How To Set Up GA4 And Create Events

You might’ve heard that the Google Analytics (GA) we know and have been using for years will stop tracking in the summer of 2023 and will be replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This new version is event-based, meaning any interaction can be captured as an event instead of focusing on sessions like the original GA. 

You can read more about their differences here 

While there’s still time to do the switch, if you’re reading this guide, you’ve probably decided it’s time to move on to GA4, and we couldn’t agree more. We recommend that you set up GA4 as soon as possible to run it alongside Universal Analytics. 

Follow our quick basic setup guide to help you get started with GA4:


1/ Create GA4

If you have a Universal Analytics account, select the view you want to copy to GA4, go to settings, and under Property, you’ll find the GA4 Setup Assistant.

If you don’t have an account, when you register with Google Analytics, you’ll have the option to create only GA4 or to create GA4 plus Universal Analytics, we recommend the second option for now.

ga4 setup assistant

2/ Follow the steps of the Setup Assistant to install the tag onto your website.

ga4 setup tag

Inside your Data Stream, you’ll find the account’s Measurement ID. You can either install your tag manually (by copy-pasting the code into your website’s <head>) or use Google Tag Manager by creating a GA4 Configuration Tag and adding your Measurement ID.  

3/ Enable enhanced measurement
Inside your Data Stream, you’ll find all the interactions GA4 can automatically track for you. These include primary events like outbound clicks, video engagement, file downloads, etc.

These events can easily be turned into conversions and imported into Google Ads.

4/ How to track custom events
If you want to track specific actions taken on your site, we suggest creating custom events.
Custom events are created from existing events, meaning you need one of the automatically-created events as a base. In Configure, go to Events and select Create event.

Let’s take a look at a few examples below:

To track a specific link click. If you want to track clicks on your email address, you’ll need to have “click” as a base for your new outbound clicks event. You’ll then need a parameter to identify the specific link click you want to track, in this case, we’ll use link_url.

To track a form submission thank-you page. If you’ve used Google Analytics before, you’ll remember Destination goals. They were very useful for tracking specific page views. This is how to recreate that on GA4:

To track a thank-you page, you need the “page_view” event as your base. Use page_location to identify your confirmation page.

To track a specific PDF download. In this case, you’ll need the file_download event as a base, and we’ll use the same parameter page_location to identify the PDF we want to track.

ga4 pdf downloads

5/ How to use custom dimensions
Custom dimensions are the extra information we can collect from an event. You can set up any parameter you want to follow. This list explains which parameters work with each event type

Here’s how to set up a custom dimension and where to find it once it’s enabled:

In Configure, go to Custom definitions and click on Create custom dimensions:

If we want to see which PDFs users are downloading from our site, we can add a file_name parameter:

To see your new parameter in action, go to the Events report and filter by event type, in this case, file_downloads. Then, add a second column for your custom dimension. Remember it takes GA4 a few days to start showing this data. It will only show the file_name for PDFs downloaded after you’ve created the new parameter.

ga4 pdf report

6/ GA4 and Google Ads
Once your setup is done, you can link GA4 and Google Ads the same way you would with Universal Analytics. You can import the events you’ve created after marking them as conversions.

To see your Google Ads report on GA4, go to Acquisition Overview, you’ll find a board that says “View Google Ads campaigns” – click on it to see the full report.

Setting up a GA4 account sounds scary, especially if you’ve been using Universal Analytics for a while and are used to the current layout. But if you follow our easy steps, you’ll be able to get started with GA4 in no time!