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Traffic attribution in GA4

Traffic attribution in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) refers to the process of determining which marketing channels and touchpoints are responsible for driving traffic and conversions on your website. Attribution is important because it helps you understand which marketing campaigns and channels are most effective in driving business outcomes, and it can help you optimize your marketing strategy to maximize your return on investment (ROI).

UTM - Parameters

Setting up UTM parameters for a campaign is crucial because it allows you to track and analyze the effectiveness of your campaign. UTM parameters are tags that you add to your campaign's URL, which help you identify and segment the traffic that comes from different sources, such as email campaigns, social media, or paid ads.
By using UTM parameters, you can track which campaigns or channels are driving the most traffic to your website, which pages or products are getting the most clicks, and which campaigns are generating the most revenue or leads. This information can help you optimize your marketing campaigns and make data-driven decisions.
  1. 1.
    ga_source: This parameter identifies the source of the traffic, such as the name of the search engine, social network, or newsletter.
  2. 2.
    ga_medium: This parameter identifies the marketing medium, such as email, social, or cpc (cost-per-click) ads.
  3. 3.
    ga_campaign: This parameter identifies the specific campaign that the traffic is coming from, such as a product launch or a holiday sale.
  4. 4.
    ga_term: This parameter is used for paid search campaigns to identify the keywords that triggered the ad.
  5. 5.
    ga_content: This parameter is used to differentiate between different versions of the same ad or link, such as different image or text variations.

Default traffic channels

In Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the default traffic channels are different from the previous version of Google Analytics. Instead of the traditional acquisition channels, GA4 uses a new set of default traffic channels that are based on user behavior and the source of the traffic. Below is a list of the default channels available today.
Channel
Description
Affiliates
Affiliates is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via links on affiliate sites.
Audio
Audio is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via ads on audio platforms (e.g., podcast platforms).
Cross-network
Cross-network is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via ads that appear on a variety of networks (e.g., Search and Display).
Direct
Direct is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via a saved link or by entering your URL.
Display
Display is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via display ads, including ads on the Google Display Network.
Email
Email is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via links in email.
Mobile Push Notifications
Mobile Push Notifications is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via links in mobile-device messages when they're not actively using the app.
Organic Search
Organic Search is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via non-ad links in organic-search results.
Organic Shopping
Organic Shopping is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via non-ad links on shopping sites like Amazon or ebay.
Organic Social
Organic Social is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via non-ad links on social sites like Facebook or Twitter.
Organic Video
Organic Video is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via non-ad links on video sites like YouTube, TikTok, or Vimeo.
Paid Other
Paid Other is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via ads, but not through an ad identified as Search, Social, Shopping, or Video.
Paid Search
Paid Search is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via ads on search-engine sites like Bing, Baidu, or Google.
Paid Shopping
Paid Shopping is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via paid ads on shopping sites like Amazon or ebay or on individual retailer sites.
Paid Social
Paid Social is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via ads on social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Paid Video
Paid Video is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via ads on video sites like TikTok, Vimeo, and YouTube.
Referral
Referral is the channel by which users arrive at your site via non-ad links on other sites/apps (e.g., blogs, news sites).
SMS
SMS is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via links from text messages.
By default, GA4 will automatically categorize your website traffic into these channels based on the source and behavior of the users. However, you can also create your own custom channels to further segment and analyze your website traffic.
To setup/configure custom channels, perform the following steps.
  1. 1.
    Login in to your GA4 account and select the appropriate account and property
  2. 2.
    Navigate to admin-> data settings -> channel groups
  3. 3.
    Create a new channel group
  4. 4.
    Select the channels you would like to modify and apply the additional logic to be used
Exampel of adding logic to the channel "Paid Social"

Create custom report

Once you have set up your custom traffic channels in GA4, you can create custom reports to analyze and visualize the performance of those channels. Here's how you can create a custom report:
  1. 1.
    Navigate to the "Reports" section in GA4 and click on "Custom Reports."
  2. 2.
    Click on the "New Custom Report" button to create a new report.
  3. 3.
    Give your report a name and select the report type that you want to create, such as a table, bar chart, or line chart.
  4. 4.
    In the "Metric" section, choose the metrics that you want to track for your custom channel. For example, you can choose "Pageviews," "Sessions," "Bounce Rate," or any other metric that is relevant to your goals.
  5. 5.
    In the "Dimension" section, choose the custom dimension that you created for your custom channel. For example, if you created a custom dimension for "utm_campaign," choose that dimension to track the performance of your campaigns.
  6. 6.
    Add any additional dimensions or filters that you want to include in your report. For example, you can add a filter to only include traffic from a specific country or device type.
  7. 7.
    Click on "Save" to save your custom report.
Once you have created your custom report, you can view it in the "Custom Reports" section and use it to analyze the performance of your custom traffic channels. You can also add your custom report to your GA4 dashboard for quick and easy access.