May 28, 2023

GA4 Custom Channel Groups

Dive into GA4 Custom Channel Grouping. Learn to set up and use custom channel groups in Google Analytics 4 for better data insights

GA4 Custom Channel Groups

Harnessing GA4 Custom Channel Groups

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has introduced a powerful feature that provides more flexibility and control over your data analysis - Custom Channel Groups. This feature enables you to categorize your website's traffic sources based on your own rules, thereby enhancing your understanding of user behavior and enriching your data insights.

GA4 Custom Channel Groups: What Are They?

Custom Channel Groups in GA4 are classifications of your website's traffic sources based on rules you set. This differs from Default Channel Groups, which are bound by a fixed set of predefined rules. The flexibility offered by Custom Channel Groups in GA4 is a significant advancement from Universal Analytics, where this feature was highly favored.

Custom Channel Groups can be utilized as primary and secondary dimensions, and are accessible in reports, explorations, and audience creation. This means they can be used to monitor specific campaigns, track various traffic sources, and even establish conditions for audiences.

Imagine you're a car dealership, autodealer.com, and you're launching a promotional campaign for a new SUV model. You're focusing on two regional markets - California and Texas, and you're using Facebook Ads for promotion.

You want to:

  1. Create a new channel group "SUV Launch Facebook Campaign"
  2. Create new channels for each of the Facebook Ad campaigns you create for localized content (e.g., California, Texas)

To do this, you could configure each of your new regional channels as follows:

Channel name: CaliforniaCampaign name exactly matches (=) SUV LaunchSource exactly matches (=) facebook.com/AutoDealerCalifornia

Channel name: TexasCampaign name exactly matches (=) SUV LaunchSource exactly matches (=) facebook.com/AutoDealerTexas

Then, to view your data, navigate to the Acquisition > User acquisition and Acquisition > Traffic acquisition reports and use your new channel group "SUV Launch Facebook Campaign" as the primary or secondary dimension for the report.

Each of the channels in your group is a dimension value and will appear as a separate row in the report, for example:

  • California
  • Texas

This way, you can easily monitor the performance of your Facebook Ads campaign for each regional market, allowing you to make informed decisions about your marketing strategy.

The Difference Between Custom Channel Groups and Default Channel Groups

The key difference between Custom Channel Groups and Default Channel Groups lies in their flexibility. Default Channel Groups follow a rigid set of predefined rules and cannot be modified. On the other hand, Custom Channel Groups in GA4 allow you to define your own rules for categorizing traffic sources, offering a higher degree of customization and control. Check out this GA4 default channel groups article for more details.

Setting Up Custom Channel Groups in GA4

Creating Custom Channel Groups in GA4 involves a series of steps and requires a good understanding of how your traffic sources are tracked, typically through UTM parameters. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  • Go to the GA4 admin section and select Channel Groups.
select custom channel grouping from ga4 admin panel
  • Click on "Create new channel group."
create new custom channel gorup
  • Give it a descriptive name and an optional description.
give a name to ga4 custom channel grouping

  • Define the new channel names and rules and then Save the new custom channel group in GA4.
ga4 custom channel group config

  • Verify that it is correctly saved in the GA4 UI.

Remember, traffic is included in the first channel that matches its definition based on the current order of channels in the group.

Utilizing Custom Channel Groups in GA4

Custom Channel Groups can be utilized in various ways in the GA4 UI. Here are six ways to use them:

  1. As a Primary Dimension in Standard Report: Add it as a new dimension to the related report.
  2. As a Secondary Dimension in Standard Report: Use it as a secondary dimension without needing to add it to the report first.
  3. As a Dimension in Comparison: Utilize the custom channel group through the comparison feature in Google Analytics.
  4. As a Dimension in Report Filter: Set up a filter including a rule based on one of the custom channel group dimensions.
  5. As a Dimension in Report Card: Add them to a summary, report card.
  6. As a Dimension in Exploration: Add this dimension to an Exploration report.


GA4 Custom Channel Groups are a powerful tool for data analysis. They offer flexibility and control over how you categorize your website's traffic sources, allowing for more detailed and granular analysis. By mastering the use of Custom Channel Groups in GA4, you can gain deeper insights into your audience's behavior and enhance your website's performance.