How you can Keep away from Duplicate Conversions and Recreating the Conversion Funnel for GA4

The creator’s views are totally his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and will not at all times mirror the views of Moz.

As you’re most likely all too conscious at this level, GA4 is coming. Previous variations of Google Analytics shall be switched off for just about everybody come June 2023.

Whereas GA4 is enhancing on a regular basis, there are fairly a couple of issues that persons are used to seeing in previous variations of Analytics which, on the very least, take a little bit of creativity within the new world.

One instance is how conversions are dealt with. Within the previous variations of Google Analytics, a conversion might solely hearth as soon as per session. In GA4 conversions are simply one other type of occasion, so it’s potential for a conversion to fireplace a number of occasions in a single session.

Downside is, you could be very if somebody indicators up through your contact-us kind as soon as. However that individual would possibly reload the thank-you web page, or join one thing else through a distinct kind on the location. That doesn’t imply you essentially wish to monitor two conversions.

Talking of signing up through completely different kinds, on some web sites, customers might wind up on the identical thank-you web page having taken very completely different routes to get there. If we don’t have that a lot management, and we’re having to depend on thank-you web page views to trace conversions, it may be laborious for us to separate out completely different varieties of conversions.

In previous variations of GA you might use funnels with a “required” step. You might need one aim with a funnel requiring your occasion web page, one other aim with a funnel requiring a distinct web page, and depend on them to present you completely different conversions. There additionally isn’t an apparent method to do that in GA4.

On this submit, I’m going to take you thru find out how to:

  • Keep away from double counting in GA4.

  • Mechanically ignore suspicious conversions (like folks touchdown direct on the conversion web page).

  • Recreate the type of funnels we anticipated in Common Analytics (in reality we’ll make them higher).

I’ll take you thru a couple of bits in GA4 and others utilizing Google Tag Supervisor. The GA4 strategy is extra simple, however the Tag Supervisor is extra sturdy and may also help you be sure that all of your conversion pixels are exhibiting roughly the identical data (as a result of we’re long gone the purpose the place GA is the one place we’re recording conversions).

Managing conversions in GA4

This part is about modifications we will make purely by the GA4 interface. So long as you’re sending your web page views conversion occasions to GA4 you need to be capable of use these techniques with none code modifications.

Nevertheless: There are some limitations of doing issues by GA4, for instance it could possibly imply that your GA information doesn’t line up with conversions recorded through different platforms.

Avoiding double-counting

Julius Fedorovicius (of Analytics Mania fame) has produced a fantastic guide to making sure that conversions are only recorded once per session.

It’s best to have a learn however broadly:

  • You create a customized viewers based mostly on a sequence that begins with “session_start”

  • You hearth an occasion when somebody enters that viewers

  • You employ that occasion as your conversion.

No shock that Julius has provide you with a very good option to deal with the issue of double-counting:

When you’ve created Segments in Common Analytics Viewers sequences in GA4 look very just like the sequences we used to create for Segments. Nevertheless, the previous Segments had been only a method of visualizing information, whereas Audiences in GA4 are a method of grouping information. We will use Audiences to create one thing new.

That distinction is essential as a result of we will do cool issues like hearth customized occasions when somebody enters an viewers (which Julius makes use of on this resolution).

Common Analytics Section sequence creator

GA4 Viewers sequence creator

The restrictions of utilizing Google Analytics audiences

This isn’t actually a limitation so far as GA goes however it’s a consideration nonetheless. Julius’ resolution is nice for ensuring we’re not double-counting conversions in GA, however GA most likely isn’t the one method we’re recording conversions.

The typical website most likely has a bunch of separate conversion monitoring pixels and people might find yourself double-counting conversions.

For instance: Facebook and Google each describe how they keep away from double-counting conversions, however their options largely depend on precisely matching transaction IDs, and even when they’re dealing with it okay, there’s a bunch of smaller fish on the market which are additionally providing conversion monitoring and might want a bit extra hand-holding.

If we wish to be sure that we’re solely recording one conversion per session, it’s helpful to verify all of our conversion monitoring is working in an analogous method. Tag Supervisor is a superb resolution for that (I describe an answer within the Tag Supervisor part under).

You can too run into issues if, for instance, your affirmation web page is by some means listed or bookmarked by customers — folks touchdown immediately on it could possibly result in bizarre sudden conversions. We will additionally use Tag Supervisor to protect towards that somewhat bit.

Recreating the conversion funnel

Sticking with the GA4 interface for now, we will additionally adapt the AnalyticsMania strategy to create our funnel-based conversions too by including further steps to the sequence.

For what it’s value, conversion funnels are not the best option to categorize conversions. If you should utilize something extra direct (just like the id of the shape they’ve stuffed out, a separate thank-you web page) then that’s a a lot extra dependable option to categorize conversions. That mentioned, we don’t reside in an ideal world, and generally there isn’t the choice to fully rebuild your conversion course of.

In Fedorovicius’ instance we simply have two steps in our viewers sequence:

  1. Session_start
    Not directly adopted by

  2. Conversion

Which mainly means “somebody lands on the location after which at any level throughout their session, they convert”.

To recreate the aim funnels you could be utilizing in Common Analytics – we will simply add one other step to the sequence. As an example:

  1. Session_start
    Not directly adopted by

  2. Visiting our event_page
    Not directly adopted by

  3. Touchdown on our thanks web page/changing

That ought to imply we will create one conversion which is: Customers who went by our occasion web page after which transformed.

And one other conversion which is: Customers who went by our sponsorship web page after which transformed.

There are some limitations right here although, for instance, what if somebody:

  1. Landed on the location

  2. Visited our occasion web page

  3. Then visited our sponsorship web page

  4. Transformed utilizing the shape on both.

They’d fulfill the factors for our occasion conversion and the factors for our sponsorship conversion. We’d report a conversion for every and we’d find yourself double-counting in any case.

That is additionally a limitation of the previous Common Analytics funnels: Simply because a step within the funnel was required doesn’t imply the person can’t wander away across the website between that step and their ultimate conversion. So, if it’s any comfort, this isn’t any worse than previous Common Analytics funnels (however we will nonetheless do higher).

The issue with utilizing “immediately adopted by”

You would possibly say “nicely that’s simply solved — in the meanwhile the sequence says is not directly adopted by and we will simply change that to is immediately adopted by”.

Absolutely that might imply that somebody is on the sponsorship web page and goes immediately from the sponsorship web page to the thanks web page, proper?

Sadly that’s often not what “immediately adopted by” means as a result of there’s all types of issues that may get recorded in analytics which aren’t web page views.

For instance if somebody lands on the sponsorship web page, after which scrolls down and lands on the thanks web page, the thanks web page view doesn’t immediately comply with the sponsorship web page view. It goes:

  • Web page view: sponsorship

  • Scroll

  • Web page view: thanks

So “immediately adopted by” isn’t a simple resolution.

How about “inside x minutes”?

GA4 has a very cool function within the sequence builder the place we will set a timer in-between steps. Even outdoors of monitoring conversions inside a session we will use it to maintain monitor of cool issues like individuals who got here to our website, didn’t convert that point, however got here again and transformed inside the subsequent couple days.

Jill Quick has been speaking a bunch about how highly effective these choices are.

We might use this to say one thing like: individual landed on our occasion web page after which landed on our thanks web page inside 10 minutes.

However as I’m positive you’ve guessed, that finally ends up being a type of arbitrary lower off, possibly somebody spends a while desirous about find out how to fill out our kind, or possibly somebody actually shortly goes to certainly one of our different pages and converts there. This might be higher than the essential funnel, however we might additionally find yourself ignoring fully reputable conversions.

So what can we do?

Utilizing GA4 sequences for that is type of superb, as I say above it’s definitely not worse than Common Analytics, however we might do higher with Google Tag Supervisor.

Managing conversions in Google Tag Supervisor

These approaches require you to run all of your monitoring through Tag Supervisor. Although even apart

from this, should you’re not already utilizing Tag Supervisor, I’d advise you to look into it!

Since we have to hold monitor of what’s occurred to a person throughout a number of pages, these options are additionally going to utilize cookies. In case that fills you with dread, don’t fear:

  • I’m going to stroll you thru find out how to create and delete these cookies (it takes somewhat Javascript however it’s copy-paste and simpler than you assume!)

  • These aren’t the sorts of cookies designed to present away folks’s data to different providers.

To reiterate what I say above: Whereas this strategy takes a bit extra effort than simply doing issues by Google Analytics it permits us to do two issues:

  1. Be sure all of our numerous monitoring tags are firing in the identical method

  2. Have extra superb grained management, notably if we’re attempting to classify completely different paths to conversion.

Avoiding double-counting

To recap what we wish to do right here, we wish to be sure that if somebody visits our website and converts we hearth a conversion. Nevertheless, in the event that they revisit a thanks web page, or undergo a distinct conversion, we don’t hearth a second conversion that session.

To do this, we’re going to:

  • Set a cookie when a person converts.

  • Ensure that the cookie robotically disappears after half-hour of inactivity (this is the default timeout for GA4 sessions however should you assume that’s too brief you may set it to no matter you need).

  • Each time we go to fireplace a conversion, examine if that cookie is current and, whether it is, don’t hearth the conversion.

That ought to imply that if somebody involves our website and converts, we’ll set the cookie, and that can cease us from firing any extra conversions (GA4 or in any other case) till the person has taken somewhat time away from the location.

Setting a cookie in JavaScript

The very first thing you might want to know is that we will use Tag Supervisor to run any JavaScript we wish. The second factor to know is that we will use JavaScript to set cookies.

So first: Go to Google Tag Supervisor, create a brand new Tag and choose the Customized HTML sort

Give the tag the title “[Tag] setCookieConverted” and within the html content material paste:

<script>

// Get time half-hour from now (it is because the default GA session outing

// is half an hour and we wish our cookie timeout to match)

var minutesToAdd = 30

var currentTime = new Date(); // Get present time

var newDateObj = new Date(currentTime.getTime() + minutesToAdd*60000); // Add our minutes on

// Set the area your’re engaged on, it is because we wish our cookies to be

// accessible in subdomains (like take a look at.instance.com) if wanted

var yourDomain = “instance.com”

// Set a cookie referred to as ‘transformed’ with the worth being ‘true’ which expires in half-hour

doc.cookie = “transformed=true; path=/; area=”+yourDomain+”; expires=”+newDateObj+”;”

</script>

It ought to appear like this:

The customized HTML tag will add the content material there to the web page, and as quickly because the web page detects a brand new script (the one we’ve written) it’ll run that script.

What our script does is:

  • It finds the present time, and what time it’ll be in half an hour.

  • It makes use of that, and your area, to set a cookie referred to as “transformed” which will be learn by any web page in your web site.

Whenever you go to save lots of your tag it’ll most likely say “No Triggers Chosen”.

For now we’re going to click on “Add set off” and select the “All Pages” set off.

That is purely in order that whereas we’re placing this collectively we will simply take a look at it..

Studying our cookie worth

Tag Supervisor has a built-in option to learn cookie values utilizing variables. So go to the variables part, create a brand new variable referred to as “convertedCookie” and set the Cookie Title as “transformed”.

Now, should you click on the “Preview” button and open up your website we will begin to take a look at what worth the convertedCookie variable pulls by for you.

Click on into the “Variables” tab and you need to see convertedCookie someplace within the checklist. Right here’s an instance with different cookies blocked out so what to search for.

So now we will use the worth of that variable in Tag Supervisor as a part of our logic.

Utilizing conversion cookie in our conversion logic

Everybody’s conversion setup would be the completely different so this may not match what you’re doing precisely however should you’re contemplating utilizing GTM I’m assuming you might be firing conversions one thing like this:

  1. You’ve got a set off based mostly on some situation (most likely both a customized occasion or a pageview)

  2. You’ve got a tag (or a number of tags) that ship your conversion data every time that set off is activated.

What we’re going to do is tweak your set off so as to add one other situation.

Think about that your set off was beforehand firing on each thank-you web page go to:

What we’re going to do is add a second situation to the set off:

convertedCookie doesn’t include true

Whereas this instance makes use of the thanks web page path, it doesn’t must, it may be something.

When you make this variation, you may go and take a look at your conversion. As a result of you may have one other tag including the transformed cookie on every web page view, your conversion shouldn’t hearth when it usually would.

Now we simply want to vary our transformed cookie in order that it solely seems after somebody has transformed.

In the meanwhile we’re setting the “transformed” cookie on each web page view, so we’ll by no means get any conversions.

We have to replace that so:

  • We set a cookie when somebody converts.

  • Each time we load a web page, if the individual is marked as “transformed” we reset the cookie (I‘ll clarify).

Setting a cookie solely when somebody has transformed

First: we have to take away the set off from [Tag] setCookieConverted so it doesn’t hearth in any respect.

Then we go to no matter tag we’re utilizing to ship our conversion, open up “Superior Settings”, click on “Tag Sequencing” and choose “Hearth a tag after”.

Then we choose our setCookieConverted tag and examine “Don’t hearth if conversion tag fails”.

This could imply that every time we ship our conversion, we’ll robotically then activate our cookie tag and mark the person as transformed.

So now our logic is:

  • If somebody converts, we examine if there’s a cookie saying they just lately transformed already.

  • In the event that they don’t have that cookie we ship a conversion.

  • Then we robotically set that cookie.

To check this, you may both clear the cookie or await it to run out. Here are instructions for how to clear cookies in Google Chrome (which you’re most likely utilizing should you’re working with tag supervisor).

Now, should you obtained into GTM preview and click on round you need to be capable of take a look at your variables and see that convertedCookie is again to being ‘undefined’.

When you convert, you need to see that each tags hearth — your conversion tag and your setCookieConverted tag.

However should you convert once more (reload the web page, re-fill the shape, no matter you’ve obtained to do) you need to see that neither tag fires.

Congratulations! You’re filtering your conversions to keep away from recording a conversion greater than as soon as for somebody in a 30 minute window.

We simply wish to make one final tweak now.

Refreshing the cookie if it has been set

Our cookie has a 30 minute expiration. Which means it’ll stick round for half-hour after which robotically be deleted from the browser. However what if somebody hangs round on our web site for greater than half an hour, studying a weblog submit or one thing, and converts once more?

To assist cope with that, we’re going so as to add one other set off which checks if the person has just lately transformed, and if they’ve, refreshes the cookie with every new web page load.

Head again to [Tag] setCookieConverted

At this level it shouldn’t have any firing triggers. We’re going so as to add one again in.

Click on the blue plus signal on this display, and once more within the subsequent display that comes up, we’re going to create a brand new set off.

Within the new set off, we set it to fireplace solely on web page views the place convertedCookie accommodates true.

So this will get somewhat bit round, however mainly:

  • When somebody converts we set a “transformed” cookie for the subsequent half hour.

  • Each time somebody masses a web page, if they’ve a “transformed” cookie we reset that cookie for an additional half-hour.

  • If at any level the person doesn’t load a brand new web page for half-hour, the cookie will expire, which suggests our refresh gained’t be triggered.

You may take a look at this by clicking round your website with the GTM preview. When you’ve transformed, the [Tag] setCookieConverted ought to hearth on each new web page load.

Wrapping up

All you might want to do now’s be sure that all of your conversion tags use that very same set off (the one which has the situation that convertedCookie isn’t “true”). As soon as that’s arrange, they need to all behave the identical — solely recording one conversion per session except somebody clears their cookies or simply hangs round on one web page for a very very long time.

What if we discover we’re getting bizarre conversions the place customers haven’t visited some other pages on the location?

I’ve labored with websites prior to now the place:

  • There’s helpful data on the thank-you web page and customers have been protecting it open/coming again to it.

  • Affirmation pages have been listed in Google or persons are discovering their option to the conversion web page another method.

That may result in bizarre tracked conversions that don’t correspond to precise conversions. Whereas these issues needs to be solved at supply, we will additionally clear up our analytics utilizing the steps in “Making a conversion funnel” under.

Making a conversion funnel

This builds on the cookie meddling we’ve completed within the final part, so should you haven’t learn that bit, it’s value having a look!

When you’re right here not since you desire a particular funnel however since you wish to cope with bizarre conversions the place customers simply land straight on the conversion web page – don’t fear you comply with these directions precisely the identical, you simply set the set off for each web page besides your conversion web page (I’ll take you thru that).

Setting a “path” cookie

Identical to the “transformed” cookie earlier than, we’re going to create a brand new cookie that information the situation of the present web page.

Create a brand new Tag referred to as [Tag] setCookiePath, select “Customized HTML” and add the next JavaScript

<script>

// Get time half-hour from now (it is because the default GA session outing

// is half an hour and we wish our cookie timeout to match)

var minutesToAdd = 30

var currentTime = new Date(); // Get present time

var newDateObj = new Date(currentTime.getTime() + minutesToAdd*60000); // Add our minutes on

// Set the area your’re engaged on, it is because we wish our cookies to be

// accessible in subdomains (like take a look at.instance.com) if wanted

var yourDomain = “therobinlord.com”

var pagePathName = window.location.pathname // Get location of present web page

// Set a cookie referred to as ‘transformed’ with the worth being ‘true’ which expires in half-hour

doc.cookie = “conversionPath=”+location+”; path=/; area=”+yourDomain+”; expires=”+newDateObj+”;”

</script>

It ought to appear like this:

This can save a cookie that information the situation of the web page. The primary time it’s loaded it is going to create a brand new cookie with that data, each time after it’ll change the worth.

We’ll use this to be sure that whichever funnel web page our person interacted with final is the one we report.

Triggering in your funnel pages

In creating our “funnel” we’re assuming that there are particular pages a person passes by in an effort to convert. So we’re going to set this to set off solely when a type of funnel pages is concerned.

In your [Tag] setCookiePath tag – click on so as to add a brand new set off and create a brand new set off.

We’re going to configure our tag to activate on each person click on. Which means if a person is hopping between completely different funnel pages, each will overwrite the cookie as they click on round however solely the one they interacted with final would be the one which sticks round within the cookie worth.

Getting our funnelCookie

As within the double-counting directions, create a brand new variable. However this time, name it funnelCookie and set the “Cookie Title” to conversionPath.

When you’ve completed that you need to be capable of take a look at through the use of preview, going to any previous web page of your website (so long as it’s not certainly one of your funnel pages) and checking funnelCookie within the Variables (it needs to be undefined).

Then go to certainly one of your funnel pages, you need to be capable of see the cookie change.

As you go to different pages on the location, funnelCookie ought to keep the identical, except you go to one other funnel web page.

Altering our conversions based mostly on the funnelCookie

Now, there are good issues you might do right here with extracting the worth of funnelCookie and placing that right into a variable in your conversion tag however the setup for each tag shall be completely different and I wish to offer you an choice for should you’re not ready to try this.

This can create a little bit extra mess in your Tag Supervisor account since you’ll be duplicating a few of your set off and conversion tags.

First, let’s return to the conversion set off we had been engaged on earlier than. It regarded like this once we left it:

We’re going so as to add in one other situation:

funnelCookie accommodates event-page

This implies now that this conversion will solely hearth if the final funnel web page our person handed by was the event-page.

After this we will duplicate this set off, our conversion tags, and, for our different set of conversions, change the funnelCookie worth for the set off.

Possibly as a substitute we make it:

funnelCookieaccommodates form-page

Now you may have two units of conversions, every of which is able to hearth based mostly on which funnel web page the person handed by. From there you may edit the values despatched.

A pair caveats

As a substitute of duplicating our conversion tags it could be a lot higher to tug within the worth of the funnelCookie variable and use that to only dynamically change among the values we’re sending as a part of the conversion.

With this strategy, you additionally run the chance of not recording any conversions in any respect if a person hasn’t handed by certainly one of your funnel pages. That could be what you need, however it’s value bearing that threat in thoughts in case you assume folks would possibly take legitimate-but-unusual routes to conversion.

Whereas I can’t take you thru the method of updating your entire conversion tags, one choice to make this data extra prepared for filling out conversion tags (and to optionally set a fallback in case you wish to keep away from shedding conversions) is to make use of a lookup desk like this, the place you are taking the funnelCookie worth and categorise the values.

Then as a substitute of including the funnelCookie worth in your set off, you retain the set off the identical and pull within the lookup desk worth.

Triggering on any web page besides your conversion web page

When you’re not involved about developing web page funnels however you wish to be sure that customers have visited at the very least one web page earlier than changing. There are a pair modifications:

  • You don’t hassle creating completely different conversion flows, you simply have one circulate, however you continue to add a funnelCookie requirement which says that your funnelCookie must be some web page slightly than undefined

Conclusion

Hopefully this has helped you get an thought of find out how to get extra management of the conversions being recorded in your website, whether or not that’s totally by GA4 or utilizing the ability of Tag Supervisor.

Blissful monitoring!