Understanding GA4 – where to find reports you used to see in Universal Analytics

Mar 22, 2023 | Google Analytics

Beginners Guide to GA4

As some of you may be aware, Universal Analytics (UA) is being deprecated. And from the 1st July 2023, no data will be processed into your UA property. Around six months later, you won’t have access to your UA property at all.

This means, to access all that key business information e.g. sessions, users, conversions you’ll have to head into the scary depths of Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

But let me assure you that it’s not as bad you first realise and all the information you need to find is still there within GA4.

They might be named differently, or in a different place that you’d expect them to be, but they are there.

In this article I want to show you how to find commonly used UA within the GA4 interface including:

  • Landing Page Report
  • All Pages Report
  • Default Channel Grouping
  • Technology reports

I’ll also provide an overview of how to update and customise reports so that you can have the data and insights

Let’s get stuck in.

What is GA4?

GA4 or Google Analytics 4 is the fourth iteration of analytics brought out by Google. It has been designed to manage analytics in a cookie-less world with behaviour and conversion modelling. Whereas in UA, data was managed via a series of hits, GA4 is a completely events based analytical tool. It was previously called app and web.

Landing Pages Report

This is a great report that I used a great deal in UA. It really helped to understand the pages that are driving traffic to a site – and crucially, what type of engagement metrics you can see from these pages.

It was so easy to find in UA, and it’s there in GA4 too.

To access the report navigate to the reports section of GA4 and click into Life Cycle > Engagement > Landing Pages.

Et voila – the landing page report is ready for you read and disseminate.

Please note – at the time of writing, the landing page report is rolling out to GA4 properties, so if you don’t see it, it should soon be added.

Of course, as we touch upon later on there is the opportunity to build out bespoke reports so you can always create this landing page report from scratch.

All Pages Report

This report in UA was a great opportunity to see how individual pages are performing – from number of views, bounce rate to average time on page. Great stats to give insights to help make changes to a page to improve the user experience.

And don’t worry this report is available too in Google Analytics 4. To view metrics relating to specific pages head to the reports section of GA4 and click into Life Cycle > Engagement > Pages and Screens.

In it you can see as a default metrics such as:

  • Views
  • Views per User
  • Average Engagement Time

The screens part of pages and screen relates to apps because GA4 also allows for the tracking of information from apps too.

Default Channel Group

My first port of call when going into analytics is to take a deep dive into the default channel group. This gives me insights into the channels that are driving traffic to the site and how those channels are performing. So, for example, if social is driving a lot of traffic but minimal conversions then maybe the messaging on social media isn’t aligned with the content on page, for example.

This is a must see report for any digital marketer and it still available in GA4.

All you need to do is click into the reports section, into acquisition and then click on traffic acquisition.

This gives you insight into the session traffic and which channel it comes from. Metrics include:

  • Users
  • Sessions
  • Engaged Sessions
  • Conversions

Technology Reports

Do you want to know where to find information relating to devices, browsers and device model, you’ll probably know exactly where to find that in UA.

If underneath the report section, you’ll find a section called ‘user’ and in their under ‘tech details’ you’ll find a report that looks at browser information to begin with. But underneath that default starting dimension is a plethora of other reports ready to view.

Clicking on the drop down reveals other dimensions ready for you to review and see insights for.

From here, you can choose a different dimension within the tech dimensions including device category. Clicking on that, gives you the information relating to stats for mobile or computer users.

What is engagement rate?

You may have seen a new metric called engagement rate in the reports you are looking at in GA4. So, what is engagement rate.

Engagement rate is a percentage value that is the number of engaged sessions divided by sessions.

The higher the percentage the better and is an indication of how engaging the site is based on whichever particular dimension you are looking at. In many ways, it takes the place of bounce rate – a metric often viewed in UA.

Bounce rate is still accessible within GA4 and you can add it via the report customisation option outlined below – but the important thing to note is that bounce rate is essentially the inverse of engagement rate. So an engagement rate of 80% means a bounce rate of 20%.

What’s an engaged session?

This is a new metric in GA4, an engaged session is one that:

  • Last longer than 10 seconds, or
  • 2 or more pages are viewed
  • A conversion action is completed

Customising Reports

One great thing about GA4 is the ability to customise reports. This takes reporting one step further so you can really get the insights you need without having to amend each time you pop into GA4.

This means you can add a different dimension by default, remove metrics that aren’t valuable and add in other metrics that you want to see.

You can then save these reports and add them to the left hand menu – data available to you at the click of a button.

To customise a report (if you have the correct level of rights in GA4):

  1. Click on the pencil button at the top right of any report
  2. In Report Data, add / remove dimensions (and make a dimension as default)
  3. Remove and Add metrics
  4. (Optional) Add a report filter for more granular data
  5. (Optional) Remove or maintain the charts
  6. Click ‘Save as New Report’

Once you’ve done this, you’ve now got a completely customised report.

It doesn’t just end there – because you can then add the report to the left hand menu.

To do this, once in the reports section, head to the library function in the bottom left

Once here, you can choose to add your customised report to a collection already made (you’ll recognise the names ‘life cycle’ ‘user’ etc reflect the menus in the report section) or create a brand new collection and call it something specific.

You can then drag and drop your new report into the chosen collection. Saving this collection means you then have a new report with data that you want to see, ready at the click of a button.

Hopefully, that’s given you the confidence to get stuck into GA4. It looks different, but the information is there, it might just need tweezing out a bit.

If your agency or brand is in need of a Google Analytics Consultant to help upgrade and migrate you to GA4 contact us today as we’d love to help!

This post was created by community member, Kyle Rushton McGregor, who is an expert in all things GA4 and tracking.

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