Understanding Google Analytics 4 Exploration Reports


Your Explore your Google Analytics data in new and beautiful ways

The “Explore” section is one of the most important spots in all of Google Analytics 4. With your exploration reports, you can dive into deep analysis and understand your user behavior at the most intimate level.

So how do you use exploration reports in GA4? You can access them under “Explore” in the left-hand menu. From there, you can create a custom analysis or choose from the templates to dive into data that goes beyond your standard reports.

Today, we’re going to walk you through an overview of your GA4 explore section. Here, you’ll find the most in-depth reporting in GA4 and there is a lot you can do, so come with us to learn all about this valuable area.

What are Exploration Reports?

Your exploration reports let you go beyond the standard reports available in Google Analytics 4. You can create your own custom analyses to uncover intimate details about your website and mobile app performance.

Using exploration reports, you can uncover ad hoc insights with templates or create a custom analysis. In the explore section, you have a centralized place for all your analyses and you can produce visuals to dive into your data in detail.

You can customize your analyses even further with filters and segments to make sure you’re seeing exactly what you need. If you’re a service provider or need to show your user behavior and site/mobile app performance to stakeholders, the explore section is where you can create these visuals.

Your exploration reports help you customize your GA4 property, so you’re going to want to spend a lot of time here making sure to set things up the way you want so you can get the most out of Analytics.

How Do I Access Exploration Reports?

You can access your exploration reports from the left-hand menu when you’re logged into your Google Analytics 4 property. Just follow these steps:

  1. On the left, click “Explore.”
  2. You’ll see your exploration reports open on the right.

You’ll see a variety of templates open on your right and a list of your available analyses below them. We’ll explore building your own analysis in the next section.

How to Read and Customize

There are many templates available in the explore section and you can do a lot here. Today, we’ll go over the basics of using your exploration templates but remember that the sky’s the limit. You’ll want to spend time with your exploration reports, so make sure you budget time to get comfortable and see what you can discover.

When you open your explore section, you’ll see some available templates and the option to create a custom one. Additionally, all the analyses you’ve already created are listed at the bottom of your explore section. You can click on them to interact and modify.

There are quite a few templates you can choose from. To see all the available templates, click “Template Gallery” on the right.

Once inside the template gallery, you’ll see all your options laid out.

To give you an idea of how to use the exploration reports, let’s create a new analysis using the blank template. You’ll see the same interface in each of the template options, so walking through a blank analysis will give you a great idea of how to get started using these templates.

Now, let’s walk through creating a blank exploration step-by-step:

1. Click “Blank” in your template gallery. You’ll see three tabs open up labeled “Variables,” “Tab settings,” and finally a tab where you’ll see your results once configured.

The last tab is where you’ll receive your visual report. Note that you can also add up to ten tabs for each exploration by clicking the “+” sign at the top right, and all of those will be included in the same analysis.

2. First, you’ll need to configure your “Variables” tab. Let’s break this down by the different clickable elements:

  • Name: Give your exploration a descriptive name that you won’t confuse with others.
  • Date range: Next choose the date range you want to analyze. You can select a custom range or one of the options on the left. You can also toggle the switch labeled “Compare” to compare two date ranges. Click “Apply” when you’re ready.

  • Segments: Using the segments section, you can decide what users you want to include in your analysis. You can select from the menu of pre-set segments, or you can create your own by clicking the “+” sign.

To apply a segment from the available list, just click on the three dots to the right of the segment name and then click “Apply.” You’ll then see it added to your “Tab settings” on the right. You can also drag-and-drop a segment. If you want to add a custom segment, click the “+” sign. When you do this, you’ll see a new menu come up with your segment options:

For our example, let’s create a custom segment looking at our younger users. Here, click on the “User segment” option. Then click “Add a new condition.”

Select “Age” under “User scoped.”

Leave the next option set to “is one of” and then select your age range from the next drop-down menu. Here, we’ll choose “18-24.”

You can then click the “At any point” box to see all users in this category or click the “Or” or “And” button to add another condition to further customize this user segment. You’ll see your data appear on the right once you finish this condition.

You can then add another condition group, add a sequence, or add a group to exclude below.

When you’re finished customizing your segment, click the blue “Save and Apply” button in the top right.

  • Dimensions: Next, you can select your desired dimensions, which allow you to categorize your data. Here, you have a list of dimensions you can add to your “Tab settings.”

If you want to remove one, click the “X” next to the dimension name. If you want to add another one, click the “+” sign. You can search for a dimension with the search bar or click on the category for your options.

  • Metrics: Your metrics give you the figures for your analysis. Again, just like dimensions, you have a list of metrics already available. You can click the “X” to get rid of them or click the “+” sign to add another one. Just click “Apply” after you add a new metric.

3. The next step is to configure your “Tab settings” which affects how your analysis will be laid out. Just like “Variables,” you have several options here. Let’s walk through these as well.

  • Technique: First, you have your technique option. You’ll notice that your options here match the templates you have to choose from when first setting up an analysis. Let’s discuss what each technique means, as this is very important to your custom exploration and to understand the available templates.
    • Exploration: Exploration lays out your data based on your variables. What you see automatically when building a custom analysis is an exploration.
    • Cohort Analysis: This analysis lets you visualize users who share common attributes, like date of acquisition.
    • Funnel Analysis: This provides a visualization of the path users follow on your site or mobile app. For example, you might want to see how users are behaving when they move through making a purchase on your site. A funnel analysis lets you see where you’re losing visitors in the funnel and helps you determine the issue in getting to your desired goal.
    • Segment Overlap: Here, you’ll see a Venn diagram that shows how different segments relate to one another. For example, you could look at a comparison between users of different ages or genders.
    • Path Analysis: Path analysis shows your users’ journey through your app or website. You can see how users move throughout your site, allowing you to identify weak areas.
    • User Explorer: Here, you can view and analyze a specific user group and dive into data about them in detail. You can view information about each individual user with this technique.
    • User Lifetime: With this technique, you can view user behavior over their lifetime on your site and apps. Here, you can identify the campaigns that helped to secure users with a long and active lifetime.
  • Visualization: This will change depending on the technique you selected above. Simply hover over each one to see a description pop-up.

  • Segment comparisons: Here, any segments you selected in the “Visualizations” tab are already applied, but you can also drag-and-drop new ones from that tab at any time.
  • Pivot: This allows you to organize your analysis according to rows or columns.
  • Rows: Here, you can drag and drop the dimensions you set up in your “Variables” tab. You can configure these rows by selecting from the options below.
  • Columns: Just like rows, you can drag-and-drop dimensions from the “Variables” tab here and configure them below.
  • Values: Here, you can drag-and-drop metrics you configured in the “Variables” tab. Again, you can adjust how you view this below.
  • Filters: Finally you can apply a filter to your analysis data by dragging a metric or dimension here.

4. The last step in creating your exploration is your final tab. This tab shows your completed report, but there are a few things you can click on as well to modify your analysis.

First, you can undo or redo your last action with the buttons up at the top right.

Additionally, you can download your analysis here by clicking the download button up top. There are several options available.

There is also a share button up top, so you can share your exploration with your clients or coworkers.

And that’s all there is to it! Creating a custom exploration in GA4 might be a bit time-consuming, but the rewards are more than worth it. Once you have your analyses set up, they will help you in all the other areas of your GA4 property.

How is GA4 Different and What Are The Benefits?

The exploration templates are brand new to GA4, but they’ll feel familiar in some ways. Primarily, you’ll notice the templates available in your exploration templates gallery are the same as the specialty reports you had in Universal Analytics. You’re likely already familiar with the benefits of the path, funnel, and cohort exploration templates, but let’s discuss the benefits of having everything together in the explore section.

First, you might’ve noticed that in Universal Analytics, your ad hoc reports are a bit cumbersome and hard to read. In GA4, this has all been streamlined. Having all your ad hoc reporting in one place makes finding what you need much easier and more intuitive. This is particularly important if you’re accessing your GA4 account from devices other than your computer, such as your smartphone.

Additionally, the biggest benefit of the GA4 exploration reports is that they create visualizations for your data. This is huge because you can see how your users are interacting with your website and mobile apps and follow their activity with ease.

You can also share your exploration reports with ease. If you’re a service provider, your ad hoc analyses are critical for showing clients their performance in detail based on what they want to see.

You can also combine dimensions and metrics in your exploration reports to create customized reports and dive into your data in great detail. You can also easily configure complex analyses and switch between different ones in a snap.

Using Exploration Reports in Google Analytics 4

The explore section in Google Analytics 4 is undoubtedly one of the most important areas in the entire platform. Here you can create custom analyses or select from one of the provided templates.

Using your exploration templates, you can generate a detailed visualization of user behavior and website and mobile app performance. This area is also key to creating visuals you can share with colleagues, investors, or clients.

How are you enjoying diving into your GA4 data with exploration reports? Let us know!

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