Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has recently introduced a new conversion counting method, which allows users to modify their settings. In addition, the latest update includes an option to count conversions “once per session,” a feature that closely resembles the counting method used in Universal Analytics (UA). Charles Farina, who serves as the GA4 & Adobe Analytics lead at Adswerve, first noticed this update, and it was subsequently confirmed on a Google help page.
Understanding the Dual Conversion Counting Methods
GA4 now provides users with two distinct conversion counting methods:
- “Once per event”: Under this setting, GA4 counts every event as a conversion whenever it takes place. Google Update recommends this option as it offers an understanding of user behaviour on the site or app. Moreover, it differentiates between sessions with multiple conversions and those with only one conversion. For instance, if a user completes five conversions in one session, this setting counts five conversions.
- “Once per session” (Legacy): This option counts an event as a conversion only once per session, similar to how Universal Analytics functions. Opt for this option if you want your GA4 conversion to count to align closely with your UA conversion count. For example, if a user completes five conversions in one session, this setting counts as one conversion.
Default Conversion Counting Method
GA4 uses a default conversion counting method based on how the conversion events were created if a user doesn’t select a counting method. The default method varies depending on the type of conversion event:
- Conversions created from Universal Analytics goals in an automatically generated GA4 property or through the goals migration tool in the Setup Assistant after February 2023 will use “once per session” as the default counting method.
- “once per event” is the default counting method for all other conversions.
Identifying Conversion Counting Method
You can check the counting method for each conversion event by going to the Conversion Events table in Admin > Conversions. Here’s how to identify the counting method:
- An icon next to a conversion event represents the “once per session” counting method.
- If there is no icon next to a conversion event, the “once per event” counting method is used.
Modifying Conversion Counting Method
If you want to modify the counting method for a conversion event in GA4, here are the steps to follow:
- Go to Google Analytics and click on Admin.
- Under the Property menu, select Conversions.
- In the Conversion Events table, click on the three-dot icon “More” at the far right of the row.
- Choose “Change counting method” from the dropdown menu.
- Select your preferred counting method (Note: If you do not have the necessary permissions, you cannot select an option).
- Click on Save to apply the changes.
Remember that modifying the counting method applies only to future conversions for a specific conversion event and not to past data. Therefore, you can make changes to the counting method at any time.
To sum up
Introducing the “once per session” conversion counting method in GA4 provides greater adaptability and insights into user behaviour. By giving the choice of both “once per event” and “once per session” options, GA4 enables you to correlate your conversion data with Universal Analytics more closely.