Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is here, and Google is encouraging every user to create a Google Analytics 4 property. If you’re a WordPress user, that means it’s time to add GA4 to WordPress.
In this article, we’ll go over the best (and easiest) way to add GA4 to WordPress.
What Is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is Google’s newest version of Google Analytics. Google Analytics 3 (Universal Analytics) will be sunset on July 1, 2023, so it’s very important to switch to GA4 as soon as possible.
It has many of the same features as Universal Analytics, but adds a few extras and is missing some, too.
For instance, in Universal Analytics, you have to set up event tracking, like enhanced ecommerce and conversion tracking, using special code (or just by turning it on in MonsterInsights). In Google Analytics 4, however, you can just turn on some built-in event tracking features. However, you’ll probably have a pretty difficult time finding that event data and reading it, unless you’re an Analytics pro.
GA4 is missing some key metrics from the previous version, too, like bounce rate.
But there’s one even bigger thing that’s missing in GA4 analytics: your data. If you’ve been using Universal Analytics and you set up a GA4 property, it won’t have any of your historical data in it. It starts collecting from scratch. Your older data will be safe in your Universal Analytics property, but you have to switch back and forth to see it there.
Plus, if you’ve been a Google Analytics user for some time, you’ve probably gotten used to how Universal Analytics looks. When you set up a GA4 property, you might be pretty intimidated by how different it looks and how different the navigation is. There’s definitely a learning curve there.
Google Analytics 4 is a powerful tool, but it’s not a beginner-friendly one. Even intermediate users are finding it difficult to learn and navigate.
So, while it’s important to set up a GA4 property to gather data and be up to date on the future of Analytics, you may want to set up or keep using your Universal Analytics property, too.
The Best Way to Add GA4 to WordPress
If you have a WordPress website and you’re setting up a Google Analytics 4 property, you’ll want to know how to connect it to your site. The absolute easiest way to do that is with the MonsterInsights Google Analytics plugin. Not only can the plugin connect GA4 analytics to your WordPress website, but it also provides solutions to many of the downsides of using GA4 we went over above.
MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin to connect Google Analytics 4 to WordPress. It allows you to easily connect your WordPress site with Google Analytics (both Universal Analytics and GA4), so you can view all the data that matters most right in your WordPress dashboard.
Plus, with the click of a button, you can set up sophisticated tracking features such as event tracking, eCommerce tracking, form tracking, custom dimension tracking, outbound link tracking, and more.
Want to use GA4 analytics, but also want to keep your historical data, the bounce rate metric, and the Search Queries report?
Just use the MonsterInsights dual tracking feature. If you have a Universal Analytics property, connect both your GA4 AND Universal Analytics properties to WordPress to get the best of both versions of Google Analytics, plus all your historical data.
This is the only tool you’ll find that allows you to combine both Google Analytics properties into one dashboard.
How to Add Google Analytics 4 to WordPress: Tutorial
Step 1: Sign In to Google
The first thing you’ll need to do is log in or sign up for a Google account.
To get started, you’ll need to open the Google Analytics website and click the Sign in to Analytics link or Start for free button in the top right corner of the page.
Next, you can log in to your existing Google account if you have one, or click the Create account link to create a new Google account.
Step 2: Sign Up For Google Analytics + Create a Property
If you don’t have a Google Analytics account yet, click the Start measuring button on the next screen. If you already have an account and you’ve created a Property, skip to Step 3.
Next, you’ll need to enter the Account name for your Google Analytics account. You’ll also see different data sharing settings. Make sure you check all the boxes and then click Next.
Now, you’ll have to enter the property details of your website. Start by entering a name, selecting a reporting time zone, and choosing your currency.
Next, you can choose from two options:
To set up a GA4 property, enter your property name, then choose your time zone and currency. Click Next.
Fill in the rest of the business information, then scroll down and click Create.
You may see a popup at this point to accept the Google Analytics Terms of Service. Go ahead and check the checkbox and click I Accept.
That’s it! Move on to Step 3.
To set up both GA4 and Universal properties at the same time, enter your property name and choose your time zone and currency. Then, click the Show advanced options link.
Toggle on the switch to create a Universal Analytics property. Then, fill in your website’s URL and select the checkbox to create both properties. Click Next.
Fill in your business details and click Create. You may see a popup at this point to accept the Google Analytics Terms of Service. Go ahead and check the checkbox and click I Accept.
That’s it! Move on to step 3.
Step 3: Set Up MonsterInsights
Normally, you’d have to insert your Google Analytics tracking code into your WordPress website’s code.
But with MonsterInsights, you don’t need to worry about using any code.
Instead, you can get started by downloading MonsterInsights. To do that, you’ll need to log into your MonsterInsights account and download the plugin zip file.
Once you have the zip file, navigate to the site where you want to install MonsterInsights and go to the WordPress admin dashboard.
Then navigate to Plugins » Add New and click the Upload Plugin button at the top.
On the next screen, you can click the Choose File button to select the zip file you just downloaded. Then click the Install Now button to upload the file and install the plugin on your site.
Once the plugin has been uploaded and installed, you can click the Activate Plugin button to activate it on your site.
After the plugin is activated, the plugin setup wizard will open to guide you through the setup process step by step.
At first, you’ll see the ‘Welcome to MonsterInsights!’ message and options to choose the category of your website. There’re 3 options: Business website, Publisher (Blog), and eCommerce.
Select a category that best describes your website, and then click ‘Save and Continue’ button.
If you want to skip the setup wizard, for now, you can click ‘Exit Setup’ button at the top.
In the next screen, you’ll need to connect MonsterInsights plugin to your website by providing your license key.
You can find your MonsterInsights license key in your email receipt or account area on the plugin website.
Once you enter your license key, it’ll verify your account, and then you can click on the ‘Connect MonsterInsights’ button.
After that, you’ll see an option to connect your Google Analytics with your MonsterInsights account. Select your account to continue authentication.
Next, you’ll need to allow MonsterInsights the proper permissions.
After that, you’ll need to pick a profile to complete the connection. If you have multiple websites connected to your Google Analytics account, then you’ll need to choose the right website property here.
If you have just a GA4 property, choose that. If you have just a Universal Analytics (UA) property, choose that. If you have both, you can choose either one here. NOTE: If you want to see bounce rate, choose your Universal Analytics property in this step.
Choose your profile, and then click the ‘Complete Connection’ button.
After that, it’ll finalize the authentication process in a few seconds, and then take you back to your MonsterInsights setup page.
Now you can see recommended settings for the Google Analytics plugin.
This page includes some of the most important settings like:
- Events tracking – Enabled by default.
- Enhanced Link Attribution – Enabled by default.
- File Download Tracking – Most used file types (doc,exe,js,pdf,ppt,tgz,zip,xls) added by default.
As you scroll down, you’ll see more settings.
- Affiliate Link Tracking – It has 2 affiliate link paths added by default, and lets you add more affiliate link paths.
- Access to MonsterInsights Reports – You can choose who can see the MonsterInsights reports within the plugin.
- Automatic Plugin Updates – You can enable or disable the option to install updates automatically.
Review and configure these recommended settings, and then click the ‘Save and Continue’ button at the end.
On the next screen, you’ll see options for even more tracking options, addons, and helpful plugins.
The first four items are:
- Standard Analytics & Reports – The standard MonsterInsights reports you’ll get in your WordPress dashboard.
- Enhanced Link Attribution – Can help you see where users are clicking on your site.
- All in One SEO Toolkit – The best WordPress SEO plugin that integrates with MonsterInsights
- Smart Form Builder by WPForms – The most popular WordPress form builder plugin
When you scroll down, you’ll find even more options:
- Privacy Compliance Addon – Helps Google Analytics become compliant for GDPR, CCPA, and more
- Advanced Reports – Get access to advanced reports inside MonsterInsights, such as search keywords, a real-time report, publishers and eCommerce reports, and more
- eCommerce Tracking – Instantly enable Enhanced eCommerce tracking
- 20+ Advanced Tracking – Even more advanced tracking, such as author tracking, form conversion tracking, scroll tracking, and more
- Advanced Growth Tools – Get access to our campaign URL builder, popular posts addon, and A/B testing integration
After that, you’ll see a new screen with this message ‘Awesome, You’re All Set!’. It means the setup process is complete, and you’ve successfully installed Google Analytics in your WordPress site.
This screen also notifies you about when you can start seeing your website reports. Depending on the size of your website, it can take between a few hours to 24 hours.
Don’t forget to click on the ‘Finish Setup & Exit Wizard’ button.
Step 4: Set up Dual Tracking
Now, you’ll be able to set up dual tracking if you have both a Universal Analytics property and a GA4 property. Setting up dual tracking will bring in all your historical data from Universal Analytics, while giving you the benefits of Google Analytics 4.
On the main Settings page, scroll down to Google Authentication and find the Dual Tracking Profile box. Here, you can input either your Universal Analytics Tracking ID or your GA4 Measurement ID, whichever one you didn’t authenticate with in the setup wizard.
Step 5: Create an API Secret
If you’re using Google Analytics 4 either as your main or dual tracking profile, you need to create an API secret for some of MonsterInsights’ tracking features to work.
To create an API secret, open Google Analytics and navigate to Admin.
Now, under the Property column, click into Data Streams and open the data stream connected to MonsterInsights.
Next, scroll down to find Measurement Protocol API secrets. Click into it.
Here you can Create a new API secret and give it a nickname.
Now that your new API secret is created, make sure to copy the Secret Value.
Finally, in your WordPress admin, go to Insights » Settings. Within the Google Authentication section, you’ll find the Measurement Protocol API Secret field. Paste your Secret Value here and the settings will automatically save.
Step 6: Adjust Settings
Turn Off Enhanced Measurement
First, if you set up your own Data Stream in GA4 (instead of letting MonsterInsights create one automatically), then you’ll need to turn off Enhanced Measurement. To do that, go to Admin » Data Streams, then click on your data stream:
Now, click on the switch to turn off Enhanced measurement.
After clicking the switch, a message will pop up asking if you’re sure you want to turn it off. Click Turn off.
This is a very important step! MonsterInsights adds a lot of custom enhanced tracking, and leaving this on can actually result in skewed, incorrect data.
Adjust Data Retention Settings
By default, your data retention settings will be set to 2 months. If you want to be able to use your data in custom reports beyond 2 months (which most people do), head to Admin » Data Settings » Data Retention:
Now, use the dropdown to change your settings to 14 months:
That’s it! You’ve successfully added Google Analytics 4 to WordPress.
Google Analytics 4 & WordPress Frequently Asked Questions
How do I use Google Analytics 4 in WordPress?
Should I use Google Analytics 4?
Yes, we recommend at least setting up a GA4 property for your WordPress site so that it can begin collecting data. It won’t have any of your historical data in it, so it’s a great idea to get it set up and collecting data even if you still use Universal Analytics (or MonsterInsights) to see all your reports.
Is Universal Analytics going away?
Yes. In July 2023, Google will begin sunsetting UA. Data will no longer be collected in your UA property – it’ll only be collected GA4. You may be able to view historical data in Universal Analytics for some time after, but UA will stop recording new site visits and data on the sunset date.
How do I activate Google Analytics 4?
For instructions on creating a Google Analytics 4 property without a Universal Analytics property already set up, check out How to Add a Property in Google Analytics (Step by Step).
If you do have a Universal Analytics property and you’d like to add a GA4, follow these simple steps:
You can go through the process of creating a GA4 property pretty easily by following Google’s Setup Assistant. To access the assistant, head to the Admin cog then GA4 Setup Assistant in the middle column.
Next, click the blue Get Started button.
Then, click the Create Property button. The last option will either be checked or not based on which version of the tracking tag you currently have installed.
We hope you learned how to connect Google Analytics 4 to WordPress easily. Looking for some ideas for what you can do with Google Analytics? Read 7 Types of Google Analytics Reports to Grow Your Business.