The new Google Analytics 4 is something we’re all going to have to get used to, and I expect many readers will already have experimented with it. Surprisingly, it’s not as easy to see instant results as it was in the previous ‘Universal Analytics’, as it doesn’t have the same bunch of predefined reports. However, as I’ve remarked before, by presenting these reports, many users of the old UA didn’t go any further. Although it forces us to work a bit harder, GA4 makes us set up the reports we really need.
Inspired by an article in Search Engine Journal, here’s how to set up and save a typical useful report in GA4. I’m hoping this will act as a template for readers to create other reports that will prove genuinely useful to their business.
The report we’re creating as an example is an essential one, showing the landing pages where visitors arrived on our site. So, head over to your own GA4 and follow these steps!
- Go to Reports > Life Cycle > Acquisition > Traffic Acquisition to get a template report to modify.
- You’ll see the default view here is where traffic came from. But the data we want available is the landing page. So let’s customise the report and make that information (‘dimension’) available by clicking the pencil top right.
- Under ‘Dimensions’, we set up the parameter we want to measure . Click ‘Add dimension’ and select ‘Landing page’, then under the three dots next to ‘Landing page’, select ‘Set as default’. Click ‘Apply’ and our report is created.
- Finally, click ‘Save’ and ‘Save as new report’. Call it something like ‘Landing Pages’ and save.
What if the columns in the report aren’t what we want? No problem. These are governed by the ‘Metrics’ section, accessed below the ‘Dimensions’ option. For example, if we just want the number of times each page was the landing page for a session, and the number of different users, delete all the items other than ‘Users’ and ‘Sessions’, and swap the two around. Click ‘Apply’ to see our changes, and ‘Save’ followed by ‘Save changes to current report’ to keep them.
Similarly, set up the chart (or charts) as required.
Finally, we should add the report to our main navigation.
- Click ‘Back’ and then select the ‘Reports’ section on the far left.
- Click ‘Library’, and under ‘Life cycle’, click ‘Edit collection’.
- Find the new report (e.g. ‘Landing Pages’) in the second column, and drag it to the desired menu position in the first column (e.g. under ‘Engagement’). Save the setup.
The newly created report should now appear wherever positioned permanently. It can of course be modified!
I hope that this exercise will not only help to set up a useful customised report, but that it will demonstrate the principle by which any report can be created and saved for future access. Now the task for all of us is to work out what we really want to measure!