Although Squarespace has its own analytics tool, it is an excellent idea to use Google Analytics 4 as a replacement, or in tandem. GA4 is free, easy to activate on Squarespace and the value you will get from it is enormous. Ready to enter the pro league of web analytics?
What is Squarespace Analytics?
Squarespace Analytics is the built-in tool of the famous website and ecommerce platform. Depending on the tier, you can access different analytics reports. Since data collection is integrated into the web building software itself, you don’t need to install anything, or waste time on complicated configurations.
For small sites, Squarespace Analytics is perfect. Provided it fits in your budget.
If you want free analytics, or more data to make better decisions, you have another option: Google Analytics 4.
How to install Google Analytics 4 to your Squarespace website?
You can install GA4 to Squarespace in two ways: with the GA4 measurement ID, or with the help of Google Tag Manager.
Let’s start with the easiest method.
Install GA4 on Squarespace with the measurement ID
Before you begin:
- You need a free Google Analytics account.
- You also need the GA4 measurement ID. For GA4, it looks like G-XXXXXXX,
and you can find it in your GA account under Admin > Property Settings
Step 1: Open Settings in the left menu of your Squarespace account.
Step 2: Click on Advanced at the bottom of the Settings menu.
Step 3: Click on External API in the Advanced Settings menu.
Step 4: Fill in your GA4 measurement ID and click on Save.
Now you are set. If you want to make sure everything is working correctly, you can use the GA4 debug view.
Install GA4 on Squarespace with Google Tag Manager
When you install GA4 through GTM on Squarespace, you will also be able to load scripts on your site from other services, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Before you begin:
- You need a free Google Analytics account.
- You also need a free Google Tag Manager account that has a workspace set up for your website.
- You need to have a paid Business or Commerce Squarespace plan.
- Beware: At the moment of writing, Squarespace blocks loading scripts on some pages for security reasons. Unfortunately, the checkout page of ecommerce sites is one of these pages. That means that you will not see any data for this in your GA4 account. Your best option then is to use the method as described above.
Step 1: In Google Tag Manager, click on the clog icon of your Account.
Step 2: Click on Install Google Tag Manager.
Step 3: Now, open your Squarespace account in a new tab and click on Settings in the menu on the left.
Step 4: Click on Advanced at the bottom of the Settings menu.
Step 5: Click on Code injection.
Step 6: Open your GTM tab window and copy the first script.
Step 7: Paste this code in the Header block of your Squarespace Code injection settings.
Step 8: Go back to your GTM account and copy the second code that needs to be put behind the <body> tag.
Step 9: Paste this code into the Footer block of Squarespace Code Injection settings and click on Save.
Just like GA4, GTM offers a debug view to test if your code is working as expected.
Why Use Google Analytics With Squarespace?
Using Google Analytics on your Squarespace may seem strange. After all, the platform has its own analytics tool.
Truth is that many Google Analytics alternatives offer this option, because GA has become the industry standard of web analytics.
When you compare the complete version menu of Squarespace Analytics with the one in GA4, you may get a different impression.
To be honest, the GA4 navigation is confusing, and it looks limited. In reality, the amount of data, reports, segments, dimensions, integrations etc. you can find in your GA account is impressive.
This is only one of the many reasons to implement GA on your Squarespace site…
5 excellent reasons to use GA4 on your Squarespace site
Are you afraid of data overkill? Do you feel lost when using new tools? Is your day too short to dive into analytics?
Don’t make decisions based on emotions
I listed 5 facts and hope they will help you make the right decision for your business.
#1 GA4 is free, Squarespace Analytics is not
To access certain Squarespace Analytics reports, you need to upgrade your paid membership plan.
To figure out what is included in which plan, you need some… analytical skills:
GA4 is free. On the other hand, it requires some effort to find your way.
Let's move on and see what data you can find in both tools.
#2 Squarespace Analytics has fewer features than GA4
There is quite a bit of overlap between the two tools. A one-by-one comparison is impossible because Squarespace Analytics only has pre-configured reports.
GA4 is more flexible in that respect. You can customize it to your needs.
Similar data, different reports
The full version of Squarespace Analytics contains data of your visitors you can also find in GA4. This is, however, diverted over several GA4 reports.
We have already covered many GA4 topics on our blog. Others are soon to be published. I sincerely hope that the list and screenshots below will give you a better idea of what you can expect from GA4 reports for your Squarespace marketing efforts.
- Sales analytics → Custom ecommerce reports
- Traffic analytics / Traffic sources analytics → Traffic acquisition report
- Geography analytics
- Sales by product analytics
- Purchase funnel analytics → GA4 funnel analysis report
- Abandoned cart analytics
- Site content analytics → Content groups in GA4
- Activity log analytics → GA4 engagement rate and active users.
- Form & button conversion analytics → Track clicks in GA4
- Site search keywords analytics → Site search in GA
- Search keywords analytics: In both GA4 and Squarespace, you need to connect your account with Google Search Console.
2 Squarespace Analytics feature that are lacking in GA4
GA4 offers no automatic way to detect visitors who come from RSS apps like Feedly.
In Squarespace, you have a pre-configured report for this: RSS subscribers analytics. This feature is only handy if you have a blog.
The second feature that is lacking in GA4 is that it doesn’t show you which keywords generated traffic from other search engines than Google.
Missing GA4 features in Squarespace Analytics
I only give you two examples of what you cannot find in Squarespace Analytics:
The list of features that are available in GA4, but not in Squarespace Analytics is exploding.
Why? Read on…
#3 GA4 is releasing new features on the flow
Google Analytics 4 is a rather new player on the market. The development team adds new features and possibilities on a regular basis.
At Data Driven U, we have been monitoring GA4 and we can tell in all honesty that the GA4 roadmap is impressive.
As you know, it is hard to beat a tech giant like Google, which also has a myriad of other tools…
#4 Wide choice of tools to connect to GA4
Google Analytics has become the industry leader in web analytics. It’s not a coincidence that many platforms, like Squarespace itself, foresee an integration with GA4.
Besides, you can connect GA4 itself with many other platforms and tools.
These include Google marketing products:
- Google Ads: automatic optimization of your ads based on GA4 conversions. Here is a guide on how to connect both tools.
- Google Data Studio: more beautiful visualizations of your data.
- Google Search Console: discover keywords, rankings and errors on your site. You can read everything about the differences with GA here.
- Google Tag Manager: customize metrics and easily add integrations with 3rd-party analytics and marketing tools.
Let's look at the last reason.
Again, I am not judging Squarespace, but the internet is a competitive space with endless possibilities.
#5 Keep your data (when moving away from Squarespace)
If, one day, you move away from Squarespace, you will lose access to its native analytics data.
You would need to start collecting data from scratch… unless you have Google Analytics installed.
Since GA4 is platform independent, you will still have your data if you change your website software one day in the future.
Even if you are now convinced to use GA4 on your Squarespace website, keep on reading why the two tools show different data…
6 differences between GA4 and Squarespace Analytics data collection
Google Analytics 4 and Squarespace Analytics use different technologies to collect data. As a result, the data between the two analytics tools can be different.
This doesn’t mean that one is better than the other, but as a marketer, it’s good to be aware of this.
According to Squarespace, the major differences with GA4 data are situated in 6 fields, as depicted in the image below.
I don’t want to debunk any claims of Squarespace, but let me approach this from a slightly different perspective.
#1 Excluding internal traffic
In Squarespace, you need to be logged into your account to not show up as a visitor in your analytics reports.
You can invite others to contribute to your account, so there is no need to share your login credentials.
That is handier than excluding traffic based on IP addresses, as is the case for GA.
Both options work, but it becomes difficult if you work with a team operating from different locations.
- Will you demand from everybody to login to your Squarespace account?
- Will you demand from everybody to share their privacy sensitive IP address and then add it to GA?
#2 Excluding crawlers and bots traffic
Crawlers and bots can be good or evil. What matters is that this traffic from machines can seriously mess up your web analytics.
Squarespace remains vague about how they filter out this type of traffic.
GA uses its own research combined with the data of International Spiders and Bots List.
Besides, you can configure your GA4 account to get clean data in it. This option is missing in Squarespace Analytics.
#3 Sampled data
GA4 uses sampled data in some reports. This is particularly the case when your site has a limited number of visitors or when privacy sensitive data is included in the reports:
Squarespace, on the other hand, shows all your visitors’ data.
Given the previous difference, the question remains if all those visitors are humans…
#4 Ecommerce conversion tracking
Without doubt, GA4 is less reliable than Squarespace when it comes to ecommerce conversion tracking.
In the end, users can block tracking by Google Analytics in their browser.
Since Squarespace analytics registers conversions on its own servers, you will have more reliable data of conversions in your reports.
Is this good or bad? It depends.
As a business owner, your bank account is the most reliable tool to measure your revenue
Your accountant and tax departments don’t care what your web analytics platform says.
On the other hand, your marketing department does.
A huge discrepancy between registered and real ecommerce conversions will reflect in a bad way on your marketing decisions and budget.
#5 User location
GA4 and Squarespace Analytics use different techniques to record IP addresses. The location of your users can therefore differ in your reports.
This mainly affects local businesses. If you serve customers nearby, you are better served with a higher precision rate of where your site visitors are located.
Exact location tracking has become hard, due to privacy regulations and the increasing popularity of VPNs (Virtual Private Network).
Alas, I cannot judge which analytics tool is more reliable. But in GA4, you can activate granular location and track users to the city-level location. However, this doesn’t imply that GA4 location data is accurate all the time.
#6 Traffic source attribution
Where were your users right before they entered your website? Squarespace uses the last click to determine this. In GA4, you can use different attribution models:
Cross-channel data-driven model
- last click
- first click
- time decay
In general, GA4 offers more control over your data collection process than Squarespace Analytics.
Key takeaways: using GA4 in tandem with Squarespace Analytics
Let me wrap the above up for you:
- Squarespace has built-in analytics, but it also offers the possibility to easily integrate Google Analytics 4.
- You can install GA4 on Squarespace with Google Tag Manager, or with the measurement ID.
- In contrast to Squarespace Analytics, GA4 is free.
- Both web analytics tools use different technology to collect data and that can cause discrepancies in your reports.
- Ecommerce conversions are more reliable in Squarespace Analytics, because visitors can block GA4 tracking in their browser.
- Squarespace has made it easy for website owners to start with analytics. The reports are pre-configured.
- GA4 requires more experience, but you can fully customize dimensions, segments and use them across different reports. This flexibility is lacking in Squarespace Analytics.
- GA4 has more integrations than Squarespace Analytics that will help you analyze and optimize your marketing flow.
Do you really need all the bells and whistles of Google Analytics 4 or is Squarespace Analytics good enough for you? I sincerely hope this article will help you choose the best analytics solution for your business.