You are reading the article Google Analytics 4 Backlash: Ga4 “Sucks” And Is “Horrible” updated in December 2023 on the website Achiashop.com. We hope that the information we have shared is helpful to you. If you find the content interesting and meaningful, please share it with your friends and continue to follow and support us for the latest updates. Suggested January 2024 Google Analytics 4 Backlash: Ga4 “Sucks” And Is “Horrible”GA4 is Difficult to Use
A common complaint about GA4 is that it is difficult to use. Some search marketers noted that GA4 seems geared for use by enterprise level users more than smaller businesses.
Dave Davies (@beanstalkim) is a search marketing expert and co-host of the Webcology Search Marketing podcast, a person one would expect to be a brand evangelist for Google’s products but even Dave was tweeting his negative experience with GA4.
It was startling to see his recent tweet proclaiming that “GA4 sucks” because the user interface is not intuitive and is difficult to use.
Dave noted that commonly used features are buried within the user interface as if purposely making it difficult to access.
— Dave Davies (@beanstalkim) June 23, 2023
Another search marketer Called GA4 HORRIBLE (in caps) and complained that basic features were now difficult to access, mirroring Dave Davie’s observation about the unintuitive user interface.
Website owners, is it just me or is the new GA4 @googleanalytics just HORRIBLE? It’s like it’s designed only for retail sites or something, very hard to get the basic info that I used to rely on… Think I’ll switch back! Awful!
— Trevor Long (@trevorlong) June 23, 2023
Another search marketer agreed that the word “horrible” accurately described the new Google Analytics 4.
The marketer wished they hadn’t wasted so much time trying to familiarize themselves with the poor user interface.
It was also noted that third party add-ons still don’t work.GA4 is Described as Horrible
It is horrible. I wish I switched back earlier. Tried to get used to the interface and new menus for months. Still can’t get around them + some third party services don’t work with GA4
— Michael Aulia 🇦🇺 (@michaelaulia) June 23, 2023GA4 is Described as “Awful”
I was just having this conversation with someone. It’s awful! Try tracking events with GTM and GA4. I’m giving up and going back to Universal.
— Stephanie Lummis (@stephanielummis) June 22, 2023GA4 Described as Unusable
— Victor Jónsson (@victorjonsson) June 22, 2023GA4 Might Bring Users to Tears
A series of tweets noted how it was difficult to use and had her on the edge of crying and questioned Google’s commitment to small businesses.
I wonder if this move means that GA decided to simply ditch small business owners and cater only to big websites & companies. I was also thinking if they stop supporting Universal tag, I’ll be looking for a different solution.
— Gill Andrews (@StoriesWithGill) June 22, 2023
Half an hour later, and I still don’t know how to see how many homepage visits we had. Why, GA4, why??!!
— Gill Andrews (@StoriesWithGill) June 22, 2023
I usually can find my way round any piece of software quickly. But Google Analytics 4 is making me cry…
— Gill Andrews (@StoriesWithGill) June 22, 2023GA4 is So Complex You Need a Manual to Use It?
Another tweet (unintentionally) underlined how complex GA4 has become.
The article is well written but one has to wonder about the utility of any user interface that requires 1,400 words and screenshots to learn how to use it.
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) June 19, 2023Google Analytics 4 Not Ready for General Use?
Other search marketers expressed their opinions that GA4 is a mess and not ready for “prime time” while also expressing hope hope that Google will fix the issues.
Okay, let’s talk about #UTM in #GA4
— Andreas Ramos (@Andreas_Ramos) June 17, 2023
Yet others expressed less hope, tweeting that GA4 seems to have been rushed out and that it was giving them post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a disorder that is triggered by traumatic events.
She listed some of the Google services she had adopted in the past that were subsequently abandoned, expressing a lack of enthusiasm for adopting GA4.
One of the reasons for the lack of enthusiasm is what she noted as GA4 not being “error free.”
Hey, I was there for G+, Google Talk, Picasa, Google Notebook…. and now… GA4. 😳 I have Google PTSD. ❣️the Big G & #digitalmarketing pays m’bills, but getting excited about another tool, still fresh, not error free, & may be dropped in another couple of months isn’t my bag
— Jahnelle Seaman (@jrpittman) June 21, 2023
The negative feedback about Google Analytics 4 is that it’s not ready and that it was rushed out in a state that still needed improvement.
One user said it was not ready for prime time. Prime time is a phrase that references the time period in the evening when most people watch television.
To say that something is not ready for prime time is to communicate that something is not yet ready for use.
Thanks for identifying this issue. Real bummer. GA4 is so not ready for primetime.
— Jen Boland (@jenboland) June 22, 2023
GA4 is getting closer, and the BQ integration is a really big deal.
But, yes, GA4 isn’t primetime ready yet. I fully agree.
And the GTM integration would really benefit from functionality that parallels GA3.
— Dr. Analytics Ninja, PhD (@AnalyticsNinja) June 22, 2023Not All the Feedback was Negative
Some people on Twitter offered positive words for GA4. But even their hopeful tweets contained negative feedback that noted how the user interface was “overly complicated.”
Just upgraded to Google Analytics 4. Not a fun process and it looks overly complicated.
— Yuyu (@swSalim) June 23, 2023
New services can sometimes have a rocky launch. No doubt many people are experiencing that with Google Analytics 4.
Intuitive design has never been one of Google’s strong points and if all the people complaining on Twitter (and Facebook) are to be believed, GA4 may represent a benchmark in how bad a Google product user friendliness can get.
You're reading Google Analytics 4 Backlash: Ga4 “Sucks” And Is “Horrible”
Google announced it’s enabling the integration of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) properties with AdSense accounts.
This update allows AdSense data to be available in GA4 reports and explorations, providing a more comprehensive view of website performance.Connecting GA4 & AdSense
The merger of AdSense data with other website analytics, such as traffic sources and user behavior, provides a comprehensive understanding of website performance.
You can use this information to identify patterns and insights that can help optimize ad revenue.
Automatically collecting these events for each ad can increase the number of billable events for 360 properties, providing an accurate report of ad interactions.
This eliminates discrepancies previously seen with the integration between Universal Analytics and AdSense.How To Do It
Follow the steps below to link an Analytics property to your AdSense account:
Sign in to your AdSense account.
Select the property that you want to link from the list.
Your property is now linked to AdSense.How It All Works
The GA4 and AdSense integration operates through key processes, including shared IDs, automatically collected events, and data joining.
For the integration to function, GA4 and AdSense tags communicate using shared IDs to match each ad impression with its corresponding GA4 event.
This inter-tag communication ensures the logged IDs are the same between GA4 and AdSense for a single event and its corresponding ad impression.
GA4 collects specific events automatically via the Google tag.
Moreover, GA4 joins its data with AdSense log files using shared IDs to match AdSense data with Analytics data.
The information and configuration settings, available when each event occurs, are utilized in this integration process.
Once the AdSense reporting integration is set up, the AdSense revenue data becomes available in the Explorations main menu in the GA4 property.Dealing With Data Discrepancies
Despite the improved integration, there may be discrepancies between reports in the AdSense account and those in the AdSense section of Analytics.
These can be caused by iframes, security or other blocking software, new AdSense/Analytics integration, timezone settings, and missing Analytics data.
Ensure the Google tag is set up correctly on your website and allow up to 24 hours for data to appear in reports after linking your AdSense and Analytics accounts.In Summary
The integration of GA4 and AdSense offers a wealth of data insights.
Despite the potential for optimizing website performance and ad revenue, be wary of limitations.
Approach this integration with an understanding of its benefits, drawbacks, and potential for data discrepancies.
Featured image: M-Production/Shutterstock
We all know that running marketing campaigns is not an easy task. But it gets even more difficult if we are not able to measure their performance.
This becomes quite a problem with so many different platforms, campaigns, ad types, and creatives.
By the end of this post, you will be able to refresh your knowledge of how UTM tracking works in general and how to track UTM codes in Google Analytics 4. We’ll be looking at:
Another day, another topic to learn about in the analytics verse. So, let’s get started!What is UTM Tracking and Why is it Important?
UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes are the snippets that are attached at the end of the URLs to give the sources of your traffic more precisely including some required (and important data) like source, medium, and campaign.
In GA4, we can get data for 8 UTM parameters (more on this in the next section). These parameters can prove quite helpful in analyzing the performance of different traffic sources and/or any marketing campaigns.
Let’s try to understand it with an example. We at Measureschool are running a paid Cyber Monday campaign on Facebook and we want to know how it is doing in Google Analytics.
This is how our URL will look with the three required UTM parameters:
If we just knew that the traffic is coming from Facebook, we wouldn’t be able to judge the performance of our paid Cyber Monday campaign.
Similarly, if we add more parameters about the campaign, content, or the type of ad(s) being used, then we can pinpoint their performance.
These codes do not affect how the page performs or its speed. They give us useful information about our marketing campaigns as well as ultimately help with the attribution, and that’s why they are important.What are UTM Parameters?
UTM parameters are the codes that provide us with important additional information with their keys holding the value we add.
These parameters have three required sources as we discussed above. Others are optional, but using them can give even more information and put things in perspective.
In UA, we have 5 parameters, and GA4 now has 3 additional parameters, which takes the total to 8.
Here are the 8 UTM parameters available in Google Analytics 4:1. Source
This required parameter tells us where traffic originates from and is important to do any kind of analysis. Commonly tracked sources are Google, Facebook, Bing, Linkedin, and Email list. E.g., utm_source=Google, utm_source=OctNewsletter.2. Medium
This parameter tells more about the type of traffic we receive since now we know the origin of traffic in the source. Commonly used ones are PPC, paid_social, social, organic, email, referral, and so on. E.g., utm_medium=ppc, utm_medium=email.3. Campaign
If you want to track an individual campaign’s performance, then this is the parameter that will help you. It’s commonly used to measure the performance of Facebook, Emails, and any other such campaigns on a platform. E.g. utm_campaign=blackfriday22, utm_campaign=halloween22.
Additional parameters from here onwards are all optional but can be very helpful with attribution and drawing rich insights from your data.4. Term
This parameter is mainly used for Google Ads (paid search) than any other platform and helps you to know which keywords brought a website visitor to your site. E.g. utm_term=digital_analytics.5. Content
The following three UTM parameters are only available in GA4.6. Source Platform
The parameter tells us about the platform that sent the traffic to our site and it collects the values of Google Ads, Manual, Shopping Free Listings, Search Ads 360, and Display & Video 360. E.g. utm_source_platform=GoogleAds.7. Creative Format
As the name suggests, this parameter helps to understand what type of creative you’re using, e.g. display, video, native, search, etc. Similar to the utm_content, we can use this parameter to differentiate between the creatives as well. E.g. utm_creative_format: image_mountain.8. Marketing Tactic
This is more about how you’ve done your targeting, i.e., remarketing, prospecting, etc. You can also use it for other information like bidding strategies, more details on audiences, etc. E.g. utm_marketing_tactic=remarketing_180days.
🚨 Note: The utm_creative_format and utm_marketing_tactic parameters are currently unavailable in GA4 reports.How to Create UTM Codes? Google’s Campaign URL Builder
The most commonly used tool is Google’s campaign URL builder, where you can simply copy and paste the original URL and then type in the UTM parameters to get a final URL below that you can use for your campaigns.
🚨 Note: Make sure to select the web tab if you’re creating UTMs for the web.Measureschool’s UTM Tool
We also have our UTM tool in the form of Google Sheets that you can use. Simply save it as a copy and start using it.
This tool will also help you to keep a track of all the UTM-tagged URLs in one place and you won’t have to copy-paste it from other tools every time you create one.
The ‘Campaign Tagging Tool’ tab is where you can create UTMs, whereas the ‘Examples’ tab will help you get started with some good examples.
Here’s a quick snapshot of how it looks:
There are also other freely available web tools to create UTMs that you can check out on the internet before settling on one of them.
Whatever tool you use is only as good as how effectively you tag the URLs to see the relevant data in GA4. More on that in the last section.Where to See UTM Data in GA4?
UTM data can be seen in the standard Reports under Acquisition in all three places:
User acquisition: First user default channel grouping
Traffic acquisitionAcquisition Overview User acquisition: First user default channel grouping Traffic acquisition
This report works similarly to the First user report above but is focused on the sessions. You might see some additional options to add in for the secondary dimension, as well.
In a similar method, I’ve used Session content as a secondary dimension to see the UTM data which is only available for row 9.
Apart from these standard reports, don’t forget that you can also play around in the Explore section of GA4 to create custom reports with UTM data that might suit your needs.Best Practices for UTM-Tagging
As you can see in the last example above, most of the source/medium had (not set) for Session content and this comes down to how the URLs were tagged.
Following are some best practices to make the most out of our campaign data. Let’s discuss some important ones.
Keep it Simple – Use easy-to-understand names for your campaigns, content, and keywords. Keeping UTMs close to GA4’s default channel grouping names could also be quite helpful.
Who created the URL – Adding the name of the person who created the UTM links would make it easy to go back to them in case of any questions, as well as to understand their logic.
Lowercase vs Uppercase – Decide whether to use lowercase or uppercase to create UTM links. It’s recommended to use lowercase, though.
Following these practices will not only help you get clean data in GA4 but also make it easier for other users to make sense of the data even when you’re not there.FAQ How do I create UTM codes?
There are various ways to create UTM codes. One popular method is using Google’s Campaign URL Builder, where you can input the original URL and add the UTM parameters. Alternatively, you can use tools like Measureschool’s UTM Tool in Google Sheets or explore other freely available web tools to generate UTM codes.Where can I see UTM data in Google Analytics 4?
UTM data can be viewed in the standard Acquisition reports in Google Analytics 4. Specifically, you can find it in the Acquisition Overview, User Acquisition: First User Default Channel Grouping, and Traffic Acquisition reports. Additionally, you can create custom reports using UTM data in the Explore section of GA4.What are some best practices for UTM-tagging?
Here are some best practices for UTM-tagging:Summary
We’ve now established how to track UTM codes in GA4 along with a basic understanding of what they are, why UTM tracking is important, where to find UTM data in GA4, and some best practices to help us make the most of our data.
Following Google’s default channel groups for naming conventions is a good place to start and you can read more about them in our how to use GA4 default channel grouping article.
Every website owner needs to be using Google Analytics. It’s what helps us identify our problems, successes, and future content opportunities. The amazing Google did it again. They just came out with real time reports for ‘Events’. This allows those of us, who are Analytics fans, to get a better idea of what is happening right now on our websites. It’s like tuning in for a TV show. Some webmasters are pretty excited as they’ll be able to quickly identify problems and successes; rather than having to wait several hours.
The new features are:
Shortcuts for your important real-time segments
Comparison real-time to overall data
Content Breakdown by Device (mobile, tablet, desktop)
Real-time Events Report
1. Real-time segment shortcuts
We all know that there are certain segments that interest us more than others. Here we have the opportunity to create shortcuts to our favorite segments without having to create the filters each time. Such a time saver!
2. Comparison real-time to overall data
This feature is just fantastic. We can now analyze pageviews and overall traffic side by side. Google is allowing us to create filters here. This will allow us to look at where the pageviews are coming from and see its direct impact on our traffic numbers.
3. Content Breakdown by Device (mobile, tablet, desktop)
This is by far my new favorite Analytics perk. Knowing where my visitors come from allows me to identify opportunities and problems with my content. Each device brings with it a certain type of behavior. People on desktop act differently than those who use their phone or even tablet.
Google will tell you which percentage is coming from which device. 🙂
4. Real-time Events Report
You’ll want to set up Event Actions,Event Labels, and filters to make this happen.
Google is still innovating the way we see the data on our websites. These new features will most certainly help us have a better idea of what is really happening on our website. It will help us identify areas for improvement.
What do you think of the new changes?
Google is the central force for online tools and services, but the fact of the matter is, even with good tools you are bound to have questions or need further support. The Partner Gallery Feature, which incorporates both Google Partners and Apps, was created with this in mind. Ultimately, the Google Analytics Partner Gallery makes it easier to search for solutions to everyday problems.
If you’re looking for something new in 2023 to improve your online strategy, it’s a great place to start.How Google Analytics Partner Gallery Works
Initially, Google created a search tool called the “App Gallery” and the Partner Gallery was designed as a re-launch of this (different name, but similar concept). While it isn’t talked about a lot in the online community, it can be a very useful tool to get the technical support you need, especially as a small business.
In different situations you need different kinds of support. Sometimes this may be an app or another type of service assistance. The main difference between the “App Gallery” (as well as other past systems) and the Partner Gallery is the ability to search for different types of support in one place.
The screen shot above is the initial search screen on the home page for the Google Analytics Partner Gallery. Note that you can now search for both partners and solutions in one place. Consider how the two main features work below.The Partner Gallery Features Services by Google Analytics Certified Partners
The search to find an answer to your question about website testing, conversion optimization, or analytics starts with a GA certified partner. The Partner Gallery utilizes certified partners who go through a rigorous application process to offer support for these areas of expertise. The Google Partners Badge (and certification badges alike such as the The Adwords Certification + Analytics certification) is a great trust symbol that reputable SEO providers use to help build confidence in their website visitors and prospects. GA uses both individual experts or an entire companies who earn their partner verified badge after completing the application and being deemed useful for the Partner Gallery Feature. What this means is that your questions are guaranteed to get the best of the best to respond. Below is a screenshot that shows how you can scroll through some possible Partners:
As you can see in the screen shot above, you are able to search by category and location (to make visiting an office more convenient) when you are searching for a specific service such as “web design” or “ppc management services.” As with searching for other businesses on Google, you can also see how they are rated on a 5-star scale.Apps by Google Analytics Technology Partners
This is the “app” component. The Partner Gallery uses a list of applications that work directly with analytics by either extending the features of Google Analytics or to help support Analytics by complimenting some of the features. These apps are generally made by third-party companies who again, go through a rigorous approval process, as opposed to being developed by Google.
Once you are at the Partner Gallery you have the option of choosing between services (i.e. certified partner support) or add-on technology (i.e. Google Analytics technology partners). Similar to the services search page, you are able to search by category to refine the options that come up on the results page. Additionally, you are able to search by both ‘paid’ and ‘free’ apps. There are several really great free applications, and of course, some that are definitely worth paying for.Summer 2014 Features Update to the Google Analytics Partner Gallery
The newest update took place in June 2014 and combined the Apps and Services in one platform. The whole goal of this was to make it easier for companies to find what they need and the exact kind of support they are looking for faster than before. Google Analytics did a lot with the features available, some of which you can see in the screenshots presented above.
In the most recent summer update, the most notable new features were:
A new look and layout that is clean and easy to navigate
New category selection
Partners are now sorted based on your location, making it easier to find service offices near you
There were also other features incorporated in the new update, such as:
Screenshots and videos in order to better understand how certain apps work
Comments and ratings to review user experiences and show feedback
The new features and layout makes it a lot easier to sort through different partners and find what you need. One of the best features of the new update is definitely the incorporation of searching by location. If you have the desire to visit the office of the support expert you are speaking with, or you feel it may be beneficial to meet in person, than you are able to do so with this feature.Do You Have What it Takes to be Part of the Actual Gallery?
The Google Analytics Partner Gallery is always looking for new consultants and businesses to participate, especially since it’s not well-known by many people. You can visit their page here to learn more about the requirements and the benefits.
To become a Google Analytics Certified Partner, you must be qualified and have expertise with Google Analytics. As I said earlier, Google takes this component seriously and their Partners go through a significant application process. Additionally, if you think you may qualify to be a Technology Partner, they look for partners that offer applications that integrate with and/or complement Google Analytics.
This is a great addition to your business plan and involvement with Google Analytics, so definitely consider this if you think you may be a good fit.The Takeaway
The Partner Gallery, especially with the new and updated features, is one of the best options for consulting about analytics (and its features) for businesses. While it is not a hot topic of online conversation just yet, its new developments and features make it a rising tool for success, and it will likely keep developing to give users the additional support they need.
In the ever-growing digital landscape, referral traffic acts as a gateway that connects users to your website, helping you expand your online presence and drive growth.
Referral traffic is not new to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), but it’s not a bad idea to learn about some things again. Often commonly used terms like ‘referral traffic’ are easily overlooked and misunderstood, which can result in bucketing other traffic types under referrals.
Let’s dive in!What is Referral Traffic?
When it comes to where people land on your website, there are several sources of traffic, one of them being referrals.
If you’re a new business, chances are you won’t see a lot of referrals because you haven’t established enough rapport to be mentioned by other websites, and/or your SEO efforts are very basic.
Established websites and people who are subject-matter experts receive a significant amount of referral traffic as third-party sites mention them in their content like blogs, video descriptions, etc.
If you see your domains or any other site that shouldn’t be part of your referral traffic, then you can fix that by excluding them from referrals. More on this in the third topic of this post.
However, that doesn’t mean that they are less important for other industries, especially when they are being grouped incorrectly and pollute your data.Where to Find GA4 Referral Traffic?
You can find the GA4 referral traffic by navigating to Reports → Acquisition → User / Traffic Acquisition Reports.
Traffic acquisition will give you details of overall sessions by all users, whereas the user acquisition report will provide information on the first users only.
By default, you will only see the top 5 traffic channels in the graphs on the top.
So, if you don’t see referrals here, don’t worry. Once you scroll down to the table, you should be able to see the ‘Referral’ channel.
Now, this is good enough for you to know your stats for referral traffic. But what if you want to know what websites are the users coming from?
You will next see several options to choose from, but we are more interested in the source/medium dimension to find out as much as we can.
We can see the source/medium of all the default channel groups we saw before, which includes the website (source) / referral (medium).
This might look a little cluttered, so we can use the table filter technique mentioned above to see only the entries with ‘referral’ in them.
Understandably, Google’s merchandise store has a lot of referral traffic coming from its sources.
Generally, your sources shouldn’t be grouped under ‘Referrals.’ But in this case, we are not sure what sort of marketing activities Google is doing that’s sending traffic through some of the internal sources.
Now you know the overall stats of your referral traffic as well as the websites that are sending traffic to your website, which is pretty awesome! But what more can you do with this data at this point? Two things come to mind to get more context:
What pages are receiving the referral traffic?
How do I find out the URLs of the pages they are coming from?
Let’s start with the first one as it’s easier to achieve. In the same traffic acquisition report, we can add a secondary dimension of pages to find out where people are landing after coming from those referrals.
Next, you will see a list of dimensions that you can add, but we only want the page ones. There are currently only two in the traffic acquisition report, Landing page + query string and Page path and screen class unless you’ve added custom ones.
Let’s add the Landing page + query string dimension for the referrals in the source/medium dimension.
The (not set) values warrant a deeper look into what’s causing it. But apart from that, we can see that people are landing on the homepage.
We can even filter by only one referral source. For instance, let’s see where most people from the 10th source chúng tôi are landing.
So, we know where people are coming to. But what about the full URL from where they landed on these pages?
This could be easier if you track referrer URLs with a page_referrer event like Google’s Merchandise store. If that’s not the case, then there’s a workaround that can work with GA4 for now.
For instance, we want to find out the full referrer URL for the chúng tôi website. Let’s see in four steps.
Take the landing page + query string from the page where visitors are landing. For this example, we want to find out the “/Google+Redesign/Emoji+Kitchen+Sticker+Sheet”.
Next, we will simply copy and paste the above-highlighted text on Google search and filter only for the chúng tôi site.
Once you see the results, it can take a few tries until we find the page that has what we need. For us, it was the second result. But, what is it that we need? We want to find out if the page in search results has the outbound link to the page we saw in GA4 (first step) which will confirm this is the full URL of the referrer website.
On the page, there are two ways to find out the outbound links to the page you’re looking for:
If you see some hyperlink(s), then hover over them and see what’s the URL:
Yes, this is not an ideal method. However, the alternative would be to track your page referrer URLs or wait to see if Google adds that dimension to GA4 (like we had it in UA).
What if we see domains in GA4 that don’t belong to referral traffic?Excluding Unwanted Referrals
Universal Analytics had a feature called “Referral exclusions,” where you could exclude the domains you don’t want to see as referrals.
Lucky for us, this feature is also available in GA4 as ‘Unwanted referrals.’ We must make use of it where appropriate because it can eventually affect the traffic you see under the ‘Referral’ channel.
So this was not a difficult task to do, but now the settings are tucked away. There’s no guarantee they will stay there, as Google has been making changes to UI in the last 2 years. But the good thing is that the feature is readily available for us to use.
As of now, there’s no known limit to how many domains you can enter here and you have five match-type conditions to choose from:
referral domain contains
referral domain begins with
referral domain ends with
referral domain exactly matches
referral domain matches RegExCommon Unwanted Referrals
But before we move on, let’s talk about some common traffic types that should be included in unwanted referrals.
Self-referrals: Thankfully, Google detects your domain (and any sub-domains) so ideally this isn’t a problem. Some experts say it’s not a bad idea to add your domain anyway. If you have other websites that are configured for cross-domain tracking, then they will also be automatically excluded from referrals.
Apart from these, any other partner websites where cross-domain tracking isn’t configured but you don’t want it to show as a referral can be added to the list as well.
So now that all the data you see are actual referrals what are you supposed to do with it?What Should You Do with Referral Traffic Data?
A lot of referral traffic you receive is free and can be quite helpful if you can turn that data into something you can act upon. Here’s how you can do that.Contact Referrers
What could be the best ice-breaker than someone linking to your website without you reaching out to them? The fact is that they are linking to your website/content.
If you contact those website owners thanking them for linking to your website, they will be more than happy to provide more info and this could be a great opportunity for you to ask why did they even consider linking to your site/content.
This type of conversation can help you in two ways:
You can discuss link-building strategies, something your SEO team will appreciate.Content Performance
If people are linking to your content, there’s a good reason for that. In most normal cases, it’s because they like what you’ve created. It provides value to them and/or their audience.
But this can help you to achieve a few things as well:
Nurture and maintain a relationship with website owners to use for your content strategy, when the need arises.
Apart from these, if you’re already guest-posting on someone’s website, you can easily see how much traffic you’re getting from their website and how many of those are converting. This allows you to measure your content’s performance in a different context.Measure Backlinks’ Performance
This is a bit more SEO-centric, but will be helpful nevertheless. If you or your team are putting in a lot of effort to create quality backlinks, it is important to use the referral traffic data and measure their performance.
Remember, good backlinks can also improve your rankings in SERP, which will bring in more organic traffic, creating a win-win situation.
You can even ask them nicely what are the exact pages that are linking to your website if finding the full-page URLs is a bit of a difficult process for you.
So get out there and do more with your referral traffic, but first dig into your GA4 data.Summary
We touched on the workaround on how to find full-page URLs in GA4, which can take some time, but currently, that’s our only option. We can also track the referrers as a separate event, like Google’s merchandise store.
Not only did we learn how important it is to exclude unwanted referrals, but we also looked at some common case referrals that should be excluded.
Remember, the unwanted referrals list can affect the data you see under the referral channel, so you must understand whether it is correct to add a certain domain or not.
If you’re still getting to grips with GA4 events, Sofiia’s Google Analytics 4 Event Tracking Checklist will come in handy!
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