Web - 6 min read

How to understand GA4 to help grow your business

Woman on the phone and happily looking at her computer
Posted  |  Written by David Ligtenberg

GA4, or Google Analytics 4 is one of Google's latest free tools that operates behind the scenes to gather information about your website. This data includes everything from how many people are visiting your site to which pages they are visiting and how long they are spending there. 

You may have already been using the old Google Analytics (called Universal Analytics) that has now been replaced by GA4 (*deadline was June 30th for the old one to stop tracking) but even if you haven’t now is a great time to leverage this free tool and start to reap the rewards. 

Ignore your website analytics and miss out on business growth opportunities: It’s important to understand what your website data is telling you as it can uncover marketing efforts you’re taking that aren’t quite hitting the mark or highlight areas of growth that you didn’t know were there and that you can pursue. 

So let’s talk about how understanding GA4 and the data it contains can help your business grow.

What’s important to understand about GA4

One of the big changes with GA4 is that it protects your website visitor's privacy better by not recording IP addresses and the ability to run without cookies. (It can work without using cookies but that also doesn't mean it doesn't use cookies. )

It has also adjusted to track visitors in a way that is more in line with how people use the internet now and includes different data streams. These could be an app or an additional platform. 

The main things to track & pay attention to in GA4

When you arrive at your Google Analytics account, you’ll see a reports snapshot. This will not only show you how many visitors (“users”) and brand new visitors (“new users”) you have, it’ll also show you the average engagement time.

GA4 reports snapshot dashboard

Why is this important?

It helps you to know if people are returning to your site and if you have new users finding you. It lets you know how your SEO efforts might be working (or not). 

Engagement time is also useful because if you have a blog, it’ll give you an idea of how long people are spending reading it. Or you may have a shorter engagement time because people are just trying to find your phone number and do so.  

Action tips:

  1. Take note of higher traffic pages and what engagement they have now and monitor this and update as you action key things that might impact this. Set up a spreadsheet to keep track of this with columns: Page, Date, Vistors New and Overall, Engagement time etc. 
  2. To improve engagement you need to drive more traffic and or create content on the page you want to improve that will keep them longer on your page eg: add a video, add more relevant content or even decrease content that might not be relevant. 

Understand your customer life cycle

You will also see in your analytics account that the menu says “life cycle”.

Beneath this, we have:

  • Acquisition - how you’re getting website visitors. (organic search, paid ads, social media, etc).
  • Engagement - how long they are spending on the website or on specific pages, landing page performance and conversions
  • Monetisation - purchases, ads and promotions
  • Retention - new visitors compared with returning visitors

GA4 analytics life cycle menu

What do you do with all of this information for your business?

The best place to start is with a review of the traffic you are getting. This will give you insights into your online marketing efforts and how effective they may be. 

Step 1: Understand the traffic that you bring in from different channels:

  • Social media
  • Search / Organic 
  • Paid (Ads)
  • Emails and newsletters
  • Direct (someone typing in your website URL)

GA4 analytics referrals

Step 2: Put in place strategies to increase traffic for each channel

You may not want to focus on every channel for traffic growth but outlining the channel, time investment, financial investment, difficulty and how many visitors it’s likely to bring to your website (based on the data you have now) may create a clear path to focus on. 

Step 3: Create & track events and conversions

If you used goals in the previous version of Google Analytics, this is now called “conversions”. If you didn’t, you can now create events and track conversions for an offer, freebie, waitlist or another action you’d like someone to take on your website. 

Having a form for someone to fill out is a great way to test a number of things:

  • how many people you can get to that page on your website
  • how many people fill out the form (this is influenced by the page design and attractiveness of your offer)
  • And how many leads or sales you get

Creating an offer is another option in terms of tracking conversions. You can see how many people visit your offer page and how that turns into eventual sales. 

Step 4: Measure and test

Depending on the way you choose to increase your traffic, you may be able to track the results immediately (like with paid ads) or over the longer term (like with SEO). Anything that involves an algorithm needs a bit more time and 3 months can be a good timeframe to measure.

As you make changes, take a look at your analytics and see what’s happening. Then continue on or alter your course. Again, set some baseline measurements to keep track of then always refer back to them. 

Ideas for growth:

Social media: 

  • Be consistent with posting
  • Be sure to link back to your website for sales, blogs, offers, and content.
  • Choose to focus on platforms your clients are on most

Search / organic traffic:

  • Utilise your blog
  • Create a consistent content schedule focused on keywords relevant to your business
  • Share on social media and email newsletters
  • Create additional services or informational pages, especially if you have not separated your services onto individual pages. 

Paid advertising:

  • Create ads direct to a landing page for leads or products

Email marketing:

  • Send emails to clients on a consistent basis - it doesn’t always have to be every month the key is to make it relevant to your audience.
  • Keep it short but include useful, funny or any content your particular audience would want to read
  • Link to your website, include a call to action, or recommend a product in many of your emails but not all


  • Build brand awareness that includes your URL
  • Create signage with your website address
  • Create social media posts with your website address
  • Give reasons for people to bookmark your site by having very useful information they will want to refer to multiple times. 

Feeling overwhelmed? When to get professional assistance

While business owners often feel like they can or should be able to do it all, you really don’t need to. Some areas, SEO or content creation, can be done by professionals like us. If you’ve known what you need to do but have struggled to write that blog or make that post, we can help you get that checked off your to-do list. 

If you’re not sure which channel is best to focus on, we can also help you look at your data and make an informed decision. Just reach out for a chat and we can go from there.  


Google's article on preparing for GA4

25 Ultimate Marketing Strategies - Full Blog CTA

David Ligtenberg Post written by
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