Here’s how to use Google Analytics 4 for your nonprofit, right now

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) requires a lot from you right now. You have to set up a new property, configure it correctly, and then embark upon learning a new tool.

Since you already have plenty to keep you busy at your nonprofit organization, is it worth adding one more thing to your plate right now?

Here are three key use cases for nonprofits and Google Analytics 4. I hope this list helps you decide whether GA4 could be a useful tool for you and your team.

Improving Google Ad Campaigns

Citing privacy concerns, Apple updated iOS to block third party cookies. Firefox, Chrome, and Safari are also blocking third party cookies, either by default or via easy to configure user settings. As a result, many of my Quarterly Website Strategy Session nonprofit clients report a loss of traffic from Facebook ads.

GA4 includes a native feature that allows you to create a custom audience from specific website visitors. Potential custom audiences for your nonprofit website include:

  • visitors who donated,
  • visitors who didn’t donate, and
  • visitors who viewed the Donate page but didn’t donate.

Once you become familiar with the configuration settings, custom audiences will be one of your most powerful tools in GA4. If you’ve linked GA4 and Google Ads, these custom audiences are available as targets for your Google Ads campaigns.

Google Ads is a valuable source of conversion traffic and leads for most of my clients. The ability to easily target custom audiences based upon website activity will make GA4 worth the effort for many nonprofit communications and marketing teams.

Understanding Which Pages Led Visitors to the Donate Page

A popular question I hear during my client meetings is: How did people find our Donate page? This question includes both the broader traffic source (ex: Google Ads vs email marketing) as well as the sequence of pages that visitors viewed before arriving on the Donate page. The second part of that question has always been tricky to answer via Universal Analytics.

The path exploration tool in GA4 allows you to easily visualize how visitors navigate their way through your website. It also includes the ability to create a backwards path that shows you how visitors found a specific page, such as your Donate page.

Imagine being able to pinpoint which pages are inspiring website visitors to learn more about donating. You will likely be surprised, and hopefully inspired to take a closer look at the content of these feeder pages.

Observe How Visitors are Navigating Your Website

More broadly, nonprofit professionals also want to know how visitors are engaging with the website, whether they donate or not.

The user snapshot tool in GA4 presents you with an individual user’s session, mapped out sequentially. You can see how long the user spent on each page, and on your site overall. You can drill down into any interaction and understand exactly which ad or email marketing message brought them to the site, or how long they spent on the homepage, or whether this was their first session, or what terms they entered into the search tool.

The information in a user snapshot is anonymous and random. You cannot view every user’s session, nor can you control which user snapshots are available. The individual user snapshots are available for a short period of time before they are replaced with more recent snapshots.

As a whole, user snapshots can help you understand trends among your users, and begin to create avatars for your website audiences. For example, a new user that finds your site via a Google search behaves differently that a returning user who clicks through from an email marketing campaign. The user snapshot tool will help you understand exactly how these different groups are interacting with your nonprofit website.

If These Features Sound Useful to Your Nonprofit Team…

Start learning how to use these features and join me for an Advanced Google Analytics 4 class over at NTEN.

yesenia sotelo

About Yesenia Sotelo

Yesenia Sotelo is a digital skills teacher and web developer.

She elevates ambitious nonprofit professionals by teaching them how to use the technology tools of modern marketing.

Yesenia can teach you how to use website analytics or improve your online marketing results.

Her SmartCause Method for building websites is especially designed for the way nonprofits collaborate, make decisions and grow.

She won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) for her work teaching digital skills to nonprofit professionals.