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GA4 Metrics Explained: User Behavior Cheat Sheet

GA4 Metrics Explained_ User Behavior Cheat Sheet

Google Analytics has been one of the top tools for marketers in the decade, and it became the most widely used web analytics service on the Internet as of 2019.

However, things are changing. In case you have not heard about it… Google Analytics, as we know it, officially retired on July 1, 2023.

In its place, Google is introducing Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

This means that you will have to migrate to GA4. What is more important, you will have to invest some time in understanding the differences between the old and the new Google Analytics.

One of the main aspects you need to understand are the GA4 metrics, and that is exactly what we will be talking about today.

Of course, GA4 features so many metrics that it is easy to get lost. That is why we will only be focusing on the ones that will provide valuable insights into the minds of its users.

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10 GA4 Metrics to Help You Understand User Behavior

GA4 Metrics to Help You Understand User Behavior

  1. Users
  2. Engagement Rate
  3. Average Engagement Rate
  4. Sessions
  6. Event Count
  7. Conversions
  8. Conversion Rate
  9. Total Revenue
  10. Lifetime Value

1. Users

Of course, the first stop on the GA4 metrics highway are the users. After all, you cannot run a successful business without customers, right?

The GA4 user metric helps you to understand your target audience by showing the total number of unique users that interacted with your website.

In practice, this metric allows you to know just how many customers are engaging with your website. Furthermore, through continuous tracking, you can interpret whether your content is achieving its goals or not.

For instance, if you notice that the number of new users is growing, that is a clear indication that you are doing a good job with your content, and giving customers what they want.

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2. Engagement Rate

Next up on our list is a new Google Analytics metric called engagement rate. It offers insights into how customers are interacting with your content.


Screenshot from User Acquisition report

A few factors are taken into account here:

  • The session lasted longer than 10 seconds.
  • The session led to 1 or more events.
  • The session led to 2 or more page views.

In simpler terms, the engagement rate metric is pretty similar to the Bounce Rate metric in the classic Google Universal Analytics.

The key difference is that it measures the true interactions with your web page, rather than just users that are leaving (exiting) your website.

Reviewing the engagement rate metric allows you to understand if users are finding what they are looking for on your website, and what you can do to optimize your content.

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3. Average Engagement Time

Do you want to know how much time users spend on your page on average? That is made simple with the GA4 average engagement time metric.


Screenshot from User Acquisition report

The average engagement time is calculated as the sum of user engagement durations per active user.

Keep in mind that a good engagement rate will vary depending on your business size, and on the industry, however, in general, it is over 63% for B2B, and over 71% for B2C sites.

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4. Sessions

The sessions metric is fundamental, as it shows the number of sessions that started on your website. What is a session, you ask? In practice, it is when a user opens your website.


Screenshot from Traffic Acquisition report

Compared to Universal Analytics, GA4 provides an enhanced experience regarding the sessions metric.

First, a new session is now not started when the same user enters your site from a different traffic source. Second, if the user continues browsing past midnight, it will not be counted as two sessions.

Apart from that, the sessions metric can be extremely helpful, in terms of defining how much traffic your website is getting, and how you can drive more traffic to it.

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Want to know more about the amount of times a certain webpage was viewed by users? Look no further than the views metric.


Screenshot from Traffic Acquisition report

This is not just some kind of vanity metric, quite the opposite. By analyzing the number of views a page gets, you can identify how your pages are performing, and how changes on a page are impacting its views.

For example, you might have done a full website redesign, and are now wondering how that is affecting your traffic. The views metric will display the number of views each of your pages is getting.

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6. Event Count

Some specific actions your users take on your site are more important than others. Naturally, you want more visitors to convert into customers, and you want to know the percentage of first time visitors, respectively.


Screenshot of Events report

Here comes the event count GA4 metric, which can track the number of times your visitors triggered a specific event.

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7. Conversions

Speaking of conversions, GA4 conversions is a direct way of measuring important business performance metrics.


Conversions in GA4

It is a great way to measure and optimize your return on investment (ROI), and to also determine the level of engagement your pages offers.

On its own, the overall user engagement can indicate a lot regarding the level of user friendliness of your site, effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, and the way your customers interact with your website.

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8. Conversion Rate

Without a doubt, this is a metric you want to keep track of.

This can help you to improve your marketing campaigns, and identify which channels are performing better than others. In GA4, there are two types of conversion rates:

  • User conversion rate. The percentage of converted users in a session.
  • Session conversion rate. The percentage of sessions where a conversion happened.

These metrics are especially useful to eCommerce stores, since they can help them identify the top performing traffic sources, or in other words, where most of their customers are coming from.

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9. Total Revenue

Making a profit always matters. One of the best ways to track this is through GA4. This metric sums up your total revenue from subscriptions, purchases, advertising, and so on.

This way, and, according to the goals you set for yourself beforehand, and analyze which aspects of your business you can improve.


Screenshot from Events report

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10. User Lifetime

Last, but not least on our list, it is the lifetime value GA4 metric. It provides information about your best users, based on lifetime performance.


You can combine the data from this metric with the data from acquisition sources, in order to establish the channels that are bringing you the most valuable customers.

From there, you can determine where to allocate your marketing budget, and get more high-end users.

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GA4 vs. Universal Analytics: What Has Changed?

Many of you are familiar with how the old universal analytics used to measure and track user behavior, along with the names of the metrics, and so on.

Now, there will be some initial uncertainty on what is where, how it is called, what was changed… etc.

What Is Still the Same?

The two platforms DO have a lot in common. In terms of data and reporting, they are especially similar.

In practice, everything that you measured in Universal Analytics, you can measure in GA4, and all the reporting options are still available.

Of course, just like Universal Analytics, GA4 is completely free to use. Another similarity is the user interface – if you used the old version of Google Analytics a lot, then you will find your way around GA4 fairly easy.

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GA4 New Features

GA4 New Features

Naturally, since GA4 is an entirely new platform, it hosts a number of different features that were not available in Universal Analytics.

Here’s a neat list of the main ones:

  1. Event tracking. One of the biggest differences between the old and the new Google Analytics is the way that data is measured. Before, user interactions were tracked through page views. Now, GA4 classifies each interaction as an event, which allows much more flexibility in terms of analyzing various interactions like clicks, video views, and more. It is important to note that these events are tracked independently of sessions, and you can turn them off, if you want to.
  2. Mobile app data. The new Google Analytics makes it so much easier to track mobile app data. To do this, you need to set a separate Property. Combine the mobile app data tracking with the traditional website analytics, and you get an all-in-one solution that provides an accurate and detailed picture of how users are interacting with your website.
  3. Cookieless tracking. The use of third-party cookies is slowly but surely going away. Google made sure that GA4 is as privacy sensitive as possible by using first-party cookies, combined with AI, to fill in the gaps, keeping the platform GDPR compliant.
  4. Machine learning. An exciting new feature of Google Analytics 4 is the incorporation of machine learning, which can make predictions about users’ future behavior. In particular, there are three such predictive metrics in GA4: purchase probability (the chance a user will make a purchase in the next seven days), churn rate (the chance a user will not be active in the next seven days), and predicted revenue (the amount of revenue a user will generate in the next twenty eight days).
  5. Easy integration with Google products. Unlike before, Google Analytics will now be extremely easy to integrate with other Google products, including Google Ads, Big Query, Google Merchant Center, etc.
  6. Dashboard customization. GA4 allows you total freedom, in terms of rearranging and customizing your dashboards. By clicking on the Customizable report button, users can now change the arrangement of data cards.
  7. Intuitive search. Universal Analytics used to provide the option of using the search bar, but that was nothing compared to the new, intuitive search feature of GA4. You can now actually type in entire questions into the search bar, and receive the most accurate results. For example, you can now type “How many visitors from the US did I have last month?”, or “How is my traffic from this week compared to last week?” and Google will return an answer directly to the search bar.

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Like it or not, Google Analytics 4 is here to stay. It’s better to welcome it now and learn how to use it to your advantage, than risk falling behind your competitors. Besides, it is a good tool. It can provide some great insights into the behavior of your users.

Using the knowledge from GA4 metrics, you can also make educated decisions on which channels provide the best value for your business, or how it reacts in terms of customer acquisition. It can even help you decide where to spend your marketing budget.

Of course, just like any other piece of data, it is ultimately up to you to decipher its hidden meaning, and decide what course of action to take.