Google has recently upgraded from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). GA4 changes the way data is collected and reorients the metrics from sessions to events. Data in GA4 looks different than it did in UA. In this article, we’re going to cover those differences.
How CallRail data looked in UA
In the UA integration, you would see CallRail events and goals populated with source, medium, campaign, and landing page data corresponding to the attribution for that event. For example, if a lead clicked on an ad and then placed a call to a website pool, you would typically see the Call Event Goal in Google Ads attributed to “google/cpc” in your Source/Medium reports and see the Phone Call Event Goal populated in the correct campaign of your Google Ads Acquisition reports in UA.
How CallRail data looks in GA4
Interactions with session data
We can now detect and send session IDs issued by Google Analytics for interactions with session data. This allows our events to appear in Google Analytics built-in attribution reporting (i.e., "source/medium" of "google/cpc" for a website pool call with a source of Google Ads).
We'll still to send our custom dimensions for all events, so any custom reporting you've built will continue to work across all interactions regardless of whether the interactions have session data.
Interactions without session data
Google did not make the necessary attribution fields available to us in GA4, and as a result we cannot send our source and medium data to their default channels. This means you will not see source, medium, campaign, or landing page data for events posted through the GA4 integration. Instead, we will send attribution data like source, medium, and campaign as a custom parameter. This is a Google limitation, which is why we recommend completing the custom dimension and custom metric setup immediately after activating your GA4 integration.
We cannot send data to standard GA4 attribution fields which include but are not limited to:
- Landing Page
You can expect these fields to be populated with values like “not set” or “none”.
This data is also used by GA4 to determine the "Default Channel Grouping," so as a result our events will show as "Direct" or "Undefined".
Because there is not a standard gclid field, our events will not show in any connected Google Ads reporting within GA4. Additionally, the conversion import from GA4 to Google Ads will not include our events. Instead, we recommend using our direct integration with Google Ads.