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In October 2022, Google launched the latest version of Google Analytics (GA4) and replaced Universal Analytics (UA) as the default for digital analytics measurements on the platform.
However, with a new layout, features, and measurement model, many marketers still haven’t gotten around to making the transition to GA4.
There are a bunch of new things to learn and as Mick Jagger’s song goes, “old habits die hard”.
But, with Google announcing that as of July 1st, 2023, GA4 will be the only option, marketers aren’t left with much choice except to learn the ropes of this upgraded measurement model.
The main issue seems to be the GA4 metrics since they’re now event-driven instead of pageview-driven.
In this article, we’ll provide you with a complete GA4 metrics tutorial and explain everything you need to know about them before the transition.
In Universal Analytics, differentiating dimensions and metrics was as straightforward as it gets, but the process is a bit more complicated in GA4, causing trouble for transitioning marketers.
To put it simply, a dimension is a characteristic of your data. In most cases, it will be in form of a text that better describes the data.
Also, dimensions aren’t strictly limited to one characteristic.
For instance, the ‘Session source’ dimension in GA4 has several characteristics, including User, Sessions, Engaged sessions, Average engagement time, and Engaged session per user.
Most importantly, dimensions provide context to metrics since metrics alone aren’t sufficient in the analysis and reporting process.
Metrics are defined as quantitative measurements where the value is always presented via numbers (average, ratio, percentage, etc.). The number is used to measure dimension characteristics.
For example, ‘Event count’ is a metric that displays the total number of times a specific event is triggered.
In Google Analytics 4, both dimensions and metrics are displayed in reports (data tables), where the dimensions are represented in rows, while metrics are represented in columns.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that metrics in GA4 only have one scope (Event), while dimensions can have two scopes (Event and User).
As you already know, the Universal Analytics version focuses on sessions and pageviews and is based on tracking the data around these two.
In Google Analytics 4, it’s a different story – the model tracks and processes events instead of sessions and pageviews.
This is why you’ll see these three new metrics once you shift to GA4:
Neither of these metrics can be found in UA and they’ve replaced the ones like average session duration, pages/sessions, and bounce rate.
For the vast majority of marketers that migrate to GA4, the loss of bounce rate metric tends to be the most noticeable.
Related: Google Analytics vs. Universal Analytics: 4 Main Differences
There are two main types of metrics in Google Analytics 4:
This is considered the broader categorization of Google Analytics 4 metrics, but there’s also a narrower one worth mentioning.
The narrower categorization of GA4 metrics is the following:
To better understand how your website performs in terms of customer conversion and acquisition, you probably use Google Analytics 4 to learn how people are finding your website, what your most profitable traffic sources are, and how successful specific marketing campaigns are in attracting website visitors. You may have to navigate multiple areas and reports within GA4 to get the data you want though. Now you can quickly assess your website performance in a single dashboard that monitors fundamental metrics, such as:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for understanding how successful you are at attracting visitors from different channels. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in management reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your Google Analytics 4 account with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
Default metrics are the metrics that already exist in Google Analytics 4 reports and can be measured immediately.
They are classified into the following sub-categories:
Acquisition metrics are used for assessing the attributes of acquisition dimensions. They provide you with information regarding the users who are in the “awareness phase” of your website.
They are divided into:
There are three GA4 reports that contain acquisition metrics:
And here’s what your acquisition reports could look like in Databox.
Engagement metrics are used for assessing the attributes of engagement dimensions. These metrics provide information about the users in the “consideration phase” who show interest in learning more about your products and services.
Let’s go through the different engagement metric examples:
You can find engagement metrics in these four GA4 reports:
Here is what your engagement reports could look like in Databox.
Related: Where Are My Views In Google Analytics 4? Everything You Need to Know About Filtering Data in GA4
Monetization metrics are used for assessing the attributes of engagement dimensions. These metrics provide purchase activity-related data.
By analyzing monetization metrics, you’ll be able to identify patterns that will show you where you should target your efforts to push the users towards the “purchase phase”.
Monetization metric examples for an ecommerce website could include:
There are four GA4 reports where you can track monetization metrics:
Here’s what your GA4 monetization reports could look like in Databox.
Retention metrics showcase data related to user retention and they can be categorized into different units or user audiences.
Considering that acquiring new customers can cost five times more than retaining existing ones, tracking retention metrics can be a great way to increase revenue and cut unnecessary losses.
Let’s go through a few examples of retention metrics:
Retention metrics are captured in the Retention Overview Report.
Demographics metrics are used to assess the attributes of demographic dimensions. They provide you with relevant demographic data such as user age, location, gender, etc. You can use demographic metrics to understand your customer’s interests.
Some of the most popular demographic metrics include:
Demographic metrics are captured in:
Here is an example of a GA4 Demographics report in Databox.
Tech metrics are used for assessing the attributes of tech dimensions. These metrics allow you to analyze traffic by user platform, app version, operating system, and more.
Some tech metric examples include:
Tech metrics can be found in:
Google Analytics 4 includes a wide variety of default metrics, but they don’t capture each possible scenario.
Even though the tool covers a lot of general use cases, there are always some things unique to the specific business that you’d want to track.
This is where custom metrics step in.
Custom metrics are user-specified metrics that you can create when you want to measure certain dimension attributes that aren’t captured by the existing metrics.
For example, if you include videos in your website content, you can create a custom metric called “Number of video views” to check out how many users interacted with it.
In Google Analytics 4, you can only create event-scoped custom metrics. This means that you can only measure activities that come from event parameters.
The main advantage of using custom metrics is that you’ll receive a new data card for each logged event parameter that you created as a custom metric.
In other words, custom metrics can make your existing reports much more comprehensive.
Even though making the transition from UA to GA4 won’t be easy for short-on-time marketers, it will have to happen eventually once Google replaces the old tracking model completely.
But, while it will take some time to adapt to the new model, the advanced features and more granular insights you’ll receive will make it all worthwhile.
If you have already transitioned to GA4, but are still having trouble juggling around different reports to categorize the important metrics and analyze them, you can check out our pre-built GA4 dashboard templates.
These templates can help you get a better overview of your crucial GA4 metrics and combine them all in one screen, making the analysis process much easier and simplifying data presentation.
Furthermore, if you need help in making sense of your performance data, we have a free GA4 setup service that you can try out.
You can contact our team, explain what information you need in the dashboard, and our team will deliver it within 24 hours.
All of this is a few clicks away once you sign up for a free trial.
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