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What is GA4’s Enhanced Measurement?

Data SciencePaid Search

When setting up your new Google Analytics 4 property and its Data Streams, you may have seen Enhanced Measurement come up as an option. But what exactly is Enhanced Measurement and is it actually useful? We’ll explain it all in this blog.

Enhanced Measurement is a new feature built into Google Analytics 4 (GA4) that conveniently sets up tracking for some regularly used events. Previously, in Universal Analytics, these events would require extra setup to measure, whether it be set up in Google Tag Manager or built into the site using gtag.js, and would sometimes be finicky to setup for non-technical users.

Enhanced Measurement automatically tracks the following events:

  • Page Views
  • Scrolls
  • Outbound Clicks
  • Site Search
  • Video Engagement
  • File Downloads

Many of these events would have been part of a basic setup within Google Tag Manager, so Enhanced Measurement helps to speed up tracking deployment. For basic websites, this may even be sufficient event tracking to negate the need for Google Tag Manager all together. As with all inherently technical things though, there are some caveats and maybe a little extra configuration required depending on your setup.

Below we’ll go over each of the events in detail:

Page Views (page_view)

 

The page view event is the standard GA4 event for websites. Generally, a page view is sent every time a user loads a new page. But given the rise of single page applications in recent times, GA4 now allows you to choose to fire page views off of changes of browser history events, something that the previous version lacked. So if you have a website built in React or you’ve had previous issues with the Page View not firing, make sure you configure the Page View to use the browser history events.

Scrolls (scroll)

The scrolls event is generally used to measure when users scroll down a page to a certain depth so you can track how much of the page’s content a user has actually seen. Within Enhanced Measurement, the scroll event only fires when the user reaches 90% vertical depth. For most pages, this should be a good enough measure. But GA4 does not allow you to alter this setting, so if you need to track a different scroll depth, you may need to revert back to Google Tag Manager to track the event.

Outbound Clicks (click)

The Outbound Clicks event captures what links users click on that lead them away from your website. GA4 defines “outbound” as any domain that’s not included in the cross-domain tracking list, so this event may need additional configuration if you have multiple domains.

Site Search

Site Search is perhaps the most finnicky of the Enhanced Measurement events. It’s meant to capture every time a user uses the “search functionality” on your website and it does this by checking the URL for a query parameter (for example: https://metriclabs.com.au?search=example). By default, it will check if the URL has one of the following:

  • q
  • s
  • search
  • query
  • keyword
If your website doesn’t use any of these query parameters, you can configure the event to use whichever parameter you use. But if you don’t use a query parameter, then you may have to find another method of tracking searches.

Video Engagement (video_start, video_progress, video_complete)

Similar to the YouTube Views trigger in Google Tag Manager, Video Engagement measures details around the video players embedded on your website. When enabled, it will fire an event when a video has been started, when the video reaches 10% / 25% / 50% / 75% and then when the video ends. Note: This tracking will work only on video players that have implemented a particular API, so if you use a non-YouTube embedded player, then you may need to test this event to see if it works correctly.

File Downloads

This event tracks when a user clicks a link to download a file. It does this based off of the file type and tracks the following file extensions:

  • PDF
  • XLSX
  • DOCX
  • TXT
  • RTF
  • CSV
  • EXE
  • KEY
  • PPS
  • PPT
  • PPTX
  • 7z
  • PKG
  • RAR
  • GZ
  • ZIP
  • AVI
  • MOV
  • MP4
  • MPG
  • MPEG
  • WMV
  • MIDI
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA

These are all common file types, but if you need to track something not on that list, you may need to setup an event in Google Tag Manager.

And that’s all there is to Enhanced Measurement in GA4. If there is something not covered by Enhanced Measurement events, then you’re likely going to need to use Google Tag Manager or a similar tool to track the event.

If you have any questions or other topics you’d like covered, feel free to reach out or drop a comment below!

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