commerce titans, let’s cut to the chase. You’re here because you want to know how to set up Google Analytics 4 (GA4) on your Shopify store, and I’m here to give you the lowdown. But first, let’s get some context.

What is Google Analytics 4?

GA4 is like the Tesla of analytics - it’s the future, baby! It’s the latest version of Google Analytics and it’s here to change the game. Unlike its predecessor, Universal Analytics, GA4 is all about event-based data. This means it’s not just about sessions anymore; GA4 wants to know everything that’s happening on your site. It’s like having a personal assistant that keeps tabs on your customers' every move (in a non-creepy way).

GA4 collects data from both websites and apps, giving you a more holistic view of how customers interact with your brand. It’s designed for the future of measurement, with privacy controls such as cookieless measurement, and behavioral and conversion modeling. Plus, its predictive capabilities are like having a crystal ball for your business.

What Makes GA4 Different from Universal Analytics?

Imagine Universal Analytics as a flip phone and GA4 as the latest smartphone. Both make calls, but one does a heck of a lot more. GA4’s event-based data gives you insights into the customer journey like never before. Plus, it’s got predictive capabilities that are like having a crystal ball for your business. And let’s not forget about the privacy controls - GA4 is all about respecting customer data.

GA4 is also more flexible and customizable. You can tailor the data and reports to your specific needs, whether you’re trying to understand user behavior, measure content performance, or track conversions.

How to Switch from Universal Analytics to GA4 as a Shopify Store Owner

Alright, let’s get down to business. Universal Analytics is taking its final bow on July 1, 2023. So, if you’re still on Universal Analytics, it’s time to make the switch before it turns into a pumpkin.

Here’s how you can make the switch like a pro:

  1. Create a Google Analytics Account and GA4 Property: Head over to the Google Analytics website and sign up with your Google account. If you don’t have one, create it. Once you’re in, navigate to the Admin section, click on “Create Property”, and select GA4. Give your property a name, and set the reporting time zone and currency.
  2. Add GA4 Tags to Shopify Using Shopify Google App: To connect GA4 to Shopify, you need to use the Shopify Google App. Install the app from the Shopify App Store. Once installed, open the app and follow the instructions to connect your GA4 property to Shopify. This will involve selecting your Google account and granting permissions. Make sure you select the GA4 property you created earlier.
  3. Use the Setup Assistant: GA4 has a Setup Assistant that guides you through the configuration process. It’s like having a personal trainer for GA4. It will help you carry over settings from Universal Analytics to GA4. Make sure to mark all tasks as completed to ensure that the property is fully set up.
  4. Add a Data Stream: Data streams are the heart of GA4. Go to your GA4 property, click on “Data Streams” under “Data Settings”. Click on “Add stream” and select “Web”. Enter your website URL and name your stream. This will start collecting data from your website.
  5. Link Google Analytics to Google Ads: If you’re using Google Ads, this is a must-do. Go to your GA4 property, click on “Linked Accounts” under “Property”, and then link your Google Ads account. This will allow you to see how your ads are performing and how users are interacting with your site after clicking on your ads.
  6. Confirm Data Collection: You need to make sure that data is being collected. In your GA4 property, click on “Realtime” on the left-hand side. If you see data coming in, you’re golden! If not, double-check your setup. DebugView is another tool you can use to monitor events from a browser or mobile device, which is especially useful during setup.

How to Use Google Analytics 4 When You Were Used to Using Universal Analytics

So, you’ve made the switch. Now what? It’s time to take GA4 for a spin.

  1. Understand Event-Based Data: GA4 is all about events. Go to your GA4 property, click on “Events” in the left-hand menu. Here you can see all the events that GA4 is tracking. You can also create custom events that are specific to your business, such as product clicks, form submissions, and more. Spend time understanding what each event means and how it can provide insights into your customers' behavior.
  2. Use Predictive Capabilities: GA4 can predict future behavior based on past data. Go to your GA4 property, click on “Analysis” and then “Analysis Hub”. Create a new analysis and explore the predictive metrics. For instance, you can use predictive metrics to identify which users are likely to make a purchase in the next seven days. This is powerful stuff, so use it wisely!
  3. Customize Your Analytics: You can create custom dimensions and metrics in GA4. Go to your GA4 property, click on “Custom Definitions” under “Configure”. Here you can create custom dimensions and metrics that are specific to your business. This allows you to tailor your reports and analysis to your specific needs.
  4. Monitor in Real-Time: Real-time monitoring is crucial, especially during promotions or events. Go to your GA4 property and click on “Realtime” in the left-hand menu. This allows you to see how users are interacting with your site right now, which can help you make quick decisions.
  5. Dive into Reports and Explorations: GA4 offers a plethora of reports. Go to your GA4 property, click on “Reports” in the left-hand menu, and start exploring. The Acquisition, Engagement, Monetization, and Retention reports are particularly useful. Spend time understanding what each report means and how it can provide insights into your business.

Wrapping It Up Like a Boss

Alright, e-commerce warriors, that’s the skinny on setting up GA4 on Shopify. It’s not just about setting it up, it’s about using it to its full potential. GA4 is like a goldmine of data waiting to be tapped.

Remember, data is power. But only if you know how to wield it. So, get in there, set up GA4, and start making data-driven decisions that will catapult your Shopify store to new heights.

And as you embark on this journey, channel your inner Sherlock Holmes, be inquisitive, and don’t be afraid to experiment. The e-commerce world is your oyster, and GA4 is your shiny new tool to crack it open.

Now go forth and conquer! Your customers are waiting, and with GA4 by your side, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

Need help setting Google Analytics 4 up?

If you need help getting your Google Analytics 4 up and running, send me an email at and I will take a look at your setup.

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