What are Key Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

What are Key Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

What are Key Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)? Google conversions in GA4 as Key Events to ensure the same conversion stats in GA4 and Google Ads.

By: Mussarat Nosheen | 4 mins read
Published: Apr 25, 2024 12:56:59 AM | Updated: May 22, 2024 02:49:49 AM

In March 2024 Google rolled out a new update in its Analytics tool Google Analytics 4, Conversions are now called Key Events. 

Read this blog to find out what conversions were in Google Analytics 4

With this, many wonder what else will change. How would it affect the conversion reports in Google Analytics 4 and Google Ads? 

And if you need to change anything the way you configure events. We will clarify these and other queries in this blog.   

Get in touch to learn about Analytico’s  Digital Analytics Audit services or GA4 audit services.

What is an Event in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

An event in Google Analytics 4 is a user action taken on your website or mobile app. These include loading a page, clicking a link, downloading a PDF, or purchasing something. 

It measures the user behavior helping to track the various touchpoints leading to the key event (more on that later) in the conversion funnel. 

Types of Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Google Analytics 4 records different types of events. They are briefly discussed below:

We will discuss the last in more detail in the following sections. 

What are Key Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

Valuable events were called conversions in Google Analytics 4, but Google has updated its nomenclature to call these events, key events. 

But it is the same thing with a new name. You collect events, including custom events to get the required information to assess the performance of your website, app, or specific campaigns. 

Then, mark the events valuable to your business as key events. Let us explain the procedure below. 

How to Mark an Event as a Key Event?

The method to mark an event as a key event is similar to the one used to mark a conversion.

  • Go to Google Analytics 4 > Admin. 

Go to Admin in GA4 to mark an Event as a Key Event

  • In Admin go to Data display, and click Events.

In Admin go to Data Display to mark an event as a Key Event

  • Scroll down to the desired event and toggle the bar next to it to mark it as a key event

  • If you do not find the desired event in the Events list, scroll back up and click “Create event”.

Click create an event and input details for an event if not found in the list, before marking it a key event

  • In the Create events tab, enter the new Event’s name, Matching conditions, and Parameter configurations. Proceed to mark it as a Key Event once you create and verify it in the real-time reports. 

Why Did Google Rename Conversions as Key Events in Google Analytics 4?

Previously, businesses were importing Conversions from GA4 to their Google Ads for bidding on ads and reporting purposes. 

Given that conversions in GA4 included conversions from all channels and not just Google Ads the conversion statistics in the two tools did not match. 

Factors like different attribution models and lookback windows also contributed to the differences in the conversion numbers, confusing several users. 

To address the confusion around different conversion stats Google renamed conversions as Key Events in GA4.  Now conversions refer to the key events you import to Google Ads. 

To ensure your Google Analytics 4 and Google Ads accounts share the same attribution settings follow the steps below. 

  • Go to GA4 > Admin > Data display > Attribution settings.

Go to Attribution settings in GA4's Admin to find the attribution model in use.

  • Click the Attribution settings to select the suitable attribution model in the Reporting attribution model section from the drop-down menu. 

Select the desired attribution model in the Reporting Attribution model section of the Attribution settings

  • Next, scroll down to select the Channels that can receive credit. Here, you may choose between Google paid channels or Paid and organic channels

  • Finally, scroll to the bottom of the page to select the Key event look-back window and Save the changes. 

Fix the window for the key events look back window  in the Attribution settings

Where Can You Find Key Events and Conversion Reports in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

Since the Key Events are used for GA4, you can view them in the standard reports or Exploration reports in Google Analytics 4.

Find Key events in a traffic Acquisition report in GA4

  • In the Advertising reports, however, you will find a Conversion performance section, currently in its Beta version. It focuses on Google Ads conversions, or events important as conversions to Google Ads. 

Find the Conversion performance report in the Advertising report

  • It focuses only on Google Ads conversions or events that are important as conversions to Google Ads. With the change in titles and data attribution, the numbers in this report match the numbers in the Google Ads account.

Find Google Ads-related conversion data in the Conversion performance report in the Advertising Report in GA4

  • Now, if you go to the Attribution section of the Advertising report, you will find the Key events path. It only deals with the events marked as key events in GA4; not the conversions in Google Ads. 

The Attribution report in the Advertising Report in GA4 shows the Key Events path and not the Conversion path

Pros and Cons of the Introduction of Key Events in GA4

It is a change indeed and may need some getting used to. As of now, it may have some benefits and drawbacks at the same time. 

Pros of Key Events

Cons of Key Events

It does remove the confusion for those who had it, about different conversions in GA4 and Google Ads. 

The mismatch between Key Events from paid channels (those other than Google Ads) and Conversion stats remains, so there will be some confusion. 

Unified conversion stats in both GA4 and Google Ads.

 

Chances for more advanced analytics in GA4. 

 

How Are We Going to Work From Now On?

It depends on the use case. 

  • To quickly check the numbers on Google Ads conversions, go to the advertising workspace to check the Conversion performance report. 
  • To check the performance of important events regardless of their source being Google Ads or any other channel you look at standard reports or Exploration reports

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What new actions are required in GA4 for Key Events / Conversions?

You do not need to take any additional measures. 

2. Do you need to update your Google Analytics 4 tracking code or Google Tag Manager?

No, you do not need to do that.

3. Will Key Events be calculated differently than the legacy conversions?

No, the functionality of Key Events remains the same as the legacy Conversions. 

4. Can an Event be marked as a Key Event and a Conversion simultaneously?

Yes. For example, a form submission Event can be marked as a Key Event, and you can also import it to Google Ads at which point it will become a conversion and appear in the Conversion Performance reports of Google Ads. 

An Event being a Conversion in Google Ads does not affect how it is calculated as a Key Event in Google Analytics 4. 

Conclusion

This blog discusses, “What are Key Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)”. Events are any interactions users have on a website or mobile application. 

A business marks an event, valuable for its success, as a Key event. Previously it was called a Conversion in GA4, but because the same terminology was used in Google Ads and both showed different values, it was causing confusion. 

When businesses want to use a valuable Event (or Key Event) in Google Ads, they import it into Google Ads. Once imported, it is now called a Conversion in Google Ads. 

Analysts can view Google Ads-related Conversions in the Conversion Performance report in the Advertising Reports section of GA4. 

And the Key Events in the standard and Exploration reports, and Attribution reports section of the Advertising reports. 

 

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