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Latest Updates on Google Data Analytics (December 2022)

The highlights of the updates on BigQuery, Looker Studio, Google Analytics (GA) & Google Tag Manager (GTM). By Alexander Junke

In this blog post, I want to summarize the new releases from the Google tools, that we use daily in datadice. Therefore I want to give an overview of the new features of BigQuery, Looker Studio, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Furthermore, I will focus on the releases that I consider to be the most important ones and I will also name some other changes that were made.

If you want to take a closer look, here you can find the Release Notes from BigQuery, Looker Studio, Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager.


Lineage Tab

There is a new tab available when you click on a table next to Schema, Details, and Preview and it is called Lineage. This feature is still in preview and there is a nice idea behind it. 

It has the same look as the new query execution graph from BigQuery and shows the steps and transformations of the data before and after the selected table/view. The blue BigQuery icon shows a table that is connected with the selected one and the orange icon shows transformations in between.

The idea is good, you already get some details and for a first version, it is already quite comprehensive. The only bigger problem we have currently is that for a lot of tables, the lineage graph is quite small, but the table is connected with more transformations and tables. Maybe it comes over time or Google has to improve it.

Private connection to Cloud SQL

It was already possible to connect Cloud SQL with BigQuery. Cloud SQL is the operational cloud database solution from Google and can run with MySQL or PostgreSQL. There was already a public IP connection available.

Now there is also a private connection available. To start with that you have to set the correct configuration for the instance you want to connect. You have to enable the following two settings:

After this change you have to set the connection in BQ with the usual menu:

Further information you can find in the official documentation.

Query guide for Trends dataset

Google added a new section to the documentation to describe a starting point of working with BigQuery. For the first queries, it can be used the official Google Trends public dataset. The guide you can find here.

Looker Studio

Looker Studio Pro

Some weeks ago Data Studio got rebranded to Looker Studio. One of the big advantages of Data Studio was that it is free to use. This aspect stays the same for Looker Studio. A more detailed overview you can find here.

Additionally, Looker Studio got a Pro version you have to pay for and comes with some more features. The most significant improvements are for the managing and accessing part of dashboards.

On 1st December 2022, Google announced in the Release Notes that the Pro version is available. We're already in talks to test Looker Studio Pro but still haven't received access. If you already have experience with it, let us know!

Monitoring GA4 usage

Beginning of November 2022 Google announced that the GA4 connector in Looker Studio and the corresponding data is bound to the Google Analytics Data API quotas. 

That means you have per hour/day a limited amount of data you can consume in your reports. When you exceed this limit you will get an error message. 

To get a feeling for the usage and quotas, Google added a panel to your LS report to analyze the GA4 data usage and corresponding quotes.

You find it by right-clicking on the blank report and choosing “Google Analytics token usage”.

Then you get an overview of the used tokens per Session, on the current page or per chart. Additionally, the remaining tokens on a high level are also available.

When you right-click on a chart and go to the same menu, the component tab is available and you see when tokens got consumed.

Google Analytics

Landing pages reports

In the Engagement section, you will find a new “Landing Page” report in your GA4 property (in some properties I do not see the report, but in most of them it is already there). The idea of the new report is quite easy, it shows relevant KPIs for the landing pages, pages where the user starts the journey on the website.

Change Home Page charts

Every Google Analytics 4 property got a new homepage some months ago. The important aspect of the homepage is, that it gets created and changed by an AI. The AI will observe the behavior of the analyst and shows then the most important charts for the user on the homepage.

Google gives the user more control over the homepage now. You can still use the KPIs and charts the AI recommends, but the user is also able to change the shown KPIs permanently. The user needs to change it just once and even after a new refresh, the new KPI is still selected.

Copy UA audiences to GA4

In a lot of projects, we’ve already made the switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. You have to ensure that the data between UA and GA4 is kind of the same (although it will never match 100%) and use and show the new features of GA4.

A critical aspect was usually the definition of the audiences in UA. These audiences need to be shifted to GA4. This is sometimes not just a copy&paste of the definitions, because the data structure of GA4 is different from UA and at least the names of the KPIs are different (and also the meaning behind them). 

So Google published a new Addon for Google Sheets to convert UA audiences to GA4 audiences. First, you have to install it here. Then you can open a Google Sheet and in the Extensions section you see the Migrator already, then click on “Migrate audience definitions to GA4”.

After selecting the Account and Property you can import the definitions to the Sheet and check if it is possible to migrate to GA4. Then you can select which Audiences should be imported and start it afterward.

After clicking on “Migrate” you see then also which Audience definitions got imported successfully. If the migration was not successful you also get the reason for it, e.g. 

{"name":"GoogleJsonResponseException","details":{"message":"No user scoped dimensions found with wire name usertype","code":400}}

New Session metrics

The Google Analytics 4 properties got 2 new session metrics. 

  • Average session duration: how long the user spends time on the website per session
  • Views per session: the number of page views per session

Behavioral Modeling in real-time charts

Google already published the behavioral modeling for the GA4 Properties, to estimate the journey for users, who declined the consent. 

This modeling is now also available for reports, which have real-time data inside.

Google Tag Manager

No further release for the Google Tag Manager.

Further Links

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