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.
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:
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:
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 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.
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:
Remember, traffic is included in the first channel that matches its definition based on the current order of channels in the group.
Custom Channel Groups can be utilized in various ways in the GA4 UI. Here are six ways to use them:
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.