measuring with a clear ruler
PHOTO: Wander Fleur

Changes to website content often go hand in hand with the need to update analytics tags. Marketers are well familiar with this task. With the introduction of Google Analytics 4, Google introduced enhanced measurement, which has the potential to make these updates much, much easier. 

How Tagging Links and Buttons Have Changed

Back when analytic solutions were first introduced, adding events required proactive planning of any analytic tags before launching a site. This meant identifying buttons for embedded video playback or links to secondary websites, then modifying the code. In this case, modification meant manual edits to the HTML of any given page. It entailed auditing the event function on every page, which created extra work for quality assurance and introduced the potential for human error. I can say from experience, clients would often add the main analytics tag, but fail to update the other elemental tags on a page for the media they wanted tracked.    

The introduction of tag managers consolidated this task under one roof. While tag managers reduced the need for as many quality assurance tasks, technical teams still had to do the work. Overworked development teams often failed to update tag managers for new videos, white paper downloads or outbound clicks.

With the introduction of Google Analytics GA4, Google introduced a main event tags switch in the user interface.

To find the main event tags switch, navigate in GA4 to the desired property on the admin page, then select data streams, then the site in question to access the enhanced measurement window. Once the enhanced measurement window appears, users can then click the gear icon to select which event to trigger.

google enhanced measuremant menu

Google provides a table that details the events triggered, and which parameters are collected for each event. Enhanced Measurement covers six events that marketers and developers typically select:
  • Pageview, for activity on a page.
  • Outbound link, for domains associated with your site.
  • Scroll, for when a user navigates to a segment of a webpage.
  • File Download, for white papers and trial software.
  • Video engagement, for playback activity of embedded video.

The sixth event feature is one I am glad to see — site search. I covered the benefits of analyzing site searches back in a 2015 post. In the GA4 iteration, the user still provides the search query parameter that appears in the search results — in this instance the query is added within this menu. 

Once your selections are complete, switch the toggle to the right The toggle switch is blue when enabled. When you enable your settings, the Google Analytics tag starts firing right away. The functionality can be verified in the DebugView report. Each event choice can be turned off individually.  

Related Article: How to Use Cohort Analysis in GA4

How Your Analytics Workflow Benefits from Enhanced Measurement

One of the best aspects of enhanced measurement is that it eliminates the need to ask developers to set the tags for many common event-trigger switches, such as outbound link clicks or scrolling. Removing the need for code changes is a boon to marketers everywhere.

Although using the enhanced measurement feature introduces convenience, analysts still have to decide which options to enact. Marketing and business development teams should work proactively with developers to keep updates to a tagged website or app mapped. Many event tags focus on media that appears on a website or app page. By understanding how that media is tracked, a team can better manage their campaigns, ensuring that landing pages and digital ads connect to the right video or case study download link. 

In addition, keeping site events updated encourages teams to understand what methods of data collection is being used. Mapping event maintenance can dovetail into content management tasks and, in some instances, even data privacy compliance.

Enhanced measurement in Google Analytics 4 provides a new level of convenience for setting analytics settings. Marketers should get better acquainted with it, as the bar for improving customer experience online through analytics is raised higher every day.