Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 Training For Beginnners: A Tab-By-Tab Guide

May 12, 2021

Table Of Contents


Home

The home tab is an executive-level dashboard of all your site metrics.

off-page-seo-fundamentals

Acquisition Overview

Acquisition reports on how users are getting to your site.

Engagement Overview

Engagement shows how users are interacting with your site.

Monetization Overview

Monetization reports on how your site is generating revenue.

off-page-seo-fundamentals

Retention Overview

Retention reports on how engaged your vistors are. Do they keep coming back?

Closing Thoughts

Final thoughts on Google Analytics



Home

Google Analytics 4 Home Tab

The home tab is an executive-level dashboard that answers key questions like “what are your top selling products?” and “how well do you retain your users?”. Veteran Google Analytics users will notice this is very similar to the old home tab.

Google Specific Vocab Refresher

Acquistion labels are used throughout the Home tab. Here is what they mean:
  • Source: The individual site traffic is coming from (i.e Pinterest or LinkedIn).
  • Medium: Additional labels, like CPC, referral, or organic (i.e How did the traffic from LinkedIn get to your site?).
  • Campaign: The name of a campaign you are running. Should include easily identifiable variables, like campaign name, promotions, or the audience being targeted.

What’s New

  • Insights Tab -> Google helps summarize data fluctuations occurring on your site.
  • Google Ads campaign performance graph from old analytics not in the new home tab.
  • The new home tab is missing the goals overview chart from the old home tab.

New Terminology

Key Metrics:
  • Average Engagement Time: The average time a user spends on your site engaged (i.e scrolling, clicking, searching, etc.).
  • Users: An active user. (Active meaning: spent more than 10 seconds on a page, completed, had 1 or more events or conversion, or more than 2 page views).
  • New Users: A user visiting your site or app for the first time(Or the first time since reinstalling the app).
  • Total Revenue The sum of revenue from purchases, subscriptions and advertising revenue.
Dimensions:
  • User Medium: Is the medium that a new user was first acquired from.
  • Session Medium: Is the medium that a user initiated a new session from.
  • User source: The source by which the user was first acquired.
  • Session Source: The source by which a new session was initiated.
  • User Source / Medium: The source and medium by which the user was first acquired.
  • Session Source / Medium: The source and medium by which a new session was initiated.
  • User Campaign: The campaign by which the user was first acquired.
  • Session Campaign: The campaign by which a new session was initiated.
  • Session Default Channel Grouping: The default channel group from which a new session was initiated.

Home Overview Tab


Traffic Overview

High-level traffic metrics are reported here. Clicking on each metric changes the graph shown.

Users In Last 30 Minutes

A real-time counter of how many users are currently on your website. It also breaks out your current active users by their country.

Insights

Google looks for significant changes across all of your data and lists them here. Data is compared week-over-week and month-over-month. Clicking on an insight will display additional details.

Where Do Your New Users Come From?

Highlights what mediums your first-time visiting users came from. You can drill down further into the source and source / medium.

What Are Your Top Campaigns?

Here you can filter acquisition labels to see what channels and sources are bringing in the most visits to your site. You can see performance by campaign here as well.

Where Are Your Visitors Coming From?

See what countries your users, new users, and returning users are coming from.

How Are Active Users Trending?

The user totals on this graph are retroactive-looking. Meaning the numbers shown are the total number of users who visited your site in the past 7 and 30 days.

As you hover over the graph, the lookback window will start on the date you are hovering over. So, if you’re hovering over May 1st, the 7 day count will be from April 25th - May 1st.

How Well Do You Retain Your Users?

A cohort group chart to see how many of your users return every week to your site.

The left-hand side are the user cohorts. User cohorts are broken out by the week they first visited your site. As you move along the weeks, the number and percentage of users in that cohort who returned are displayed.

The chart is staggered, as for some cohorts not enough time has elapsed to report if users returned.

Which Pages And Screens Get You The Most Views?

Your most viewed pages and app screens are displayed here.

What Are Your Top Events?

This table names the events that were most triggered on your site.

What Are Your Top Conversions?

Lists your conversions and the total number of times they were triggered.

What Are Your Top Selling Products?

Shows your top-performing products in terms of quantities sold.

How Does Activity On Your Platforms Compare?

A pie chart that shows you how many of your conversions are coming from web, iOS or Android. You can also filter the chart by total revenue and events.




Acquisition

Google Analytics 4 Acquisition Overview Tab

The acquisition tabs report on how users are getting to your website. Reports are broken down into user acquisition and traffic acquisition.

User acquisition reports on how you are acquiring new users.
Traffic acquisition reports on how you are acquiring sessions, or visits.

Examples of the analysis you can do with these reports:
  • What traffic sources are bringing in the most new users or visits.
  • What traffic sources bring in the most engaged users (i.e spend the most time on your site or perform the most actions).
  • View how your marketing channels are performing over time.

Google Specific Vocab Refresher

Knowing what the acquisition labels are is critical to understanding these reports.

Here is a refresher of what they mean:
  • Source: The individual site traffic is coming from (i.e Pinterest or LinkedIn).
  • Medium: Additional labels, like CPC, referral, or organic (i.e How did the traffic from LinkedIn get to your site?).
  • Campaign: The name of a campaign you are running. Should include easily identifiable variables, like campaign name, promotions, or the audience being targeted.
These parameters are built out using UTM codes. Here is a great article on UTMs.

It is critical to have a well-thought out UTM naming convention to be able to analyze these reports properly.

What’s Different

  • New graph -> Lifetime value (LTV) calculates the sum of all purchase events during a user's first 120 days. The LTV is the average for all users, regardless of if they purchased.
  • Key metrics focus on engagement and engaged users. Engaged means a user has spent more than 10 seconds on the site, performed an action or conversion, or viewed 2+ pages.
  • Acquisition reports are broken out into new user acquisition and session acquisition.

Data Structure Difference

In the old Google Analytics, reporting was heavily focused on providing metrics based on the types of interaction. Things like how many users, average session duration, how many pages they visited, and if they converted, are the main column metrics.

Google Analytics 4 is different in that they aggregated a lot of these interaction types as events and created new metrics focused on engagement.

    Example: Page views would have been a stand-alone metric in Universal Analytics. Now, page views are wrapped up under “events”. In order to get to page views, you would need to filter the “events” column to just see page views.

New Terminology Used In The Acquisition Tabs

Here are all of the new metrics and dimensions used in the acquisition reports.

Key Metrics:
  • Engaged Session: A session that lasted longer than 10 seconds, had a conversion event, or had 2 or more page/screen views.
  • Session: The total number of sessions started, regardless of length or activity.
  • Engagement Rate: Total Engaged Sessions / Total Number of Sessions
  • Events per Session: Number of Events / Number of Sessions
  • Engaged Sessions Per User: Number of Engaged Sessions / The Number Of Users
  • Average Engagement Time Per Session: The average time the app was in the foreground or website had focus on the browser during each session.
  • Event Count: The overall number of events triggered. You can drill down for the total number of times a specific event was triggered with the drop-down.
  • Conversions: The overall number of conversions triggered. You can drill down for the total number of times a specific conversion was triggered with the drop-down.
  • Total Revenue: The sum of revenue from purchases, subscriptions and advertising revenue.
Dimensions:
  • User Medium: Is the medium that a new user was first acquired from.
  • Session Medium: Is the medium that a user initiated a new session from.
  • User source: The source by which the user was first acquired.
  • Session Source: The source by which a new session was initiated.
  • User Source / Medium: The source and medium by which the user was first acquired.
  • Session Source / Medium: The source and medium by which a new session was initiated.
  • User Campaign: The campaign by which the user was first acquired.
  • Session Campaign: The campaign by which a new session was initiated.
  • User Google Ads Ad Network Type: The Google Ad Network the user was first acquired on (i.e Google Search, Google Shopping, Display Network and Youtube).
  • Session Google Ads Ad Network Type: The Google Ad Network a new session was initiated from (i.e Google Search, Google Shopping, Display Network and Youtube).
  • User Campaign Creative ID: The Google Ads creative ID a user was first acquired through.
  • User Google Ads Ad Group Name: The ad group name a user was first acquired through.
  • Session Google Ads Ad Group Name: The ad group a new session was initiated from.
  • User Google Ads Ad Group ID: The ID of the ad group a user was first acquired through.
  • Session Default Channel Grouping: The default channel group from which a new session was initiated.

Acquisition Overview Graphs

User Graph

I am not the biggest fan of this graph, as I would prefer to have both users and new users plotted on the same graph.

You can click on users and new users to change the graph presented.

What to use it for: Quickly see the ratio of new users to total users at the top. The graph can be used to see surges and drops of users over time. Adding acquisition segmentation can help see how your marketing channels drive users.

Users In Last 30 Minutes

A real-time counter of how many users are currently on your website. It also breaks out your current active users by their country.

What to use it for: Did you just get mentioned on a news station or live webinar? You can see if people are currently checking you out. Otherwise this report is really great for neurotic executives and creepy analysts. (Tip: It auto-refreshes so you don’t need to press F5).

Secret Tab: Realtime Explore

You can click the “view real time” link and it will take you to a large dashboard. All data is in realtime and shows you where your users are currently coming from, what they are reading, and live conversions and events.

Pretty self-explanatory, and I won’t be writing about this.

New Users By User Medium

*Medium Is The Jargon Google Uses For Channel*

This table identifies what acquisition medium brought in new users.

New Terminology: User Medium vs Session Medium

  • User Medium Is the medium that a new user was first acquired from.
  • Session Medium Is the medium that a user initiated a new session from.
To put it in easier terms:
The User Medium is the additional label (like CPC or referral) associated with a user who came to your site or app for the first time.
A Session Medium is the medium (i.e additional traffic label, like CPC or referral) any subsequent sessions came after the initial site visit.
You filter this table by other dimensions:
  • User source: The source by which the user was first acquired.
  • User Source / Medium: The source and medium by which the user was first acquired.
  • User Campaign: The campaign by which the user was first acquired.
  • User Google Ads Ad Network Type: The Google Ad Network the user was first acquired on (i.e Google Search, Google Shopping, Display Network and Youtube).
  • User Campaign Creative ID: The Google Ads creative ID a user was first acquired through.
  • User Google Ads Ad Group Name: The ad group name a user was first acquired through.
  • User Google Ads Ad Group ID: The ID of the ad group a user was first acquired through.

What to use it for: If you have organized your UTM parameters well, you can quickly see what channels are driving the most new users for the time period you selected.

Sessions By Session Medium

Here you can view what acquisition mediums are bringing in the most new sessions, or visits.

New Terminology: Engaged Session vs Session

  • Engaged Session: A session that lasted longer than 10 seconds, had a conversion event, or had 2 or more page/screen views.
  • Session: The total number of sessions started, regardless of length or activity.
You filter this table by other dimensions:
  • Session Medium: The medium by which a new session was initiated.
  • Session Source: The source by which a new session was initiated.
  • Session Source / Medium: The source and medium by which a new session was initiated.
  • Session Campaign: The campaign by which a new session was initiated.
  • Session Default Channel Grouping: The default channel group from a new session was initiated.

What to use it for: High-level understanding of the acquisition parameters bringing you sessions to your site.

Sessions By Session Campaign

This table is focused on Google Ads campaign analysis. If you have UTM parameters from other traffic sources, they will also show up here.

You can filter sessions by engaged sessions and total sessions.

You can drilldown further with Google Ads filters:
  • Session Google Ads Ad Group Name: The ad group a new session was initiated from.
  • Session Google Ads Keyword Text: The ad keyword that a new session was initiated from.
  • Session Google Ads Query: The actual query a user typed in to Google to initiate a new session.
  • Session Google Ads Ad Network Type: The Google Ad Network a new session was initiated from (i.e Google Search, Google Shopping, Display Network and Youtube).
  • Session Google Ads Account Name: The Google Ad account associated with the new session initiated.

What to use it for: If running Google Ads, this overview table has great filtering to see what keywords are driving sessions to your site. Since Google has been blocking marketer’s access to understanding what keywords are the best, this helps close in the gap a little bit.

Outside of Google, this can be used to see high-level session data on your other campaigns from other paid sources like LinkedIn or Pinterest.

Secret Tab: Google Ads Campaigns

Google Analytics 4 Google Ads Campaign Tab

In order to get this data, you need to connect GA4 and Google ads together. Here is a great video on how to do this. With a soft Welsh accent, for your listening pleasure.

Sessions By Session Campaign
Google Ads campaigns and the number of sessions they are sending to your site will be shown in this bar chart.

What to use it for: Quickly see which Google Ads campaigns are driving the most sessions to your site.

Sessions And Users By Session Campaign
Campaigns are scatter-plotted with their associated users and sessions.

What to use it for: See what Google Ads campaigns are bringing in the highest proportion of users and sessions. You can also deduce if certain campaigns are driving users to visit your site multiple times.

Google Ads Table
This table will import some of your Google Ads metrics. You can filter the table by Google Ads filters like keywords, search queries, and ad group names.

Key Metrics:
  • Users: The total number of people who visited your site or app.
  • Sessions: The total number of sessions (or visits) that came to your site or app.
  • Engaged Sessions: The total number of sessions that lasted longer than 10 seconds, had 1 or more events or conversion, or more than 2 page views.
  • Google Ads Clicks: The number of times your Google ad was clicked.
  • Google Ads Cost: The total amount you paid for your Google ad.
  • Google Ads Cost per Click: The average cost you paid for a click on your Google ads.
  • Conversions: The overall number of conversions triggered. You can drill down for the total number of times a specific conversion was triggered.
  • Cost per Conversion: Total Google Ads Spend / Conversions
  • Event Count: The overall number of events triggered. You can drill down for the total number of times a specific event was triggered.
  • Total Revenue: The sum of revenue from purchases, subscriptions and advertising revenue.
  • Return on Ad Spend: Conversion Value (includes e-commerce revenue and/or goal value) / Ad Spend

Lifetime Value

This chart is also under the Retention Tab.

For each new user, Google will calculate the sum of purchase events or ad earning events during the user’s first 120 days of site/app usage. This includes people who did not come to your site with the intention to purchase.

The Lifetime Value (LTV) is the average of this metric for all users.

What to use it for: This chart can be handy for analyzing LTV by acquisition channels. Creating a segment at the top can help you see how LTV changes by channel.

My only gripe with this graph is that it includes ALL users. I prefer to look at LTV from people who have actually purchased. Those who come to your site looking for a job shouldn’t be rounded up into LTV.

User Acquisition Tab:

Google Analytics 4 User Acquisition Tab

The User Acquisition tab focuses solely on new user acquisition. All metrics are based on the users coming to your site or app for the first time.

GA4 breaks out acquisition by visits and new users. I personally find this incredibly frustrating. I prefer the old reports where visits and users are on the same report so you can compare.

New Users by User Medium

Highlights what mediums (example: referral or CPC) your first-time visiting users came from.

What to use it for: Identify the top mediums that are driving new users to your site.

New Users by User Medium Over Time

See how your acquisition mediums are trending over the time period you selected.

What to use it for: See what mediums are currently bringing in the most new users. Historically look at how your mediums have brought in new users over time. Identify what days of the week are best for new user acquisition for each medium.

User Acquisition Table

Key Metrics:
  • New Users: The total number of users visiting your site or app for the first time.
  • Engaged Sessions: The total number of sessions that lasted longer than 10 seconds, had 1 or more events or conversion, or more than 2 page views.
  • Engagement Rate: Total Engaged Sessions / Total Number of Sessions
  • Engaged Sessions Per User: Number of Engaged Sessions / The Number Of Users
  • Average Engagement Time Per Session: The average time the app was in the foreground or website had focus on the browser during each session.
  • Event Count: The overall number of events triggered. You can drill down for the total number of times a specific event was triggered with the drop-down.
  • Conversions: The overall number of conversions triggered. You can drill down for the total number of times a specific conversion was triggered with the drop-down.
  • Total Revenue: The sum of revenue from purchases, subscriptions and advertising revenue.


Traffic Acquisition Tab:

Google Analytics 4 Traffic Acquisition Tab

Traffic Acquisition has the same reports as the User Acquisition report.
The difference is that the data includes ALL sessions and ALL users. Users who visited the site for the first time OR subsequent times will be counted in these numbers.

Users By Session Source/Medium Over Time

A graph showing the number of users from the source/medium they initiated a new session from.

What to use it for: See what sources or mediums are driving the most total users over time. Launched a new campaign on Pinterest? See how it compares to your other traffic sources. Analyze daily, weekly, and quarterly trends in source/mediums.

Users By Session Source/Medium

A bar chart showing you the source or mediums that brought in the most users.

What to use it for: High-level understanding of which traffic sources are bringing in the most users.

Traffic Acquisition Table

Key Metrics:
  • Users: The total number of people who visited your site or app.
  • Sessions: The total number of sessions (or visits) that came to your site or app.
  • Engaged Sessions: The total number of sessions that lasted longer than 10 seconds, had 1 or more events or conversion, or more than 2 page views.
  • Average Engagement Time Per Session: The average time the app was in the foreground or website had focus on the browser during each session.
  • Engaged Sessions Per User: Number of Engaged Sessions / The Number Of Users
  • Events per Session: Number of Events / Number of Sessions
  • Engagement Rate: Total Engaged Sessions / Total Number of Sessions
  • Event Count: The overall number of events triggered. You can drill down for the total number of times a specific event was triggered with the drop-down.
  • Conversions: The overall number of conversions triggered. You can drill down for the total number of times a specific conversion was triggered with the drop-down.
  • Total Revenue: The sum of revenue from purchases, subscriptions and advertising revenue.

You can also filter by:
  • Session Medium: The medium by which a new session was initiated.
  • Session Source: The source by which a new session was initiated.
  • Session Source / Medium: The source and medium by which a new session was initiated.
  • Session Campaign: The campaign by which a new session was initiated.
  • Session Default Channel Grouping: The default channel group from which a new session was initiated.





Engagement

Google Analytics 4 Engagement Tab

The engagement tabs focus on the events or actions that users are taking on your site. Engagement reports on all of your site events. For those who used the old Google Analytics, this is similiar to the "behavior" report.

Event structure in GA4 is different and more simple than the old Google Analytics. I will be writing an article on Events soon. The changes really need their own article.

You will need to set up new events on your site as your old Google Analytics events will not transfer over.

Examples of the analysis you can do with these reports:
  • Identify the top events occurring on your site by demographics, acquisition sources, etc.
  • See your website pages that are getting the most engagement (i.e events, time spent on page, visits).
  • Understand how users are returning to your site over time (i.e user stickiness).

Google Specific Vocab Refresher

New Events article coming soon. This will compare the differences between events in Google Analytics 4 and the old Google Analytics.

What’s Different

  • Data restructure -> Events now include things like page views, scrolling, or when a user visits a site for the first time.
    1. Events are less complex - no more event category, label or action.
  • New Graphs -> User Stickiness and User activity over time.

New Terminology

Key Metrics:
  • New Users: A user visiting your site or app for the first time (Or the first time since reinstalling the app).
  • Total Users: The total number of unique users who triggered an event.
  • Event Count Per User: Average number of events triggered by each user (Events / Users).
  • Views Per User: The average number of pages viewed by a user.
  • Unique User Scrolls: Number of unique users that scrolled 90% of the depth of the page at least once.
  • Conversions: The total number of times a user triggered a conversion on that page. You can filter by specific conversion with the drop-down.

  • DAU / MAU: Daily Active Users / Monthly Active Users
  • DAU / WAU: Daily Active Users / Weekly Active Users
  • WAU / MAU: Weekly Active Users / Monthly Active Users

Dimensions:
  • Views are simply the number of times a web page or app screen has been viewed. Repeated views of the same page are counted here.
  • Events are the number of times an individual action was triggered. Events include things like scrolling on a page, adding items to carts, downloading a PDF and purchases.

Engagement Overview Tab

Engagement Time + Engaged Users Chart

This is in an interactive chart that changes the line graph when you click the key metrics.

Key Metrics:
  • Average Engagement Time: The average time a user spends on your site engaged (i.e scrolling, clicking, searching, etc.).
  • Engaged Sessions Per User: The Number Of Engaged Sessions / The Number Of Users
  • Average Engagement Time Per Session: The average length of time a visitor spent on your site from one of your traffic sources.

What to use it for: Grab engagement metrics quickly for high-level reporting. View trends over time on how people are engaging with your site.

Users In Last 30 Minutes

Title says what the graph is. Super-straightforward. There is both a real-time counter and a bar chart plotting the number of users by the previous minute.

Top Pages & Screens are the pages most visited within the last 30 minutes.
This table can expand to the real time report where you can get more granular information into current active visitors.

What to use it for: See how many users are currently on your site and what pages they are visiting. Could be useful if you were mentioned in the media, but otherwise really just for creepy people.

Views + Event Count

This chart is a high-level overview of how many views and events you have received.

Views are simply the number of times a web page or app screen has been viewed. Repeated views of the same page are counted here.

Events are the number of times an individual action was triggered. Events include things like scrolling on a page, adding items to carts, downloading a PDF or purchases. You will need to set-up events on your site to see data here.

What to use it for: Identify time periods where you receive higher amounts of views or events - like a holiday or day of the week. Quickly report on total number of events and views you received in a time period.

Event Count By Event Name

Super straightforward. This table names the events that were most triggered on your site.

What to use it for: The top events are likely going to be something most users do, like page view, scroll, or start a session. This excludes valuable events like PDF downloads or purchases. You need to drill down further to report on events to get any worthwhile insight.

Views By Page Title And Screen Class

Here is another straightforward chart. It shows the top web pages or app screens with the number of times that page was viewed.

What to use it for: This is perfect for executive-level reporting on your most viewed pages.

User Activity Over Time

This graph was also shown in the “Home” tab report.

The user totals on this graph are retroactive-looking. Meaning the numbers shown are the total number of users who visited your site in the past 7 and 30 days.

As you hover over the graph, the lookback window will start on the date you are hovering over. So, if you’re hovering over May 1st, the 7 day count will be from April 25th - May 1st.

What to use it for: See overall trends in how users are frequenting your site. Segment by channels to see which channels are driving the most new users.

User Stickiness

Identify how often your users are returning to your site or app over time.

There are some acronyms you’ll need to understand to read this chart:
  • DAU / MAU: Daily Active Users / Monthly Active Users
  • DAU / WAU: Daily Active Users / Weekly Active Users
  • WAU / MAU: Weekly Active Users / Monthly Active Users
The closer you are to 100%, the “stickier” your site or app is. This means users are returning frequently.

What to use it for: See if your website or app is engaging enough to keep users returning. Segmenting by the marketing channel or user demographics, you can see how user “stickiness” changes. From this information, you can figure out what audiences you need to entice to stick around longer.

Events Tab

Google Analytics 4 Events Tab

Event Count By Event Name Over Time

Your most triggered events will be displayed in this graph. Event counts will be shown for each day in the time frame you selected. There isn’t much to say here.

What to use it for: It is incredibly annoying that page_view is included on this chart. A page view is almost always going to be the most triggered event, since there could be hundreds of pages on a site. This creates a massively disproportionate graph.

Creating your own graphs in Google Data Studio or Google Analytics 4's Analysis tool is much more insightful. In these tools, you can filter out what events you want to track.

Other than that, you can identify how specific events trend over time to find trending periods of time.

Event Count And Total Users By Event Name

Another scatterplot… whoever at Google decided scatter plots are the best graph ever, please contact me so I can rant. I am sick of looking at these.

It shows you the total number of unique users who have logged the specific event (total users) and the number of times the event was triggered (event count). You can also get this information in the table; they just visualize it for whatever reason.

What to use it for: Just don’t use it and look at the table instead. Maybe if we don’t look at it, Google will replace the graph with something better.

Event Table

Here you can see all of the events you have set-up. The table is pretty straight-forward, but there is some new terminology.

Key Metrics:
  • Event Count: The number of times your users triggered an event.
  • Total Users: The total number of unique users who triggered an event.
  • Event Count Per User: Average number of events triggered by each user (Events / Users).
  • Total Revenue: The sum of revenue from purchases, subscriptions and advertising revenue. Note: A revenue numbers will only be displayed if an event is set-up to display revenue. (i.e “purchase” event)

Future article plug: I will be working on how to set-up events in my next article. Stay tuned.


Pages and Screens Tab:

Google Analytics 4 Pages and Screens Tab

Pages And Screens report on the performance of your websites pages and app screens.

Users By Page Title and Screen Class

A graph displaying what pages or app screens are receiving the highest amount of users.

What to use it for: High-level reporting on what pages are getting the most users to.

Users And New Users By Page Title and Screen Class

A scatter plot that shows the relationship between the number of users and views by page. You can quickly see what pages have the highest amount of both users and page views.

What to use it for: You can deduce the pages that your users are continuously returning to. A higher amount of page views and a lower amount of users means that a user is visiting that page more than once.

Pages And Screens Table

Very similar to the pages table in the old analytics, this table reviews key metrics for all of your pages.

Key Metrics:
  • Views: The number of pages or screens a user saw. Repeated views on the same page are counted.
  • Users: An active user (Active meaning, spent more than 10 seconds on a page, completed, had 1 or more events or conversion, or more than 2 page views).
  • New Users: A user visiting your site or app for the first time (Or the first time since reinstalling the app).
  • Views Per User: The average number of pages viewed by a user.
  • Average Engagement Time: The average time a user spends on your site engaged (i.e scrolling, clicking, searching, etc).
  • Unique User Scrolls: Number of unique users that scrolled 90% of the depth of the page at least once.
  • Event Count: The total number of times a user triggered an event on a page. You can filter by specific events with the drop-down.
  • Conversions: The total number of times a user triggered a conversion on a page. You can filter by a specific conversion with the drop-down.
  • Revenue: The sum of revenue from purchases, subscriptions and advertising revenue.





Monetization

Google Analytics 4 Monetization Tab

To get started with the monetization reports, you will need to set-up the proper events for eCommerce/Retail. Google offers the correct set-up for eCommerce/retail here.

If you have an app with in-app purchases or sell Google ads on your site, these reports will be a game-changer. Outside of that, these reports are pretty standard for ecommerce reporting.

Examples of the analysis you can do with these reports:
  • What marketing channels are driving the most revenue?
  • What are my top-performing products?
  • Are there seasonal trends in when my products are being purchased?
  • How are my promotions performing?

Google Specific Vocab Refresher

Product lists names are a logical grouping of products you define in your GA eCommerce code.

Examples of common list groupings:
  • Catalog Pages
  • Cross-sells
  • Up-sells
  • Related Products
  • Search Results

What’s Different

  • Reporting on in-app purchases -> If you have app-specific products (like in a gaming app), you can now see reports. This was previously in Firebase.
  • Publisher Ads reporting -> Sites that sell ads on their website will now get access to ad performance data and ad revenue.
  • Combined revenue reporting for eCommerce, in-app purchases, and publisher ads.
  • New graph -> Average purchase revenue per user.

New Terminology:

The new metrics don’t stray too far away from Universal Analytics. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Just listing here to highlight the nuance.

Key Metrics:
  • Item Views: The number of times an item page was viewed.
  • Cart-To-View Rate: Formula - Total Add-To-Carts / Total Product Views
  • Ecommerce Purchases: Number of times a user completed a purchase.
  • Purchase-To-View Rate: Formula - eCommerce Purchases / Item Views
  • Item Purchase Quantity: The number of units of a single item included in a purchase.
  • eCommerce Purchase Quantity: The number of items included in a purchase.
  • eCommerce Purchases: Number of times a user purchased an item.
  • Item Revenue: Total revenue from a specific item only, excluding shipping and taxes.

  • Item Promotion Views: The number of times an item promotion was viewed.
  • Item Promotion Clicks: The number of times an item promotion was clicked.
  • Item Promotion Click Through Rate: Item Promotion Clicks / Item Promotion Views.
  • Item Revenue: Total revenue from a specific item. Excludes shipping and taxes.

Specific Metrics For Ad Sellers:
  • Publisher Ad Impressions: The number of times an ad was displayed on your website.
  • Ad Unit Exposure: The amount of time the ad unit was shown or "exposed" to the user.
  • Publisher Ad Clicks: The number of times an ad was clicked on your website.
  • Total Ad Revenue: Total revenue generated by an ad (includes AdMob and Third-Party Advertisers).

Dimensions:
  • Item Promotion Creative Name: The internal creative associated with the item promotion (i.e a banner, carousel, or image on your website).
  • Item Promotion ID: The ID associated with your internal promotion.
  • Item Name: The name of your item.
  • Item ID: The ID of the item.
  • Item Category 1 - 5: The categories that an item is assigned to (i.e apparel).
  • Item Brand: The brand name of the item.

Specific Dimensions For Ad Sellers:
  • Ad Unit: Location (ad space) on the website or app that displayed the ad.
  • Page Path and Screen Class: The site page or app screen where the ad was displayed.
  • Ad Format: The format of the ad (i.e text, video, image).
  • Ad Source: The company who provided the ad.


Monetization Overview Tab

Revenue Chart

The first chart shows the revenue you have earned from eCommerce and Google’s Ad Network. Total revenue combines both of these sources. If you do not use Google’s Ad Network, you will see a $0.00.

What to use it for: Very straight-forward. Utilize for executive-level revenue reporting. Quickly view revenue totals for specific time periods and analyze revenue trends over time.

Purchases Chart

Google breaks out first-time purchasers and total purchasers and graphs it over your selected time period.

What to use it for: The totals at the top I would turn into a pie chart to see the proportion of new vs returning users. (You would have to deduce returning purchasers from the numbers).

I also would likely export the raw data and create a new time graph with both total purchasers, first time purchasers, and returning purchasers. Much more interesting that way.

Average Purchase Revenue Per User

In this table, Google charts the formula: Total Revenue / Total Users for each day.

Essentially, this graph is trying to tell you the amount of money you can expect to generate from an individual customer.

What to use it for: Personally, I don’t think Average Purchase Revenue Per User (APRU) is a useful metric. It sums up all of your visitors who come to your site for any reason.

If someone is coming to your website for a job, should they be rounded up in your revenue reports? I would say no.

Ecommerce Purchases By Item Name

Very straightforward- this table highlights your most purchased items by their name.

What to use it for: Executive-level reporting on top products being purchased.

Ecommerce Purchases By Item List Name

Data populated here will be dependent on if you set up your eCommerce code for Google Analytics 4 properly. More details can be found in the eCommerce (Google Analytics 4) developer guide.

What to use it for: Executive-level reporting on which list groupings are driving the most purchases.

Secret Tab: Item Lists

Google Analytics 4 Item List Tab

eCommerce Purchases By Item List Name
At the time of writing, these charts are not populating in the demo account.
What should show here your top item list name by how many purchases.

What to use it for: High-level reporting on the highest revenue-generating item lists.

eCommerce Purchases And Item List Views By Item List Name
Plots your item list names by how many purchases and list views the items in the item list received.

What to use it for: Another flawed scatterplot in my opinion. I would much prefer to compare add-to-carts and purchases than purchases and views. Add-to-carts and purchases are better to compare when you want to see how well your item lists are converting.

Item List Name Table
Another table you can filter and segment to your heart’s content.

Key Metrics:
  • Item List Views: The number of times an item list was viewed.
  • Item List Clicks: The number of times an item list was clicked.
  • Item List Click Through Rate: Item list clicks / Item list views
  • Add-to-Carts: Number of times a user added an item to their cart.
  • Checkouts: Number of times a user started the checkout process.
  • eCommerce Purchases: Number of times a user purchased an item.
  • Item Revenue: Total revenue for items only, excluding tax and shipping.
On this table, you can only filter by the item list name and the item list ID.

What to use it for: Drill Down into item list performance by advanced segmentation and filtering.

Back To Overview Graphs: Item Views by Item Promotion Name

Item promotions need to be properly set-up in your eCommerce data layer code to populate here. Reference the eCommerce (Google Analytics 4) developer guide for more information.

Item promotions are coupons that discount merchandise at the item level. Google’s demo account has item promotions organized into collections of products. You can define item promotions in your eCommerce code.

Example of an item promotion group: You can create an item promotion called “Purple Items” and create a 20% discount on all items that are purple.

What to use it for: Quickly identify your item promotions that have the most product views.

Secret Tab: Item Promotions

Google Analytics 4 Item Promotion Tab

Clicking on the “view promotions” link will take you to a more in-depth reporting page.

Item Promotion Views By Item Promotion Name Over Time
This time graph is a visualization of the item views by item promotion chart you just clicked from.
It shows how many times items in a promotion were viewed over the time period you selected.

What to use it for: Running paid media to a landing page with a collection of items on sale? Track the campaign performance in terms of how many item views you are getting here.

Item Promotion Views And Item Promotion Clicks By Item Promotion Name
Item promotions are plotted by their total number of product clicks and product views.

What to use it for: I would prefer to have a plot by CTR rather than associated clicks and views. I would take a look at the table to see the item promotions CTR to measure success rather than looking at this graph.

You can quickly see what item promotions are getting the most clicks and impressions.

Item Promotion Table
Here you can drill down further into how your item promotions are performing.

Key Metrics:
  • Item Promotion Views: The number of times an item promotion was viewed.
  • Item Promotion Clicks: The number of times an item promotion was clicked.
  • Item Promotion Click Through Rate: Item Promotion Clicks / Item Promotion Views
  • Add-to-Carts: Number of times a user added an item to their cart.
  • Checkouts: Number of times a user started the checkout process.
  • eCommerce Purchases: Number of times a user purchased an item.
  • Item Revenue: Total revenue for items only, excluding tax and shipping.

Table Filter Options:
  • Item Promotion Creative Name: The internal creative associated with the item promotion (i.e a banner, carousel, or image on your website).
  • Item Promotion ID: The ID associated with your internal promotion.

What to use it for: Report out on what acquisition sources are driving what item promotions. Identify successful item promotions by their CTR and revenue generated. With additional filtering and segmenting, you can get granular insights.

Back To Overview Graphs: Ecommerce Revenue By Order Coupon

Order coupons are discounts that are applied at the order level. All items in an order will receive the discount.

Note: eCommerce revenue includes the total order price, shipping and tax.

What to use it for: Identify your top revenue-generating order-level coupon codes at a glance.

Secret Tab: View Order Coupons

Clicking on “view order coupons” expands to an in-depth reporting tab. Google Analytics 4 Order Coupons Tab

eCommerce Revenue By Order Coupon Over Time
Order coupons and their total revenue are plotted over the time period you selected.

What to use it for: View trends of order coupon performance over time. Promoting an order coupon through multiple email sequences? On this graph you can align your coupon revenue with your email send days. Identify which email sequence day was the most successful at driving in coupon revenue at a glance.

eCommerce Revenue And eCommerce Purchases By Order Coupon
Order coupons are plotted by their total revenue and total purchases.

What to use it for: Identify which order coupons are driving the most revenue and purchases at a glance.

Order Coupon Table
One of the smallest tables in Google Analytics 4. This table lists all of your order coupon names and only 3 metrics:
  • eCommerce Purchases: The number of times a user purchased an item using the coupon code.
  • eCommerce Purchase Quantity: The number of items included in a purchase.
  • eCommerce Revenue: Total revenue from purchase events, including tax and shipping.

What to use it for: Analyze performance of your order coupons.

Back To Overview Graphs: What Is Your Revenue From In-App Purchases?

This report is useful for gaming apps who have in-purchase products, like limited edition items. In this table you can see all of your in-app products and the total revenue generated.

The link takes you to a drilldown page with charts and a table.

What to use it for: View your most purchased in-app products at an executive-level.

What Is Your Revenue Per Ad Unit?

If your app runs advertising through Google, you will be able to see data here. You can filter the table by both ad impressions and ad clicks.

The link takes you to a drilldown page with charts and a table.

What to use it for: See what ad units are driving the most clicks and impressions on your app.

Ecommerce Purchases Tab

Google Analytics 4 Ecommerce Purchases Tab

By now these tabs should start to look familiar. More semi-useless graphs and a large table.

Item Views By Item Name Over Time

Your most viewed products are shown over time.

What to use it for: View time trends for your top viewed items. Identify when product views increase or decrease (i.e days of the week, around holidays, etc.). Compare time trends across your different products.

Item Views To Add-To-Carts By Item Name

Scatter plot that shows how many item views and add-to-cart your items have.

What to use it for: This graph can be used to quickly see which products have the highest ratio of Views:To-Add-To-Cart. Having this metric can tell you what products are most enticing to users to potentially purchase after viewing the item page.

Product Table

Key Metrics:
  • Item Views: The number of times an item page was viewed.
  • Add-To-Carts: The number of times a user added an item to their cart.
  • Cart-To-View Rate: Total Add-To-Carts / Total Product Views
  • Ecommerce Purchases: The total number of times a user completed a purchase.
  • Purchase-To-View Rate: eCommerce Purchases / Item Views
  • Item Purchase Quantity: The number of units of a single item included in a purchase.
  • Item Revenue: Total revenue from a specific item only, excluding shipping and taxes.

Filter By The Following From Your eCommerce Data Layer Code:
  • Item Name: The name of your item.
  • Item ID: The ID of the item.
  • Item Category 1 - 5: The categories that an item is assigned to (i.e apparel)
  • Item Brand: The brand name of the item.

In-App Purchases Tab

Google Analytics 4 In-App Purchases Tab

For those who have in-app purchases, the in-app tab is a condensed version of the eCommerce purchase tab.
In Google’s demo account, they have a few products pertaining to a gaming app: Remove Ads and different in-game packs.

Quantity By Product ID Over Time

Your in-app products are plotted by how many purchases they had over the time period you selected.

What to use it for: Identify what days of the week users are purchasing the most in-app items.

Quantity And Product Revenue By Product ID

Your in-app products are scatter-plotted by their revenue and number of purchases.

What to use it for: Quickly view your in-app products that are generating the most purchases and revenue.

App Product Table

For the in-app tab, the only metrics Google Analytics 4 focuses on are the number of purchases and revenue metrics for each product.

Pretty straightforward - the only new metric is:
  • Average Product Revenue: Number of Products Sold / Total Product Revenue

Publisher Ads Tab:

Google Analytics 4 In-App Purchases Tab

Publishers who run Adsense on their website will be able to see data on their ad performance in Google Analytics 4.
To get started with Publisher Ads, you can sign-up here.

Publisher Ad Impressions By Ad Unit Over Time

This graph displays the total number of impressions by your ad location (ad unit) over the time period you selected.

What to use it for: View which ad location on your site (ad unit) is getting the most number of impressions on your site.

Publisher Ad impressions And Ad Unit Exposure By Ad Unit

Ad unit exposure is the time an ad was shown to a user in miliseconds.

A scatterplot that shows the relation between ad impressions and ad unit exposure by where your ads are located on your site (ad unit).

What to use it for: Answer the question: What ad locations on my site are being seen for the longest and are getting the most impressions?

Publisher Ad Table

In the Publisher Ad table you can analyze the performance of your ads. There are a few new metrics to note:
  • Publisher Ad Impressions: The number of times an ad was displayed on your website.
  • Ad Unit Exposure: The amount of time the ad unit was exposed to the user.
  • Publisher Ad Clicks: The number of times an ad was clicked on your website.
  • Total Ad Revenue: Total revenue generated by an ad (includes AdMob and Third-Party Advertisers)

Filtering

The Ad Table has different filtering from the other Google Analytics 4 tables. Here you can dive deeper into ad format, the location of the ads, and your advertisers.

You can filter by:
  • Ad Unit: Space on the website or app that displayed the ad.
  • Page Path and Screen Class: The site page or app screen where the ad was displayed.
  • Ad Format: The format of the ad (i.e text, video, image).
  • Ad Source: The company who provided the ad.





Retention

Google Analytics 4 Ecommerce Retention Tab

The retention tab is a completely new report for Universal Analytics users. The majority of the graphs are focused on user cohorts. User cohorts are a group of new users who arrived to your site on a given day.

Retention reports can help you identify how long users are continuing to visit and engage with your site.

Examples of the analysis you can do with these reports:
  • The percent of users in a cohort who return to your site 7 days after their initial visit.
  • Diagnosis the drop-off point .
  • How long users are staying on your site the first visit and subsequent visits.
  • The percentage of new users who return each day.
  • The lifetime value of all users in the first 120 days of using your site or app.

Google Vocab Refresher

No Universal Analytics refreshers needed - these are new reports.

What’s Different

The new vs returning user graph is the only thing that isn’t new in this report.

New Terminology

There are no new metrics or dimensions used in the retention tab.

Retention Overview Graphs

New Users vs Returning Users

This report will be familiar to Universal Analytics users. Instead of a pie chart, the user types are broken down separately in a time graph.

What to use it for: You can use the graphs to identify increases and decreases in users. If you see a decrease or increase here, you can dive deeper into what channels are causing the change in the acquisition reports.

User Retention By Cohort

This is a new report for Google Analytics 4. This graph shows the percentage of new-users who return each day.

Day 1 (Top Line): The percentage of users that visited your site for the first time.
Day 7 (Bottom Line): The percentage of those new users who returned each day in the last 7 days.

Further explanation: As you scroll over the time graph, Day 1 shows the percentage of new users who arrived to your site that day.

So, if you are hovering over March 8th, the percentage will include new users acquired on March 1st and who returned every day leading up to March 8th.

As the graph reaches 0% towards the end, this means not enough time has elapsed to calculate the retention percentage.

What to use it for: Use this report to diagnosis when users are User retention reports help show how "sticky" your site is. These charts can help you see if your audience is staying consistently engaged by your content. A higher percentage of people returning means your content is engaging. A lower percentage indicates an opportunity to enhance your content.

User Engagement By Cohort

A new report. This graph shows the average engagement time of new-users who return each day. The cohort of new users starts on the first date you selected in the time period.

Note: The lines are flip-flopped compared to the previous chart.

Top Day 7 Chart Line: The average engagement time (session duration) of those new users who returned each day in the last 7 days from the chart date you’re hovering over.
Bottom Day 1 Chart Line: The average engagement time (session duration) of all users acquired on the chart date you’re hovering over.
Again, this is forward looking. You will need 7 days to elapse from the day you are hovering over to see the Day 7 average engagement time data.

What to use it for: For returning users, you can see how well your content and experience is keeping them engaged. If returning users are spending less time on your site, you might want to adjust your strategy to keeping your audience captivated.

User Retention

The User Retention graph is the percentage of new users who returned each day. This report looks retroactively, so the last date in your time selector will be the ending point (Day 42).
Day 0 is 42 days PRIOR from your ending date.

What to use it for: This is an extended graph of the previous graphs. You can view the percentage of users who return each day from the start date of the time you selected. For those who have apps, this graph is critical to understand how active your audience is.

User Engagement

This graph shows the average engagement time of retained users from the first time the user visits a website or app. The retained users are a cohort of users who returned to your site.
Day 0 is 42 days FROM the last date in your time period selected.
If the last day selected was April 20th, Day 0 would be March 9th.

Note: if you have an app, this includes the first time a user launches an app after re-installing it!

What to use it for: Use this section to diagnosis opportunities for extending user engagement.

Lifetime Value

For each new user, Google will calculate the sum of purchase events or ad earning events during the user’s first 120 days of site/app usage.

The Lifetime Value (LTV) is the average of this metric for all users. This includes people who did not come to your site with the intention to purchase.

What to use it for: This chart can be handy for analyzing LTV by acquisition channels. Creating a segment at the top can help you glance at how LTV changes by your paid marketing channels.

My only gripe with this graph is that it includes ALL users. I prefer to look at LTV from people who have actually purchased. Those who come to your site looking for a job shouldn’t be rounded up into LTV.




Closing Thoughts

Is Google's restructing of Google Analytics really necessary? What are Google Analytics 4's actual improvements from the old ways? I can't actually find a solid answer.

The only solid improvements I see are:
  • Increased privacy protection for the website users (data gets deleted after x amount of time).
  • Better picture of how users are using websites + apps in tandem.
  • A great way to get extra consulting opportunities and raise your rates.

But is that really worth restructing the whole UI/UX of Analytics? I don't think so. It will demoralize newer analytics users who's newly acquired knowledge is now moot. Google Analytics 4 is currently frustrating Google Analytics power users. Just pop-in to any online discussion board to see analysts MOTI (mad on the internet).

Google Clearly Did Not Ask For An Analyst's Opinion

Google Analytics 4 falls flat when it comes to in-depth analysis. Google engineers force analysts to view their website data how Google sees fit.
Don't like scatterplots? Well, too bad. The Google engineers think you NEED to see your data represented by scatterplots. Whatever happened to letting the analysts determine what they need?

Instead, those who use Google Analytics heavily for their job, will need to move to either BigQuery or Google's Analysis cube. In these Google tools, analysts can better segment and filter out the data they actually care about.

Not a bad move if you want to increase your consulting rates by learning new technology. This move hurts the average user though. If you're not super techy, you may need to rely on more advanced analytics users to set-up your reports.

No One Knows What Is Going On With Google Analytics 4

The communication surronding Google Analytics 4 has been very unclear. Most marketers have been stalling learning the new Google Analytics, as there are some key questions unanswered:

  • When will Google Analytics 4 replace the old Google Analytics?
  • How does Google Analytics 4 handle tracking users in a cookie-less world?
  • Where the heck is the more in-depth developer documentation?
  • Google Analytics 4 seems somewhat incomplete.. are more features being added?

In short, there is some serious lack of confidence in the new analytics upgrade. A large part of the lack of confidence is due to the poor communication on Google's part. What makes GA4 a better tool and necessary to upgrade has not been sold to the majority of marketers. This needs to be addressed if Google wants more early adoption.