A Guide to Setting Up Explorations in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a powerful analytics platform that provides marketers with valuable data and metrics to optimise their online strategies. One of the key features of GA4 is the ability to set up explorations, which allow for in-depth analysis and testing. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide to setting up explorations in GA4, helping you unlock valuable insights and drive better results for your online initiatives.

Understanding Explorations

Explorations in GA4 are experiments that enable marketers to compare different variations of their website or app data. With explorations, you can analyse user behaviour, engagement metrics, and conversion rates across different segments or configurations. This feature allows you to gain a deeper understanding of how changes impact user interactions and identify opportunities for optimisation.

Defining Your Objectives

Before setting up an exploration, it’s essential to define clear objectives. Determine the specific metrics or KPIs you want to analyse or improve. Whether it’s increasing click-through rates, reducing bounce rates, or optimising conversions, having well-defined objectives will guide your exploration setup and analysis.

Types of Explorations

Once you have determined your objectives, there are 6 types of explorations to choose from that allow you to explore your data in more detail.

Free Form Exploration

The free form exploration allows you to create and visualise custom data in a table or graph by dragging and dropping the metrics you’re interested in analysing into place. You can choose to display your data as a table, scatter graph, donut chart, bar chart, line chart or map.

Funnel Exploration

Funnel explorations enable you to visualise the steps users take to complete a task or conversion. This can be beneficial by helping you identify which steps users are leaving the funnel and what areas you can optimise to help lead to the completion of the task. With GA4, you can define up to 10 steps in your funnel such as first visit, session start, page view and purchases.

Path Exploration

Path explorations allow you to see how users use your website and/or app. Unlike funnel explorations that only show one predefined path, path explorations follow any number of undefined paths and you can define these paths using a starting point or an ending point.

Segment Overlap

Segment overlaps allow you to compare up to three user segments and visualise their relationship as a venn diagram. This enables you to analyse specific audiences and see how you optimise user experience for audiences that are underperforming.

User Lifetime

User lifetime exploration shows user behaviour and value as a customer over their lifetime on your site or app. This exploration will be particularly useful for e-commerce websites.

Cohort Exploration

Cohort explorations allow you to explore the behaviour of groups of users who share a common characteristic. For example, users who have signed up for your newsletter in the same week or users who have the same acquisition date. This exploration enables you to gain deeper, valuable insights into user behaviour and engagement.

Creating an Exploration

To set up an exploration in GA4, start by navigating to the “Analysis” section of your GA4 property. Click on “Exploration” and then “Create Exploration”.

Give your exploration a name that reflects its purpose and set the date range for the data you want to analyse. Select the metrics and dimensions you want to compare and define the control and experiment groups.

Analysing Results

Once your exploration is set up and running, GA4 will start collecting data for analysis. Monitor the progress and results of your exploration regularly to gain actionable insights. GA4 provides visualisations, such as line charts and tables, to help you compare and interpret data effectively. Pay attention to key performance indicators and statistical significance to identify meaningful patterns and trends.

Final Thoughts

Setting up explorations in GA4 is a powerful technique that allows marketers to gain actionable insights and make data-driven decisions. By understanding the fundamentals, defining clear objectives and analysing results, you can find valuable information about user behaviour, engagement, and conversions. With this knowledge, you can refine your online strategies, enhance user experiences, and achieve better results.


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