After July 2023 we are stuck with GA4 and I think it is not a bad thing as GA4 migration helped a lot of companies to start actually taking care of what they track and how they track.
Another important change was (or still is?) data visualisation. While we can use Looker Studio for monthly reporting as we got used to with UA, GA4 offers a lot of opportunities to work with data inside it. If we know how.
In this article I share what I found really helpful to get more insights from the data and just make your life a bit easier navigating GA4.
Where are my ‘beloved’ views in GA4?
That is a common question I receive. Well, I get that having a lot of views helped, especially if you want to separate internal traffic, and analyse data for domain and subdomain separately.
Good news are — we can have it in GA4. Bad news — it takes more time to set up.
To recreate a view in GA4:
- Go to the Reports and click customise report, for example, ‘User Acquisition’
- Choose the filter you want to apply. For example, if you want to exclude internal traffic, choose ‘Test data filter name’ and exclude ‘Internal’
- Click save as a new report
- Create a new menu section using ‘Library’ for ‘Internal Only’ reports
- Repeat for any other reports you want to apply filtering
- Add these reports using ‘Library’ into the menu
How to apply a combination of filters on standard report?
Well, this was added (quite) recently. A few months before it was possible only to add one filter in standard reports, and to have a combination, we needed to go to Explore section.
- Choose one report in the Reports section (‘Session Acquisition’ or ‘Landing Page’ as examples)
- Click ‘Add filter’
- Add filter with ‘and’ or ‘or’ rules
- Click ‘Apply’
If you would like not only to see the filtering ‘one’ time but often use this combination, we can save it as a new report. In this case steps are:
- Click ‘Customise report’
- Click ‘Add filter’
- Add filters you need. For example, we can filter ‘Session Acquisition’ report by ‘Page path’ contains blog articles + by ‘Device category’ as ‘Mobile’
- Click ‘Apply’
- Choose to save it as a new report
- Go to the ‘Library’ and customise collection by adding new report you created
Woohoo, we have our new report with filters accessible in the menu.
Why we have so much ‘Unassigned’ traffic and how to investigate it?
It is another common issue within two reports — ‘User Acquisition’ and ‘Session Acquisition’ — to show a higher number of visits from ‘Unassigned’ channel.
To research what is happening here:
- add second dimension like ‘User source/medium’ or ‘Session source/medium’
- filter by ‘Unassigned’ only traffic source
Often you will see that newsletters or social media campaigns happened to be there instead for ‘Email’ or ‘Paid Social’. There are two workaround here:
- update UTMs of the campaign to match default channel grouping based on Google Help page
- update channel grouping. If you could not change UTMs or there are traffic sources not mentioned on the Google Help page, you can create new ‘Channel Grouping’ in the ‘Admin’ section. There add rules of what must be attributed to which channel.
Keep in mind that we could not change the ‘Default channel grouping’, we can only add new grouping.
To view the new channel grouping by default in your reports, go ‘User Acquisition’ and ‘Session Acquisition’, click customise, and change default dimension from ‘Default Channel Grouping’ to ‘New Channel Grouping’. Click save as a current report.
The grouping is just a representation of the data, so when you create new channel grouping, it applies on historical data too.
Where to find data about our internal search queries?
Google Analytics 4 offers the build-in event in the Enhancement Measurement section, which collects search queries on your website by default. To be sure it is active, go to Admin —>Data Streams—>Enhancement Measurement and check if it is active/switch on.
If if it is active, we can create a report with these data. If you just switch it ‘on’ now, wait 1-2 weeks to have enough data to analyse.
To create a report:
- Open Explore section
- Choose ‘Free Form’ or ‘Blank’
- To dimensions add ‘Search Term’ and ‘Event Name’
- To metrics add ‘Active users’ and ‘Event count’
- Add filter using ‘Event name’ contains ‘view_search_results’
- Enjoy the table you have just built 🙂
What is the difference between ‘User source/medium’ and ‘Session source/medium’?
It is important to know how to combine the data correctly. I often see screenshots with a combination of ‘User Default Channel Grouping’ as a first dimension and ‘Session source/medium’ as the second one. Well, this might be helpful if you are analysing from where the first user came from and what has brought hem/her on the website for this particular session, but it would not definitely answer ‘what is the source/medium for this user?’.
First ‘User Source/Medium’ or ‘First User Acquisition Channel’ shows from where first user came from and was given an ID. For example, it can be ‘Paid Social’.
Each new session of this user might be different — user can land on the website from newsletter, PPC campaign or Google search for each session. The ‘Session Default Channel’ grouping will be ‘Email’, ‘Paid Social’ and ‘Organic search’, but ‘First Default Channel Grouping’ will be ‘Paid Social’ for any of these sessions.
The Google Analytics 4 requires time and to passioned, but it definitely not that bad as you think. I hope that these tips will be helpful and show more details on how to approach GA4.