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Exploring Explorations in GA4

September 2022
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Explorations in GA4 give us a visual way to interact with our website data, and we’re going to cover three main features of Explorations:

  1. Variables
  2. Tab Settings
  3. Canvas

Variables in GA4 Explorations

Let’s start with Variables. This is the leftmost column which includes Segments, Dimensions, and Metrics.

A Segment is a subset of your Analytics data, similar to a filter. Segments are often used to have your exploration show only certain people, or users, that meet a certain criteria. For example, a segment could be users from a particular city, users who have been active recently, or people who use a certain device. Learn more about Segments here.

Below Segments are Dimensions. Dimensions are the things you want to analyze. For example, I can create a dimension for page title, event name, and city. Before you can use a dimension, you must import it into your exploration by pressing the + button next to it, searching and selecting the dimensions you wish to use, and then clicking import. You may then drag and drop the dimension into any appropriate field in Tab Settings.

Lastly, Metrics provide the numbers in your exploration. For example, to analyze the number of conversions on your website, you can add the ‘Conversions’ Metric. Just like dimensions, you must import the metrics you wish to use before being able to apply them to your exploration.

Tab Settings in GA4

The next big feature of Explorations is Tab Settings.

The first thing you will see in Tab Settings is Technique Selection. This is where you will select the technique used to convey the data, as well as various tools to go along with it. These are the backbone of your report and control how the data is displayed. There are seven types of techniques. Free Form, Cohort, Funnel, Segment Overlap, Path, User Explorer, and User Lifetime. Learn more about each of the techniques here.

Below techniques, you have Visualizations. Selecting a visualization changes the way that data is displayed. Not all techniques have visualizations, however the Free-Form technique has several and gives you the most flexibility with your data. This technique gives you the option to display your data using donut charts, line graphs, scatterplots, maps, and more.

You can also add items from the Variables panel to populate your Canvas and change the data. These items and the way they adjust the data change with each technique.

Using the Canvas in GA4

The 3rd big feature of Explorations is the Canvas.

This is the large area on the right side of your screen and where you can “paint pictures” with your data, or something to that effect. It displays data according to the technique, variables, and tab settings you’ve selected. The Canvas can also have multiple tabs, letting you use multiple techniques in a single exploration.

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