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UPDATE: if interested in support for GA4, please simply vote this Feature Request: https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/295746804 (it's used by Google to prioritize their work on GA4, and it's just what we need for the plugin).

State of GA4

Hi, here we want to share the current state of the plugin with respect to the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4). GA4 is scheduled by Google to supplant Google Analytics Universal (UA).

TL;DR look at the bold text.

The Measurement Protocol

As you know, the plugin uses the Google Analytics Measurement Protocol (an open web API) to provide a 100% cross-platform analytics solution, not dependent on any closed source pre-built SDKs. The Measurement Protocol for UA is a completely different protocol than the GA4 version.

At the time of writing, the current state of the Measurement Protocol for GA4 is not suitable for replacing the default SDKs provided by Google. This means that we cannot currently provide an integration for GA4.

We're in contact with Google and we're also analyzing possible workarounds and alternatives. But at the moment we can't guarantee support for GA4, since this depends on technologies provided by Google.

Server-to-server (S2S)

For the Measurement Protocol to work as a replacement for the default SDKs provided by Google, it must support what Google calls server-to-server (S2S). Here what the official documentation says about it: https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/protocol/ga4#full_server-to-server

Full Server-to-Server
While it is possible to send events to Google Analytics solely with measurement protocol, only partial reporting may be available. […] Some event and parameter names are reserved for use via automatic collection and cannot be sent through the measurement protocol.

The first appearance of this note should likely be dated between July-August 2022.

This is different than UA, that is providing a S2S implementation supporting all the events and parameters.

Our tests

We periodically tested the state of the Measurement Protocol for GA4 and here is a summary of the results. Please note that it's possible that something changed in the mean time.

What is working

  • custom events are successfully recorded (their “event name” values are shown in the reports);
    • parameters and user properties are not retained in the reports, but we not tested using Custom Dimensions/Metrics (that should be mandatory accordingly to the documentation).
  • events are correctly displayed in the Real-Time reports;
  • engagement time seems to be correctly tracked.

What is not working

  • Geo Location is missing, from both the Real-Time reports and the ordinary reports. Accordingly to the support staff, a feature request exists to add the feature.
  • users are partially tracked in some way, but the numbers in the reports seem wrong (apparently only the “Users” field is updated, while all the other indicators are not updated - but we not investigated this feature extensively);
  • sessions are not tracked (but we not investigated this extensively, maybe specific parameters are required);
  • all the other reports in GA4 are empty:
    • all the “standard properties” shown in the default reports are missing (like “browser”, “app version”, “screen resolution”, etc.).
    • “reasonable” requests sent for standard events are detected as “reserved” by the back-end and then discarded (the events do not appear at all in the reports). Accordingly to the support staff, it's not possible to use reserved names in Measurement Protocol.
    • also trying to use custom events for the “standard properties” is not working. Enabling the “debug_mode”, the reserved parameters are correctly shown in the “DebugView” page. But when the events are available in the ordinary reports (the following day), all such information are missing.

The most critical limitation at the moment is the impossibility to log the “standard properties” handled by GA4, since they feed all the pre-made reports available in the GA4 system. Without them, all the standard reports in GA4 will remain empty. A blocker for anyone looking for an analytics solution.

What's next

We informed Google of the limitations we found and they are aware of them. For some of the reported issues, they have internal Feature Requests filled. But we don't know if and when they will be addressed.

UPDATE: If you want to raise the priority of those feature requests, helping Google to have a better idea of the number of affected developers, please simply vote this Feature Request: https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/295746804 (it's used by Google to prioritize their work on GA4, and it's just what we need for the plugin).

For other needs, you can reach the Google Analytics team at https://developers.google.com/analytics/help/#contact-us.

ue5-google-analytics/ga4-state.txt · Last modified: 2023/10/12 11:39 by Staff