7 Steps for Teaching Google Analytics 4 from a GA4 Expert

Marketers worldwide are using Google Analytics. Now that Google Analytics 4 has replaced Universal Analytics, the ways marketers use this tool have changed. With businesses transitioning from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, educators must prepare their students to use this new platform in their future careers. Where should they start?

Sabrina Tatalias, a senior analytics consultant at Bounteous, recently shared her expertise in a Stukent webinar titled “Google Analytics 4 Experts Needed – Your Students Can Help.” In this session, she explored seven steps for teaching GA4 effectively. Read on for the second recap of her remarks!

Step 1: Establish the Old vs. New

While your new curriculum should focus on GA4, some organizations still rely on historical data from UA. Wherever students are in their college careers, they need to understand the differences and similarities between these tools — this foundational knowledge prepares students to utilize both properties with ease.

“GA4 is essentially taking the same data but putting it into a more simplified interface,” Sabrina said. “For students who are new to the tool, it’s going to be a lot easier to teach them because there are fewer main reports to cover. [You’ll] save time and [be able to] focus on more features of Google Analytics.”

Sabrina discussed the difference between the two platforms in the first part of her session, which we recapped here

Step 2: Show How Data Collection Works

Sabrina suggested showing students how to get data into GA4. Whether students will be analysts or implementers, they must understand how data populates in the interface. She recommended a class exercise where students create a mock GA4 property for an organization or website. This hands-on approach helps students gain practical experience setting up analytics for real-world scenarios.

She also included a chart outlining the differences in data models:

Image Credit: Sabrina Tatalias (Bounteous)

Step 3: Dive Into the Reporting Interface

Reporting is a crucial aspect of digital marketing courses, and GA4 offers a more streamlined interface compared to UA. Sabrina advised educators to show students how to ask questions and find answers within the reports. To further enhance their skills, you can assign students to explore different reports and present their findings to the class. These exercises help them become proficient in extracting meaningful insights from data. Sabrina also recommended doing walkthroughs of reports and showing students where to find particular data.

Step 4: Show How to Use Audiences and Segmentation

Sabrina said that educators should consider demonstrating how to build audiences and showing students how to apply this knowledge to areas like Google Ads. This integration will help students understand how audience data can be used to target specific groups more effectively in advertising campaigns.

“‘Audiences’ is a feature that lets you take existing data within Google Analytics and build out subset groups or audiences of those users to compare them over historical data,” Sabrina said. “You can see how they interact with the site or behave differently.”

She suggested highlighting this feature in an assignment if you have a portion of the class focusing on Google Ads.

Image pulled from Sabrina’s slideshow.

Step 5: Learn About Custom Reports in Explorations

“Explorations” is a new feature in GA4 that offers advanced custom reporting options, including funnels, cohort analysis, and more. Sabrina suggested assigning projects involving explorations to help students develop their data visualization skills. These assignments will encourage students to think critically about data and present it in a visually appealing way.

“There’s a bunch of different reporting techniques. So, [you could assign students to] build out different explorations and then present them to the class, based on whatever the data set you may be using for your course,” Sabrina said.

Step 6 (Bonus Step): Google Tag Manager

Although there might not be enough time to delve deeply into Google Tag Manager in your course, it is beneficial for your students to understand the basics of the tool. 

Image pulled from Sabrina’s slideshow.

According to Google’s “Tag Manager Help” webpage, “Google Tag Manager is a tag management system (TMS) that allows you to quickly and easily update measurement codes and related code fragments collectively known as tags on your website or mobile app. Once the small segment of Tag Manager code has been added to your project, you can safely and easily deploy analytics and measurement tag configurations from a web-based user interface.”

As an educator, you can introduce students to this tool through a project that challenges them to learn how event tracking works and how to implement a new GA4 property.

Step 7 (Bonus Step): Looker Studio

Google’s Looker Studio offers enhanced data visualization and reporting capabilities. Sabrina recommended teaching students how to connect data from different sources, such as GA4, Excel, or Facebook marketing to create comprehensive and insightful reports. Students can work on projects using Looker Studio to gain experience in data visualization and reporting.

A participant in the webinar chat wrote, “I love Google Looker Studio. I had my students do an assignment where they created a data visualization report. Some struggled with it more than I thought they would, but it got them to think about what they really wanted the data to convey.”

Real-world Experience and Partnerships

Sabrina also emphasized the importance of real-world experience for students. Mock agencies, partnerships with local organizations, and collaboration with technical courses (such as computer science or IT programs) are excellent opportunities for students to apply their skills and gain valuable experience.

Another participant in the webinar chat wrote, “I require my relatively small class to put up a content site and track it with GA4. The final exam is a storytelling presentation of their findings.”

Stukent’s Digital Marketing Analytics Bundle is an excellent resource if you want to stay current with the latest material on GA4. The “Digital Marketing Analytics” courseware includes assignments, quizzes, and lesson plans for the new Google Analytics 4 platform. The courseware blends well with the Digital Marketing Analytics Simternship™, which allows students to step into the role of a digital marketing analyst and gain hands-on experience.

You can download Stukent’s free GA4 Survival Guide here.

To learn more about the Digital Marketing Analytics Bundle and incorporate GA4 into your course this fall, schedule a walkthrough with one of our course consultants today!

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