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An Overview of Techniques in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

September 2022
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An Overview of Techniques

Techniques are the backbone of your report. They allow you to explore your data in different ways and visualize it in a way that best suites your needs. There are seven types of techniques: Free Form, Cohort, Funnel, Segment Overlap, Path, User Explorer, and User Lifetime. Each has its own uses and its own visualizations. For example, if you were wanting to see how many users complete the Quick Qualify Form and where the users who don’t drop off, you could use the Funnel technique. Meanwhile, if you switch to the Path technique, you could see where the users went after dropping off.

Free-Form Exploration

Free-Form is the most customizable technique, and is likely the one you will use the most. It has six different visualizations, giving you plenty of options to present your data in a way that makes it easily understood. These visualizations include Table, Donut Chart, Line Chart, Scatterplot, Bar Chart, and Geo Map.


The Table visualization is, without a doubt, the most basic way to present data, but it’s also one of the most reliable. It allows you to view your data in it’s purest form, which is not always easy to read, but is sometimes all that you need. A great example of when you would use a table chart is if you wanted to see a breakdown of the most popular devices used in each city.

Donut Chart

This visualization gives you an easy-to-understand chart that shows how large a proportion of your data is. This would likely be the best visualization to see what percentage of users come from each state, or even what the most popular user sources are.

Line Chart

The Line Chart visualization shows information that changes over time. You could use it to see how many total users you’ve have each day over the last month.


A Scatterplot chart shows the relationship between two metrics. A great time to use a scatterplot would be when you are wanting to see the total amount of Sessions vs the total amount of Engaged Sessions, per state.

Bar Chart

The Bar Chart is very similar to the Table Chart, except it is a more visual representation of the metrics. This visualization can be very helpful when a data set is too hard to grasp with a Table Chart alone.

Geo Map

The Geo Map is a great tool that allows you to see your metrics on an actual map. An example value to show on this visualization is Sessions, this would show you where the majority of your sessions take place.

Cohort Exploration

A cohort is a group of users who share a common characteristic that is identified in this report by an Analytics dimension. For example, all users with the same Acquisition Date belong to the same cohort. Cohort exploration allows you to explore the behavior of these groups over time on your app or site.

Funnel Exploration

Funnel explorations allow you to visualize the steps users take to complete tasks on your site or app, and see how many users follow a specific series of events. For example, you could make a Funnel with Open Quick Qualify, Continue Quick Qualify, and Complete Quick Qualify as your steps, allowing you to see how many users complete the form, as well as when they drop it.

Segment Overlap

Lets you compare up to 3 user segments to quickly see how those segments overlap and relate to each other. Also helps you isolate specific audiences based on complex conditions, helping you make new, specified segments.

Path Exploration

The Path Exploration visualizes the paths users take as they interact with your website and app. You can see where the branch off from a desired path, or what steps they took to get to a desired destination. This can help you optimize your website to cater to the users you want to convert.

User Exploration

The User Exploration technique lets you select specific groups of users, such as users who engaged with your property on both your app and website, and drill down on each individual user's activities. This could help you personalize your website, or target a certain group.

User Lifetime

The User Lifetime exploration allows you to see user behavior and value over their lifetime as a customer. It gives you unique insights such as how long it takes for a user to convert, the average amount of engagement users have when they come from a certain source, or which active campaigns are generating the most conversions.

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