How to Set Up Custom Reports in Google Analytics 4
If you have logged into your Google Analytics Universal account recently, you will see notifications and warnings that it is time to migrate your website data to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Support for GA Universal will end on July 1, 2023. The earlier you complete your migration, the more time you will have to compare the setup on GA4 with your Universal dashboard and ensure you’re tracking the important data.
While one of Google’s significant reasons for developing GA4 was to adapt to user privacy regulations, they also made robust updates to the platform. No one loves a new learning curve, but we believe that website owners will ultimately appreciate the upgraded tools. Custom reports allow business owners and marketing managers to collect and track key data on user interaction with their site. With custom reports, businesses can learn how to optimize their websites for conversions.
Benefits of Custom Reports in GA4
GA4 is designed to track a single visitor’s journey through your website. In GA Universal, a single visitor’s multiple interactions with your site were counted as individual instances. Although you could gather great information on how people move around the site’s pages, GA4’s approach provides a better idea of how this looks from user to user.
Because of this new way of following a user, businesses may want to customize their reports a bit differently than they did in GA Universal. In GA4, this customization happens through the tab labeled “Explore.” From the Explore page in GA4, site owners choose from a blank, Free Form, Funnel, or Path template to build custom reports. The Template Gallery offers pre-customized reports that are a good start until users get comfortable setting up individual report variables.
The benefits of custom reports in GA4 vary by type:
- Free Form – learn information about site users by demographic, arrival method, and device.
- Funnel Exploration – watch how users move from the top of the sales funnel to the point of purchase. Customize the funnel report to capture users no matter where they enter the sales process.
- Path Exploration – follow a user’s journey through the website to learn how they interact with assets and make decisions to move from one page to another. Learn what pages and calls to action have the most impact.
There is a Reports tab as well, which will show much of the information you are accustomed to seeing in GA Universal. This page can be filtered and customized, but the Explore tab offers better visual depictions of the information.
Creating Custom Reports in GA4
From the Explore tab, choose a type of exploration to begin building that report. Reports are built from Variables. These variables are how reports are customized, as they can be assembled in many useful combinations. The variables involved in each report are:
- Date range – reports must always be distilled to a specific start and end point in time.
- Segments – group users by specific characteristics to learn more about common behavior.
- Dimensions – track behavior on certain site elements such as clicks, downloads, and purchases.
- Metrics – measure the dimension behavior numerically.
Once the variables are set, the Tab Settings allow you to decide how the information should be displayed visually in the final report. GA4 has many options. Some owners will find that they are comfortable viewing every report in a similar type of format, such as a table. Others will appreciate using tables, bar charts, donut charts, or even scatterplots on different reports to get the best visual output for that application.
Continue Practicing with Report Customization for Improved GA4 Proficiency
Getting comfortable with reports may take some time, and determining that they are returning the most valuable insights. One benefit of developing these reports before GA Universal becomes obsolete is that they can be compared to the old reports and tweaked until they are right. Try not to focus on matching GA Universal exactly. The two platforms are different, collect data differently, and will return different reports. Also, it would be a waste of GA4’s advanced functionality to only scale it to GA Universal’s performance. Analytics users who take advantage of GA4’s powerful platform will discover more insights and opportunities for business development than ever before.
While business owners should understand analytics to leverage their website for profitability, no one has limitless time to spend building customized reports. If you want to see how GA4’s new reporting and tracking tools can help you turn your website into a better conversion tool, Contact us for a consultation. Motto Marketing supports business owners in GA4 migration, report customization, and ensuring all digital assets are connected for optimal return on investment.