Learn GA4: Details of Data Exploration feature, Benefits and Use Cases

Hey There!

You must be well-aware of Google Analytics 4 by now, (well, in case you are not – check it out, what it is and why it is so important!). Get to learn GA4 in detail as it is the GenX of Google Analytics and, amazingly, the amount of data one can extract from it! So, why not learn GA4 while we have some time till its launch later in July 2023. 

Now, before we go into the details, understand that to learn GA4, you first have to unlearn everything else. Why? To start from fresh and to be well in sync. There are ample features that will benefit you to optimize your website performance and related activities. GA4 features are greatly different from Universal Analytics.

Still, a bit confused: Check out what makes GA4 different from Universal Analytics

Learn GA4 and explore its feature called Exploration. This feature will allow you to measure the data in ways that would be difficult or impossible without GA4. So, time to learn GA4 and its awaited Exploration feature!

Exploration reports enable us to perform custom and advanced analysis which gives us detailed insights into our websites and mobile applications. Since these powerful reports come with standard GA4, they are very good replacements when compared to standard Universal Analytics reports.

What is the Data Exploration Section in GA4?

GA4 comes up with advanced analytical reporting which helps to gain deeper insights into customer behavior. These insightful reports were earlier available with GA360 only, but now Google has made them available with standard GA4 as well. We can have a hands-on look at these reports under the ‘Exploration’ section in GA4. 

Exploration reports enable us to perform custom & advanced analysis that gives us detailed insights into our websites and mobile applications. Since these powerful reports come with standard GA4, they are a very good replacement when compared to standard Universal Analytics reports.

Learn GA4 Features – Types of Data Exploration Reports

These exploration reports, by default, include some of the advanced analytical techniques which are of utmost help to gain insights into customer behavior.

Below are the types of data exploration reports that Google offers:

  • Cohort Analysis
  • Funnel Exploration
  • User Exploration
  • Path Exploration
  • Segment Overlap
  • Free Form

Let us get a quick overview of some of these reports along the way, and learn GA4 a bit more! Let’s see how they can be helpful.

1. Cohort Analysis

A cohort is a group of users who share common characteristics. Cohort analysis helps group the users based on different characteristics such as acquisition date (first touchpoint), event performed on web/app, transaction done by users, any conversion, etc.

Cohort analysis assists in identifying how users having the same characteristics are behaving within a given timeframe. Further, it helps know how well a product retains the users and what can be done to improve the same.

Business Use Case:

  • The below cohort report shows the time taken by the users to purchase after their first visit to the website. Reading the report row-wise shows the percentage of users who returned and made a purchase. For example, out of 139 users who visited the website between 1st to 5th March(week 0), 3.6% of them came back and made a purchase.
  • Furthermore, as seen in the report, a relatively good number of users tend to come and make a purchase between the 1st to 3rd week. The purchase rate for Week-1 is the highest, Week-3 is second highest and Week-2 is third highest. After Week-3, the purchase rate seems to get low. Therefore, the remarketing efforts can be more focused between 1st to 3rd week to get the most conversions.
Cohort report showing the time taken by the users to make a purchase after their first visit

Cohort report – Time taken by the users to make a purchase after their first visit

Benefits:

  • Improve website/app engagement. 
  • Reduce customer churn
  • Improve conversion
  • Know how a new product/website feature is performing

2. Funnel Exploration

Learn GA4 – Funnel Exploration in detail. A series of steps that a user follows on the website to achieve a goal or conversion (for example, purchase activity, form submission, newsletter sign up, etc.) is known as a funnel.

The funnel report shows how the users are browsing through your website highlighting the most successful path leading to the end goal. Moreover, it helps to evaluate the steps where users are dropping off the most. So that adequate actions can be taken to increase the completion rate, eventually improving the Conversion Rate.

Business Use Case:

  • In the below report, we can see that 56.7% of users dropped at Step-2 (Billing & Shipping) and 47.3% of users dropped at Step-3 (Review). These two steps contribute more to user drop-off and affect the final purchase rate. Therefore, Step-2 and Step-3 should be optimized to lower the drop-off rate and improve the conversion rate of the website
GA4 Data Exploration: The bar in the funnel report represents the users on that particular step, while the red arrow represents the users who dropped off

Bar funnel representation

  • On the other hand, one can run remarketing campaigns on the users who dropped off at a certain step of the funnel to push them for making a purchase. You can simply right-click on the blue icon below the red arrow, right-click to select ‘Create segment from abandonments’ and you are all set with your remarketing audiences. These audiences get exported to a connected Google Ads account automatically.
GA4: Creating segments from any step of the funnel to use for Remarketing

Creating segments from any step of the funnel to use for Remarketing

Benefits:

  • Website optimization
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (e.g. Purchase, Signup, Lead generation)
  • Form field analysis and optimization
  • Remarketing audience generation

3. User Exploration

User explorer report enables us to drill down on the activity of an individual user or specific group of users who interacted with your app or website. 

Understanding a user activity with granularity helps gain insights into specific user behavior/flow or troubleshoot the issues that a user may be facing while browsing through the app or website. For example, if you want to understand the activities of the users who are high-value purchasers or users who were not able to make a purchase, this is the report for you.

All of these insights will help optimize the website/app and customize the user experience.

Business Use Case:

  • You have encountered data that the user engagement from a particular segment (for example, users from India & Ages 18-24) is quite low. Then as a next step, this segment can be applied to the user explorer report to check the activities of some users. You can then use the report to understand from which pages they are exiting the website. They may not be able to find the things relevant to pages or as expected. Based on this, you might need to change the structure, layout, or content of the pages.
Learn GA4 - The User explorer report shows the detailed activity of a user on the website.

Learn GA4 – User explorer report shows user’s detailed activity on the website

User explorer report showing aggregated data of each user from India with Ages 18 to 24.

User explorer report showing aggregated data of each user from India with Ages 18 to 24.

  • The behavior of top-spending or converting customers (e.g. customers with high transaction value) can be identified by their page visits, their content interactions, banner/promo clicks, any common browsing sequence or pattern, etc. These insights can be used for website optimization for mid-sized or non-converting visitors to match their website experience with top-spending customers to increase conversions and revenue

Benefits:

  • You can identify users eligible for upselling and cross-sell
  • Determine potential users for Remarketing
  • Identify behavior for a specific user-segment
  • Specialized Customer Service
  • Persona Identification of users

4. Path Exploration

Path exploration report enables tracking of user path on a website or app. It can be used to determine the sequence of pages that users have visited or events performed while browsing through the website. For example, one can check where users generally go after visiting the Home page or what the users do after performing a particular event like ‘log-in’ or ‘checkout’. 

On the whole, this path report could help a business understand the most preferred path for users. This will help to reach an end goal or the path where the exit rate is high to make any necessary changes to the website.

Business Use Case:

  • In the below report, you can see that users move to the ‘product page’ after reaching the ‘product listing page’ and then return to the ‘product listing page’. Perhaps users are looking for other products. Moreover, it is possible to find out the product page from where most users move back and forth and is stopping them from checking out. This means that you need to work on either the product listing page or product detail page to reduce exits from that step

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  • Find out what actions users take after getting on a particular page. Inspect if they move towards completing the goal or move somewhere else. If they do not move to complete the goal then we need to check the placement of certain CTA’s. Also, put relevant content so that it becomes easy for the users to perform the journey and reach the end goal
  • If a user is moving to a particular page multiple times in a sequence of reports then we need to check and rework the structure of the website
  • Analyze the paths taken by converting VS non-converting users. Further, identify which section of your website/app receives more conversions from your users. We can use those value-generating sections of the website in our remarketing landing pages. This will improve conversions or put them on some other section that is visible to users

Benefits:

  • Find top-performing paths
  • Identify pages throwing errors
  • Ensure correct website structure
  • Optimize the user experience
  • Identify the value-generating sections of the website

Conclusive Thoughts

We hope that you could learn GA4 in a bit better manner and get to know one more amazing feature – Data Exploration. GA4 provides useful analytical techniques through inbuilt reports. Also, a free hand to analyze the data specific to your business needs. 

The Explore section in Google Analytics 4 is a definite area to be explored. Here, you get the flexibility to create custom reports. These reports can be leveraged to have powerful insights and decision-making capabilities. Just make sure that you have an accurate implementation of important events in place. And you are all set to leverage this whole new fascinating world of Analytics. In any case, if you need any assistance in the initial setup period, you can always reach out to us.

Falak Singh Thakur

Falak

Customer Success Manager who loves researching different analytical techniques and how it can be leveraged for businesses. The curiosity of knowing anything in-depth is what defines me. Apart from this, I am an Automobile fanatic and spend my time around it.
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