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3 min

From Insights to Action: Get More Out of GA4 with Apps Script

by Bhargavi Kashyap July 17, 2023

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has brought a significant shift in the world of marketing and analytics. The change to an event-driven data model implies that the focus is now on user interactions and events rather than pageviews.

This shift enables a more granular understanding of user behavior across devices and platforms—providing deeper insights into the customer. Improved cross-platform tracking capabilities now allow marketers to monitor user interactions across websites, mobile apps, and other digital platforms. This provides a holistic view of user behavior and engagement, enabling a more accurate attribution and analysis journey.

We discussed the many changes that GA4 brings in a previous blog post, including a change in the technical abilities required within marketing teams. Traditionally, marketing teams have relied on tools and platforms that require minimal technical expertise. However, with the advent of GA4, there is a growing need for marketers to expand their technical skill set. The rising importance of event tracking and data analysis in GA4, coupled with the challenges of limited data availability and accessibility, underscore the need for an enhanced technical skill set.

To fully unlock the potential of GA4 and advance in data analytics, marketers need to harness the power of JavaScript. JavaScript is a powerful programming language that can be used to automate tasks and create custom reports in GA4. JavaScript proficiency empowers marketing teams to enhance data collection, implement customized tracking, create custom dashboards, automate processes, and gain a competitive edge in the digital landscape. This can save marketing teams vast amounts of time and effort—while also helping them to get more insights from their data.

One of the key use cases where learning JavaScript becomes imperative for marketers is the unavailability of Google Sheets add-ons for GA4. Google Sheets has long been a favored tool for data manipulation, automation, and reporting within marketing teams. This limitation can hinder the seamless integration of GA4 data into Google Sheets for analysis and reporting purposes.

Fortunately, there is a solution to circumvent the unavailability of Google Sheets add-ons for GA4, and it lies within Apps Script. Apps Script is a powerful cloud-based JavaScript development platform that allows marketers to automate tasks and extend the functionality of Google Workspace applications. By leveraging Apps Script, marketers can create custom scripts to extract, transform, and load GA4 data into Google Sheets without relying on traditional add-ons or learning how to code. Apps Script is a free platform, and it also allows the integration of GA4 data with other data sources, such as CRM or email marketing platforms.

In the realm of marketing analytics, having programmatic access to data is essential for in-depth analysis and automation. To cater to this need, Google has introduced the Google Analytics Data API v1, which enables Google Analytics users to programmatically access report data from Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This API, combined with the power of Apps Script, opens a world of possibilities for marketers looking to leverage GA4 data within their automation workflows and custom applications.

Let’s consider a use case where a marketing team wants to generate a detailed report of user engagement metrics from GA4 and automatically update it in a Google Sheet on a regular basis. This can be achieved using Apps Script:

In this example, the ‘updateGA4DataInSheet’ function fetches GA4 data using the Analytics Reporting API, clears the existing data in the Google Sheet, and writes the updated data to the sheet with appropriate headers. The ‘createDailyTrigger’ function sets up a time-based trigger to run the ‘updateGA4DataInSheet’ function daily, automatically updating the report. Sample code and additional documentation from Google can be found here.

The technical landscape within marketing teams is evolving rapidly, driven by the introduction of GA4 and the need for deeper data analysis. While this change brings about challenges, it also presents an opportunity for marketers to enhance their skill sets and expand their technical knowledge. By learning JavaScript and leveraging tools like Apps Script, marketing teams can overcome the unavailability of Google Sheets add-ons for GA4 and unlock the full potential of their data. Embracing this change and fostering collaboration between technical experts and marketers will empower organizations to make data-driven decisions and stay ahead in an ever-changing digital world.

Photo Credit: Shahadat Rahman | Unsplash

Bhargavi Kashyap
Data Strategist

As a Data Strategist at One North, Bhargavi enables clients to understand and utilize data to make informed marketing and business decisions. She helps them streamline their digital strategy and align it to their marketing objectives by providing valuable insights and building robust data programs.