How to Track Google Analytics 4 Conversions: GA4 Goals

Phil Pearce
First published June 1st, 2022
Last updated September 10th, 2023
Learn how to track Google Analytics 4 conversions to better understand your marketing performance by setting up the 'new' GA4 goals.
How to Track Google Analytics 4 Conversions: GA4 Goals

If you’ve set up GA4, you’ll know it comes packed full of features to tell you even more about individual customers. Google Analytics 4 conversions help us learn about the interactions that our users have on our site.

But what is a conversion, and how do you set them up? You may also be wondering about how these are different from goals. In this blog, we’ll cover that and more.


What is a conversion?

Every good business should have a list of objectives that they want to achieve. This should also be the case for your website. Think about all the different interactions that you want your users to complete on your site. This could be entering details into a mailing list form, downloading a file, or clicking on a product to view its details.

By tracking these important interactions, you can better understand the behaviours of your users. Is there a certain area of your site that is more successful in persuading users to complete GA4 conversions? If so, think about the elements that are working together to make the page successful. You can then seek to replicate these elements on other, less successful pages.


What is the difference between GA4 Goals and Conversions?

Google Analytics 4 conversions essentially replace goals in GA4. Some people may call conversions GA4 goals but the proper term is ‘conversion event’.


How are they different?

Goals provided a true or false value to the questions you had set up as goals. Example: “Did this user complete this action in their session”.

But the problem with this is that if the user completed the same goal multiple times, you wouldn’t know. A Google Analytics 4 conversion event does tell you if the action was completed multiple times.


What are the limitations of Google Analytics conversions?

With goals in Universal Analytics (UA), you could track 20 goals (or conversions) per view. To get around this problem you could create multiple views and track 20 more.

The problem with Google Analytics 4 conversions is that views are no longer available in GA4. However, this limitation is offset with the ability to create 30 conversion events.


What are the different types of conversions?

There are two different kinds of conversions that will occur on your site: micro and macro conversions.


Micro Conversions

This kind of conversion relates to less important engagements on your website. For example, a conversion that helps a user to navigate from one page to another. A micro conversion also includes events where a user interacts with an object on your site. This could include playing a video or opening a gallery.


Macro Conversions

A macro conversion is the most important kind of conversion. Essentially, if you’re business is to succeed online, these are the kinds of interactions you want to be seeing. This includes a user purchasing a product or making an enquiry.

Both types of conversion are essential for running a successful business online though. Just because a macro conversion is generally more important, it doesn’t mean that micro conversions should be overlooked. Micro conversions can often lead to macro conversions.

They can also tell you a great deal about the ways a user navigates your site, and the kinds of content they engage with. This can be extremely helpful when mapping out and trying to improve your customer journey.


Events in Google Analytics 4

With GA4, Google has fundamentally changed the ways in which data was collected. Now, each user interaction is classed as an ‘event’. There are plenty of pre-defined events, but you can also program custom events. This means that you can set specific parameters on your site for measurement.

This basically gives you the power to measure any area you like, from downloads to page scrolling. Making the most of events is crucial for getting the most out of Google Analytics.

Events are an essential part of measuring conversions. When an event occurs, this can trigger a conversion. The two systems work hand in hand.


Automatic events (pre-defined)

Let’s begin by talking about the kind of conversions that Google has already configured to run automatically. These Google Analytics 4 conversions are pre-defined and cannot be disabled. These include:

  • first_open
  • app_store_subscription_convert
  • app_store_subscription_renew
  • in_app_purchase
  • purchase

If you’d like to find a full list of automatic conversions, head to your Google Analytics 4 property. Move your mouse to the left-hand corner of your screen, until the toolbar shows up. From here, click ‘Configure’.

Screengrab of Google Analytics 4 Dashboard

From the following screen, select ‘Conversions’.

screenshot of Conversion report on GA4

This brings you to a list of all Google Analytics 4 conversion events occurring on your property. From here you can also see a list of pre-defined conversions, that cannot be deleted. It’s important to note that conversions will only show up here if they have received at least one corresponding event.


Turning on Conversions

As well as a long list of automatic conversions, you can mark pre-existing events to be measured as conversions. To do this, head back to the ‘Configure’ page and this time, select ‘Events’.

Events Reports on GA4

This will bring up a list of pre-existing and (if you’ve created any) custom events on your site.

Each of these events can be marked as a conversion. For this example, we’re going to turn ‘page_view’ into a conversion event. To do this, select the toggle to the right of the event name called ‘Mark as Conversion’.

events in google analytics 4


conversion toggle in google analytics 4

Once an event has been marked as a conversion, it can be viewed from the ‘Conversions Page’. It will take up to 24 hours for your conversion data to start filtering through.

google analytics 4 conversion events

If you want to stop counting conversions, you can unmark an event at any time. Remember, that conversion data will only be collected after an event has been marked as a conversion. Any data prior to this will not be included.


How to create custom events for Google Analytics 4 conversions

Having a pre-set list of events for our conversions is useful. However, these events are limited in the information they can provide. For example, using the ‘page view’ event, will mark a conversion for every single page that is viewed. But there are times when more specific data is required.

What if you need to find conversion data about a specific page? Well, for this, you’ll need a ‘custom event’. Here’s how you can set one up:

Step 1: Identify what you want to track and select configure>events.

The kind of custom event that you’ll want to create depends on the nature of business that you’re running. Luckily, Google has a fantastic list of recommended events. These cover many industries, from retail and eCommerce to gaming.

Before creating a custom event, you should ensure that there isn’t already a pre-set that meets your needs.

To begin, we once again need to go the toolbar at the right of our screen and select ‘Configure’. Then click ‘Events’.

configure tab on ga4

events in ga4


Step 2: Select create event

You’ll now be met with a list of all current events on your property. Select the ‘create event’ button (the blue rectangle on the top right of the screen). From the following page click ‘create’.

modify or create an event in ga4


Step 3: Set the parameters of what you want to track

For our event, we’ll be measuring views on the ‘about us’ page. You can choose whichever page you’d like, as long as you’re following the same structure.

Start by naming your event. Again, this can be any name you want, as long as it gives you enough information to know what the event is about.

Leave the parameter and operator unchanged and select ‘add condition’. You’ll then be given a second group of duplicate options. In the Value box, enter ‘page_location’ and change the operator to ‘contains’.

Finally, in the values section paste the corresponding part of the URL from the page you want the event to monitor. For us, it’s ‘/about-us/’. Now hit create.

Create an event in Google Analytics 4


Step 4: Mark your new custom event as a conversion

Your new event will now show up in the ‘Custom events’ list. It’s now time to mark it as a conversion. As before, we need to select the toggle to the right of our event that is labelled ‘Mark as Conversion’.

mark as conversion toggle in ga4

And there you have it! You’ve set up a new event and marked it as a conversion.

There can be a lot to take in if you’re new to GA and event creation. It’s worth having a play around with events so that you can get to grips with the system. Google has a handy in depth guide all about events and it’s worth reading.

Marking existing events as conversions from migration

Perhaps while you were migrating to GA4 you migrated your events. Well because of the way that conversions have replaced goals, the events that previously triggered goals won’t trigger conversions.

This is a serious GA4 migration mistake to avoid. You need to go into ‘events’ on the GA4 interface and mark any migrated events as conversions. Just as we showed you before with pre-defined and custom events.

If you don’t do this, your Google Ads CPC bidding will be affected (if you’re GA4 is linked).


Viewing your conversion data

Whether it’s an automatic conversion or a conversion based on a custom event, you’ll want to be able to view your data. To do this, we once again need to return to the toolbar on the left of our screen and select Reports’.

You’ll see a list of options. Select ‘Life cycle’ to open a drop-down menu. From here, choose ‘Engagement’ and then ‘Conversions’.

It’s here that you’ll see all the data from your active conversions. This information will be presented as both a line graph and in a handy table. You can view the revenue attributed to conversions. You can also view the number of users that contributed to conversions.

As with most data on GA, you can filter this information to be very specific. You can find conversions by device, nationality and more. Just select the ‘+’ symbol next to the event name.

Screenshot of conversion data on GA4 over time


Viewing Conversions by Traffic Source

As well as viewing raw data from your conversions, you might want to view which sources are bringing the most converting traffic to your property. You need to go to the ‘Traffic Acquisition’ page to do this.

To get there, select ‘Acquisition’ and then ‘Traffic acquisition’.

traffic acquisition in google analytics 4

This should bring you to the screen shown below. You can view the sources that brought the most traffic to your property, as well as the average amount of time that people spent there.

From the ‘Conversions’ column in the table, you can see the number of conversions attributed to each source. This information can be invaluable.

For example, if you found that Facebook was bringing the largest number of conversions to your site, it’s a good indication that you should focus your marketing there.

On the other hand, you might be spending a great deal of time and resources marketing through poorly performing sources. If you find your efforts are producing low amounts of conversions, you should either reduce the number of resources or alter your marketing.

By making the most of the information on this page, you can do a lot to improve how your business operates online.

conversion events by traffic source


Conversions are a must

Goals may no longer exist as a feature within Google Analytics 4, but don’t worry, they’re replaced by something better. Conversions are the new goals, featuring all the same attributes but in a more powerful and improved way.

It cannot be understated how useful conversions can be in helping you to improve your site. Is a marketing campaign bringing low conversions? Scrap it or improve it. Is a certain page bringing a high number of conversions compared to others? Use it as a model to improve the rest of your content.

Every successful online business will be mindful of its conversion rate. Don’t get left behind, start making the most of your conversions today as well as the other benefits Google Analytics 4 has to offer.


Related resources

If you haven’t migrated to Google Analytics 4 yet, you might be interested in using our free GA4 migration calculator which will tell you how long it will take. We also have a GA4 migration checklist that will help you make the transition foolproof.


Phil Pearce
Follow me
5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Articles from our Blog
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x