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Setup for Success

GA4 configuration mistakes.

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7 Common GA4 Mistakes to Avoid

It’s easy to make some common errors when configuring your GA4 account. Make sure you take these 7 early actions:

  1. Extend your data retention period. Data from your custom reports will be automatically deleted after two months, which will screw up your YoY reporting. Change the setting to save data for up to 14 months by navigating to Data Settings > Data Retention.
  2. Mitigate the impact of high cardinality dimensions. These are dimensions that more than 500 unique values within a single day, which can negatively affect your data. For example, if you’re using word count as a custom dimension, bucket your values into ranges (<500, 500–1000, 1001–1500, and so on).
  3. Link to a BigQuery account. Set this up right away to begin collecting historical data. Unlike GA4 custom reports, BigQuery data is never sampled, even if there are more than 10M events in the exploration report.
  4. Set up custom audiences. Create target audiences—like engaged users, subscribed users, or users who made a purchase in the last 30 days—to get valuable insights from specific segments. Audience dates are not retroactive, so do this early on.
  5. Don’t auto-migrate from UA. You’re better off rethinking your analytics and event collection architecture than trying to retrofit your system into a totally different data model.
  6. Exclude unwanted referrals. Ecomm sites often have third-party processors hosted under different domains, but redirects from these domains shouldn’t be counted as new sessions. Add these to your exclusion list to avoid distorting your data.
  7. Choose the correct reporting identity. If you don’t have login and user IDs on your site, 99% of cases should go with “device-based” over the other options, “Blended” and “Observed.”

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