Google Analytics 4 Overview

In July 2023, Google retired its Universal Analytics properties and introduced Google Analytics 4. All Talis Aspire reading list tenancies now have a Google Analytics 4 account attached to them. You can use the Google Analytics account to find out some key questions:

  • How many unique visits have there been to my tenancy?
  • What is the top list for the month?
  • What is the most clicked on item?
  • Where in the world are people accessing the tenancy from?
  • What devices and browsers are people using to access the tenancy?

Getting started

On the homepage of your Google Analytics 4 instance, you will get a snapshot of the number of total users over the last 7 days, the number of new users, an event count figure, and an average engagement time figure.

Under ‘Last 7 days’ you can change the graph to reflect a different time period from a number of preset options or you can choose ‘Custom’ to select your own date range.



On the left-hand side of your GA4 property menu, under the Home button, you will see a Reports menu. These reports are organised into Acquisition, Engagement, User and Tech (Note: Monetisation is also included but has no relevance for Talis Aspire usage).


On the Acquisition reports tab, you will see several graphs capturing information on your total number of users, what countries your users have come from and how they found your tenancy.

User acquisition and traffic acquisition graphs can be expanded for more detail and to set specific date ranges. You can also click the pencil icon to customise reports further.


The Engagement reports provide statistics on user engagement time, which pages and screens get the most views, and what your top event counts are.

Events and pages and screens graphs can be expanded for more detail and to set specific date ranges. You can also click the pencil icon to customise reports further.

Top tip: In the Pages and screens graph, you can change the display from URLs to titles by changing the ‘Page path and screen class’ to ‘Page title and screen name.’


The User reports provide statistics on demographic information such as what country and town/city your users are accessing your tenancy from.

You can get a further breakdown by clicking on Countries or Cities which compares users from particular countries/cities and their engagement rate. You can also click the pencil icon to customise reports further.


The Tech reports provide statistics on platforms, operating systems, devices, browsers, device categories and screen resolution, thereby giving you an idea of how your users are accessing your tenancy.

You can get a further breakdown of these statistics by expanding the graphs which will then compare your chosen focus (e.g. browser) by user engagement rate. You can also click the pencil icon to customise reports further.

What do these numbers mean?

The data captured in Google Analytics is produced by Google, who have several support articles on their Analytics Help page which go into further detail on how data is captured. Below are some of the most commonly used terminologies that you will see in your Google Analytics 4 instance and an explanation of what this means.  

  • In GA4, ‘Users’ refers to ‘Active Users’ which is the number of unique users who visited the site. ‘New users’ refers to the number of users who interacted with the site for the first time.
  • Direct traffic refers to people accessing your tenancy by entering the URL into their browser address bar. Meanwhile, ‘referral’ refers to users who visit your tenancy via a link on another site.
  • Page_view refers to each time the page is loaded. User_engagement refers to when the site is in the foreground or the webpage is in focus for at least one second. Session_start captures when a user engages with the site. First_visit refers to the first time a user visits the site.
  • Engaged sessions refers to the number of sessions that lasted 10 seconds or longer, had one or more conversion events or two or more page or screen views.
  • Event count refers to the number of times an interaction took place on your tenancy. This might include loading a page or clicking a link.


To further help our users understand Google Analytics 4 we held a webinar in June 2023, shortly before access was opened to the new platform. We were joined by James Fisher of Leeds Beckett University who talked about some of the capabilities of the new platform, this recording can be accessed here.

If you need further help with Google Analytics 4, please raise a support ticket.


Will I be able to access data from Universal Analytics in Google Analytics 4?

The method of collecting data in Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 is entirely different, so it is not possible to import data from UA to GA4. Guidance on Google's support site suggests that they will continue to keep Universal Analytics properties live for 6 months from 1st July 2023 and they strongly suggest exporting any historical reports from UA during this time. See this Google support article for further information: Universal Analytics is going away

Where can I learn more about the difference between Universal Analytics and GA4?

The following article was recommended to us by a user who'd found it very useful when starting to explore GA4: Enhanced Measurement in Google Analytics 4: The Guide.

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