Data import is a feature you’ve probably used before if you’re a long-time Analytics enthusiast. But if you’re new to GA4, you’ll find that data import is simpler than ever in this new version.
What exactly is data import in Google Analytics 4? Data import lets you upload information from a CSV file and integrate it into your Analytics property. Imported data may be applied as Analytics data is collected or once the report is produced depending on the type of data uploaded.
Today, we’re going to walk through an overview of the data import feature in Google Analytics 4. So sit tight and learn about importing offline data in this new version of Analytics.
What is Data Import?
Data import is an important part of making the most out of your GA4 property. Using data import, you can upload information from external sources and join the information together with what you collect in GA4.
Data import means you can create a centralized location for your blended data, so you can get a comprehensive look at all your user, event, and product information and create key visuals.
You can import data from an offline business tool like a CRM or CMS system as a CSV file (or you can simply create a spreadsheet with your data). Analytics can then map this data into your GA4 property.
The data you import can be user-related or product-related. For example, you might want to import a list of all your featured products or a list of users and their lifetime customer value. Importing user or product data can help you create segments and remarketing lists and gain merchandising insights.
Analytics joins the data you import into your property in two different ways, depending on what kind of data it is. You can upload information into your GA4 property according to product metadata, user ID, client ID, or an offline event. Depending on your choice, the data will either be uploaded at collection time or reporting time:
1. Collection/Processing time: If you’re uploading data based on user ID or client ID, this is how your data will be joined. With this method, your imported offline data is joined with your Analytics data at the same time the data is collected and processed. So, it’s as if the offline data were collected along with the Analytics event, and thus, the joined data is written into the Analytics aggregate tables.
Note that with this type of data integration, the imported offline data cannot be joined with historical Analytics data. Also, if you delete the imported data file, it will not show up along with future Analytics data, but the previously integrated data will stay in your Analytics account. Keep in mind that this kind of joined data is not available when creating audiences or segments in your GA4 property.
2. Reporting/Query time: If you’re uploading product data, this is what Analytics will use. Here, your imported data is joined with your Analytics data only when you open a report and Analytics releases a query for the reported data.
Unlike the previous method, this type of data integration is temporary. This means if you delete your imported file, no further data integration takes place, and the joined data will disappear from your Analytics property.
Keep in mind that there are limits to the data you can import. Your total imported storage limit is 10GB, and each data source has a limit of 1 GB. Additionally, you have a cap of 24 daily uploads.
How to Import Data
To import offline data into Google Analytics 4, you’ll need to have edit-level access. Once you’re ready, follow these steps:
1. Log into your GA4 property and click “Admin” in the bottom-left corner.
2. Click “Data Import,” under “Property.”
3. Click “Create data source.”
4. Give your data source a descriptive name.
5. Select your data type.
6. Upload your file.
7. Click “Next.”
8. Select the Analytics fields and imported fields you want to join together. (I.e., select the rows from your CSV file that correspond to each given field.)
9. Select “Import” on the top right when you’re ready.
Once your data is processed, you’ll see a green checkmark appear under “Status.”
You can also upload data to an existing data source by clicking “Import now.” Just make sure you’re using the same columns in your new CSV file.
To delete a data source, click the three buttons and hit “Delete data source.”
How is GA4 Different?
Data import is a valuable tool in Google Analytics, and if you’re used to Universal Analytics, you’re familiar with the many benefits. Even though data import is available in Universal Analytics, this feature has been simplified and made to be more user-friendly in GA4.
In Universal Analytics, there are three different points in the data collection and processing chain where you can integrate information. These include hit-data import, extended data import, and summary data import.
Hit-data import is when your imported data is added before any processing. Extended data is when the uploaded information is added to the Analytics data already being processed. Summary data is when your uploaded data is joined after all processing and aggregation. With the extended data option alone, you have several options for the kind of data you want to import, from geography data to custom data.
While the range of options in Universal Analytics might work well for you, the simplified choices in GA4 are more straightforward. In GA4, you can import information according to product metadata, user ID, client ID, or an offline event. Because GA4 is event-based, the option to upload offline event data covers pretty much all your bases, as you can customize events how you see fit within your GA4 property.
What Are The Benefits of Data Import?
Importing user or product data can help you create segments and remarketing lists for your users and gain merchandising insights. Using data import, you can join all your data together to unlock new insights and create key visuals.
For example, if you run an e-commerce clothing business, you’re undoubtedly storing information related to store items—like price, size, and color. At the same time, Analytics is tracking data about your sales and website/app traffic. By using data import, you can join all that data together to gain a holistic view of how your users are making purchases.
Another main reason analysts and website owners love using data import is to combine information from a physical store into an Analytics property. By combining your in-person sales with your website and mobile app sales, you can get a complete view of your company’s performance.
Additionally, the data import feature moves Google Analytics to the top of the list of available visualization tools. By using GA4 reporting like the analysis hub, you can craft advanced visuals to gain detailed insight into your users’ habits and your website and mobile app performance.
Data Import in Google Analytics 4
You can import offline data in Google Analytics 4 according to product metadata, user ID, client ID, or offline event. Because GA4 uses an event-based model, you can import pretty much any data that will make your reports more comprehensive and detailed.
Importing data can help you create key visuals and gain a full view of your company’s performance. You can combine online sales with in-person ones and track users by combining information from various tools.
How do you like the new data import feature in GA4? Let us know!