Neil Patel

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Setting Up Conversion Tracking in GA4: Users and Sessions

Setting up conversion tracking in GA4.

Are you struggling with goal tracking and conversions after migrating to GA4

You’re not the only one. But don’t worry, I’m here to help.

Conversion tracking may differ in GA4 compared to Universal Analytics, but the good news is that setting up conversion tracking is easier than ever—you just need to learn how.

In this post, I’ll explain how conversion tracking has changed in GA4 compared to UA, how GA4 conversion rate is calculated, and how to set up conversions in GA4 in four easy steps.

Key Points

  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest analytics offering from Google. It changes the way events and conversions are tracked. Rather than having specific goals, any event can become a conversion.
  • GA4 can track conversions by each event or by each session. Counting conversions by event is the default setting.
  • Conversion rate in GA4 can be calculated by users or by sessions.
  • Any existing event that GA4 tracks can become a conversion by toggling a button in the admin settings. Alternatively, you can create a new event within GA4 or use the Google Tag Manager.
  • You’ll need to add a conversion rate to each report since GA4 doesn’t apply this metric by default.

What Is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google’s analytics offering. It’s a significant shift away from its predecessor, Universal Analytics, to help customers track and understand customer behavior across the entire buyer journey. 

To achieve that, GA4 uses event-based tracking, which provides more granular insights into user behavior. Rather than looking at sessions and page views, GA4 lets you track specific events like the click of a button or the completion of a video.

GA4 also has a host of other differences, including:

  • A new dashboard
  • Cross-platform tracking
  • AI insights
  • Increased privacy functionality

Finally, and perhaps most importantly for this post, GA4 changes how you track conversions.

How Does GA4 Track Conversions?

GA4 conversion tracking is different compared to Universal Analytics.

In UA, conversions were called goals, and there were four types:

  • Destination
  • Duration
  • Pages/Screens per session
  • Event

In GA4, goals are gone. Instead, conversions are events, and any event that you track in GA4 can be labeled a conversion. 

That means a conversion in GA4 could be anything, including the following:

  • Signing up for a newsletter
  • Adding an item to a shopping cart
  • Sending a quote request
  • Using the contact form
  • Calling via a phone link

The conversions that you want to track will depend on your business. But rest assured that whatever your goals, you can track them in GA4.

Note: if you’ve migrated to GA4 from UA, your old goals will have automatically been turned into conversion events.

Another key difference between universal analytics vs GA4 is how you count conversions. In GA4, you can count conversions once per event or once per session.

Once Per Event

This is the default counting method, and the one I recommend you start with. It means that Google will count a conversion every time an event is triggered. So if the same user submits your contact form twice, that’s two conversions.

Once per even tracking GA4.

This gives you a much more accurate view of user behavior. After all, if a user makes two separate purchases within the same browsing session, it’s important to count them both.

Once Per Sessions

Session-based counting means individual conversions can be tracked once per session. So, if a user submits your contact form three times, it only counts as one conversion.

There will be some instances, like the contact form example I’ve just used, where you may prefer to count conversions per session. But counting them per event will be better more often than not.

You can find the counting method you’re currently using by going to the admin area and clicking on Conversions.

If there is an icon next to the conversion event in question, then it’s counting once per session.

Conversion events GA4.

Changing the counting method is easy.

Head back to the admin page and click on Conversions. Find the conversion you want to change, click on the three dots at the end of the row, and then click Change counting method.

Conversion events GA4.

Choose the new method and click Save.

How Does GA4 Calculate Conversion Rate?

GA4 conversion rate tracking is a little different than UA—and the way it calculates it is much better, in my opinion.

Universal Analytics calculated conversion rate by sessions. So, your site’s conversion rate was the number of sessions with a conversion divided by the total number of sessions multiplied by 100.

Conversion rate in GA4 is calculated by users or sessions. So you can still get a traditional session-based conversion rate just like UA, but you can also calculate the conversion rate in the following way:

User conversion rate = no. of users who have triggered a conversion event / total no. of users * 100.

Setting Up Conversion Tracking in GA4 in 4 Steps

If you want to set up GA4 conversion tracking right, just follow my step-by-step instructions below:

1. Set Up Events in GA4

The first thing you need to do to set up conversion tracking is to make sure you have the right event created in GA4.

You can set any event tracked by GA4 as a conversion event, or you can create your own event that better matches your objectives.

GA4 automatically tracks a set of events by default. These include:

  • First_visit
  • Session_start
  • User_engagement
  • Click
  • Form_start
  • Form_submit
  • Page_view
  • ​​Scroll
  • Video_start
  • Video_progress
  • Video_complete
  • Ad_click
  • Ad_impression
  • App_exception
  • First_open
  • Screen_view

If none of these events are suitable or specific enough, you can create a new event in GA4 or by using Google Tag Manager.

If you need to make one of the events above more specific, like tracking form submissions on a specific page, you can create a new event within the GA4 dashboard.

Just head to Admin, then Events.

Admin GA4.

Click the blue Create event button.

Create event GA4.

Give your event a name and assign its conditions.

Click Create once you’re finished.

If you want to create a new unique event, you’ll need to use Google Tag Manager.

Click on Tags in the sidebar and then click the blue New button.

Tags GA4.

Give a name to your Tag, then click Tag Configuration.

Tag configuration GA4.

Choose Google Analytics: GA4 Event, as shown in the image above.

Tag configuration GA4.

Add your Measurement ID and give your event a name.

Choose a trigger GA4.

Finally, choose a Trigger for your event. You can choose from a pre-selected list or create your own by clicking on the blue + button in the top right-hand corner.

Page view trigger configuration GA4.

In this example, I’m going to create my trigger for when users download one of my gated assets.

Save your tag to finish.

2. Assign Events as Conversions

Head to the admin menu to assign events as conversions. You’ll need to have editor or administrator permissions for the property in question.

Click on Events.

Find the event or events you want to count as conversions and turn the Mark as conversion toggle on.

Assign events as conversions GA4.

You can set up to 30 different events to track as conversions.

3. Check Your Conversions Are Working

You can view your website’s conversions by heading to Engagement and then Conversions.

Checking conversions GA4.


The conversion page will show you a list of all the events you’ve marked as conversions.

You can click on any of the events under Event name to get a detailed report of those conversion events.

Don’t worry if you don’t see reports immediately. It can take time for them to trickle through. Give it a day or two, and then check again.

4. Add Conversion Rate to Your Reports

Want to learn how to see conversion rate in GA4?

By default, GA4 doesn’t show the conversion rate as a percentage in its reports. It only shows the total number of conversions.

Fix this by clicking the pencil icon and then going to Metrics and Add metric.

Choose either session conversion rate or user conversion rate and click Apply.&

FAQs

Does Google Analytics show conversion rate?

Yes, Google Analytics does show the conversion rate. It’s a key metric used to understand how well your website drives visitors to take a desired action, like making a purchase or signing up for your newsletter. 
GA4 conversion rate is shown as a percentage indicating the number of people who have completed that action out of the total number of visitors. 

How is the conversion rate calculated in Google Analytics?

In GA4, conversion rate can be calculated in two different ways: by users and by sessions. 
Calculating conversions by users gives you the percentage of users who have completed a certain action. Calculating conversions by sessions gives you the percentage of sessions in which an event was completed. 
Given that users have multiple sessions, calculating conversion rate by session often leads to more accurate results. 

What is the difference between event count and session count in GA4?

In GA4, Google counts conversions in two different ways. They can either be counted by the event or by the session. 
Counting conversions by event means a conversion is recorded every time an event is triggered. If a user subscribes to your newsletter using three different email addresses in the same session, then that’s three conversions. 
Counting conversions by session means a conversion can only be recorded once each session. Using the same example, a conversion would only be counted once, no matter how many times the user subscribes to your newsletter. 

How do you calculate engagement rate in GA4?

In GA4, the engagement rate is calculated differently compared to previous versions of Google Analytics. It is primarily focused on measuring the level of user engagement with your website or app. 
Engagement rate is calculated using the formula: Engagement Rate = (Engaged Sessions / Total Sessions) x 100. 
An “Engaged Session” is defined as a session that lasts longer than 10 seconds, has a conversion event, or has at least two page or screen views. This metric gives insights into how effectively your site is capturing and holding the attention of users.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to love about GA4’s new conversion tracking capabilities. Even if it’s a bit tricky to get your head around it to begin with. The good news is you can now track any website event as a conversion, allowing you to better track how your users behave.

Once you’ve got conversion tracking set up in GA4, start improving conversion rates by following my guide or look into other lead tracking methods you can use to measure your success. 

What events are you tracking as conversions in GA4?

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