May 28, 2023

GA4 Default Channel Groups

Learn what default channel groups are and how to access them in GA4

GA4 Default Channel Groups

Understanding Default Channel Grouping in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Default channel groupings are predefined categories that GA4 uses to classify your incoming traffic. These categories include paid, organic search, referral, and others. The system definition of these groupings is reflected in the GA4 reporting view.

It's important to note that you cannot modify the default channel group definitions. However, you can use them to tag your landing page URLs. GA4 does not enforce case sensitivity when using these definitions in your landing page URLs.

For instance, suppose you run an online bookstore and you're promoting a new collection of books through an email campaign. You could tag your landing page URL as "www.bookstore.com/new-collection?utm_medium=email". Regardless of whether you use "email", "Email", or "EMAIL" as the medium, GA4 will group all these variations under the 'Email' channel. This allows you to consistently track the effectiveness of your email campaign.

Accessing the Channel Grouping Report

To access the Channel Grouping report, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your GA4 property and click on 'Reports'.
  2. Click on 'Acquisition'.
  3. Click on 'Traffic Acquisition'.
  4. Click on the drop-down option under 'Session source/medium'.
  5. An overlay will appear. Click on 'Session default channel grouping'.

Now, you can view your reports by default channel group.

ga4 default channel group

Custom Channel Grouping in GA4

In GA4, you have the option to create custom channel groups. This means you can define your own categories for classifying and analyzing your website traffic. It provides you with more flexibility in organizing your data according to your specific requirements. If you want to learn more about custom channel groups, you can read our detailed article on the topic here.

Default Channel Groupings in GA4

GA4 provides several default channel groupings, each with its own definition. Here are a few examples:

  • Direct: This category includes traffic from users who enter the URL into their browser or use a bookmark to access the webpage directly.
  • Organic search: This category includes traffic coming from a search engine like Google or Bing.
  • Paid Social: This category includes traffic from users who arrive on your landing page using a link via a paid social campaign.
  • Organic Social: This category includes traffic from users who arrive on your landing page using a link via an organic social media post.

You can download the full list of default channels along with the used filters here.


Default channel groupings in GA4 provide a systematic way to categorize and analyze your traffic sources. While you cannot edit these definitions or create custom channel groups in GA4, understanding how these groupings work can help you make the most of your GA4 data. For more advanced and customizable grouping, Google Analytics' custom channel grouping feature can be utilized.