As of July 2023, all webmasters will have to switch to Google Analytics 4. We at newage have already switched to the new system and are helping clients understand the intricacies of GA. In this article, we will talk about something that may not be obvious in the new interface, namely custom reports. Senior Traffic Manager newage. Vlad Bilousov will tell what reports are available in Google Analytics 4 and show several examples of reports that may be useful to users.
Universal Analytics users could create their own reports in the “Customization — Custom Reports” section, and this can be confusing when switching to Google Analytics 4, because there is no “customization” in the updated service, and the “Reports” section offers only ready-made Google Analytics reports, where only the studied segment can be changed. But in fact, GA4 offers a lot of opportunities for researching the users of your site and application.
We previously talked about the difference between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics in the article “Google Analytics 4: Why You Should Update Right Now”
Reporting is generally simplified in GA4 resources. Instead of a very long list of predefined reports that try to cover all use cases, several overview reports cover specific information. For example, where the users came from, from which country, which device, etc. Currently, there are 2 main types of reports, and so-called studies are highlighted as a separate item.
- Summary reports contain information about users, such as how they found the site and how they interact with it. Each report shows a snapshot of statistical data using special cards. If you want to dive deeper into the report, follow the link at the bottom of each snapshot.
- Realtime report. With its help, you can track activity from the last five seconds to 30 minutes. A snapshot-based layout provides quick answers to important questions about how your users are currently interacting with your site.
Custom reports in Google Analytics 4 are created in the Explore section. Exploration allows you to access data that is not available in standard reports. With their help, you can get detailed statistics about user behavior. There are 7 research methods in total.
- Custom reports in Google Analytics 4 are created in the Explore section. Research allows you to access data that is not available in standard reports. With their help, you can get detailed statistics about user behavior. There are 7 research methods in total.
- Free form. The simplest method that allows you to visualize data based on graphs. Here you can segment, watch in any form.
- Funnel is the sequential steps users take to convert. You can make audiences step by step to conversion, you can optimize these stages.
- Path. How the user moves around the site. Here you can define using the starting or ending point, you can see How the user got somewhere, what actions the user takes several times (this is useful for the application)
- Segment overlap — shows how different groups of users relate to each other. You can select those who came from Ukraine by advertising request, create a segment from them and see how they look
- User explorer allows you to see how this or that user interacts. For example, in e-commerce, see what a specific user is doing
- User Lifetime depicts which campaigns led to the highest revenue users. Who actively interact with the site and plan to purchase. Through modeling, analytics will find out who will make a purchase soon.
- Cohorts — shows the report by segmenting groups of users with a common characteristic. Find users who subscribed to the newsletter.
Let’s consider each of the methods in more detail.
Helpful information: How To Share Access To Your Google Analytics Account.
Freeform research is a very convenient and flexible method of data analysis, which allows you to perform the following tasks:
- visualize data using tables and graphs,
- arrange rows and columns of tables as you like,
- compare several indicators,
- group data using inline rows,
- segment and filter research data in an arbitrary way,
- create segments and audiences based on specific data.
Freeform presents your data as a crosstab where you can arrange the rows and columns however you like and add the metrics that interest you most. You can also apply different visualization styles, including bar charts, pie charts, line charts, scatter charts, and maps.
A funnel allows you to visualize the steps users take to achieve a conversion. With this information, you can improve an ineffective or abandoned customer conversion path. You can also create audiences based on where users enter or exit the funnel.
With this tool, you can define up to 10 steps in the funnel (instead of five in Universal Analytics).
Similar to a funnel, path research identifies the steps users take on a website or app. But while funnels analyze only one predefined path, path exploration is free.
Paths can be defined using a start or end point. This will help you understand how users got to a certain step in their journey and show what they did after that.
Researching the path helps to determine:
- which sections of the site do new users most often go to from the main page,
- which actions are repeated several times,
- how a certain event affects the subsequent actions of users.
The segment overlay method shows how different groups of users relate to each other. In this way, up to 3 segments can be analyzed. For example, users who came from Ukraine through a search advertisement via a mobile device.
In this study, you can select a specific group of visitors to view detailed statistics on the actions of each user from that group. This is useful when you need to personalize interaction with users, better understand the sequence of transitions. For example, user statistics will help determine at what stage the client had problems during the purchase process.
You can analyze user actions and transactions for the entire period. The following information can be obtained in this study:
- which source, medium or campaign brought you the users that brought you the highest total revenue over the entire period (not just the selected month);
- which campaigns are currently bringing you the most promising users with a high probability of purchase and a low probability that they will stop using your site or application (these figures are calculated using predictive models in Google Analytics);
- how users interact with your site or app (for example, when active users last made a purchase on the site or did something in the app in the month).
A cohort is a group of users who share a common characteristic defined in this report by a specific action taken by the user. For example, all users who subscribed to the newsletter this week. Cohort research makes it possible to study the behavior of these groups over time.
An Example of Creating a Customer Journey Report in Google Analytics 4
Consider the practice of creating a research report. For example, let’s create an analogue of a report that will show the user’s movement through the site.
Go to Explore and select Path exploration.
After that, the report settings window will open. On the left side of the screen, you can choose the segments, audiences you will research, parameters and metrics that will be displayed.
The field on the right side of the screen visualizes the customer’s journey. By default, it consists of a start, a session_start event, and two steps expressed in events. To see which pages the user visited, change the selector under the first step to “Page title and screen name”.
The second step will disappear, and a list of the most visited login pages will appear under the first. To see where a user went from a certain page, click on its name – a second step and a list of pages that users went to will appear. And so you can create new steps until all users leave the site.
If nothing happens after clicking on the page title, then this is the final point after which users leave the site.
GA4 allows you to create new studies from scratch. You can create it from scratch or use templates for each of the methods. Use the Explore section to create your own reports and explore your audience the way you want.