Data sources

Google Analytics 4 user properties, custom dimensions & metrics inside Google Data Studio reports

Today, Google Data Studio new release includes the addition of user properties, custom dimensions & custom metrics fields for GA4 data sources

As a continuation of the official launching of Google Analytics 4 and the current development of GA4 data API, Google Data Studio proposes since October a native data source connector for the last version of the Google measurement software.

Because of the natural strong dependency between the development of the data API and the related Data Studio connector, fields are available progressively. One month ago, a fields set was added (including purchase revenue, transactions, audience fields…).

Google Data Studio release – rolled out today – includes now important fields for all measurement plans…custom dimensions and custom metrics! (formerly event parameters) And also user properties!

Google Analytics 4 user properties, custom dimensions & metrics are now available inside Google Data Studio

Before this release, the usage of the GA4 data source connector was quite limited and BigQuery export was a better way to address the GA4 first sandbox reports and dashboards inside Google Data Studio. Things change to flexibility and more choices.

A new phase for Google Analytics 4 is beginning through this Data Studio release, that should be reinforced in the next weeks and months with traffic acquisition fields. It is a new step for the choice between BigQuery and GA4 connector regarding our requirements and the related level of acceptance for aggregated data (comparing to raw data, prepared or queried). This is the solution for all users that just need a direct access to GA4 aggregated data. Most of users.

Of course, without traffic sources fields, we cannot for the moment create Data Studio reports for performance follow-up of traffic acquisition efforts. But all the other fields of analytics and digital performance are now unlocked (UX, engagements & micro conversions, lead generation, content reading, product marketing, marketing automation, user scoring…).

it is time to begin to play with event-oriented model, explainable data discrepancies comparing to Google Analytics Universal (legacy) and side-by-side reports with both sources…inside Google Data Studio…

It is time to play with GA4 event-oriented model inside Google Data Studio.

Google Analytics 4 data source connection

So now, let’s discover this new set of fields inside Google Data Studio for Google Analytics 4 data sources.

If you have not yet created your GA4 data source, it is quite easy and follows the same steps that Google Analytics Universal.

Let’s create a Google Analytics 4 data source. In the video below, I do it to get my GA4 data, collected for my blog.

GA4 existing data source: Refresh of fields list

if you’ve already begun to enjoy Google Analytics 4 data inside Data Studio, you can just refresh your data source to notice the addition of user properties, custom dimensions and custom metrics in the available fields list.

Data source fields list

Then, we see where are our new fields how they has been recognized and formatted by Google Data Studio. All user properties, custom dimensions and custom metrics are present and Google Analytics 4 fields types has been respected by Google Data Studio (here currency type for cost field).

In the example, I choose to get a user property valued with the user id and custom dimensions & metrics about Youtube videos data, user time, displayed responsive version…

Data studio report with Google Analytics 4 new fields

The video below shows a report cooked with some of the new plugged fields by the Data Studio data source, from our Google Analytics 4 property.

I’ve worked on 3 use cases using new available custom fields from GA4:

  1. Video section using custom dimensions and metric: Custom dimension (video visible or not) as filter, and bar chart displaying a combination of a custom dimension and custom metric (video name and related watch time)
  2. Scrolling section to estimate how the displayed responsive version can affect the scrolling to the end of the page: with a custom dimension (responsive version) directly applied to a table chart made with blended data (not including the responsive version field to test implicit filtering through original data source as it works in GA Universal). I also created calculated field to get the % of views with 90% scrolling. Collected data for scrolling is made thanks to the automatic enhanced measurement from GA4. Just a technical exercise, not convinced by the relevance of the metric…
  3. User id section to get some information 🕵🏻‍♂️ about the more engaged users on the website, identified by their user id – collected as a user property

These tests are conclusive for the moment 🙂 Now, I need to go deeper in the following weeks.

Voilà…Final thoughts

  • Now, it is your turn to use this opportunity to acquaint oneself with Google Analytics 4 inside Data Studio, progressively following the launched releases, like we made with GA4 since last year. GA4 Events and customs dimensions are really easier to understand and will probably cause less mismatches and inconsistent reports from users (you know…previously…scopes and bad crossing of fields…).
  • The simplification of Google Analytics data to event-oriented model is also full of benefits inside viz softwares like Google Data Studio, especially for filtering purposes. It should also bring benefits in the future for performance & data loading speed.
  • If you wish to know more about custom dimensions/metrics and user properties inside Google Analytics 4, how to implement it, and how related scopes operate comparing to the current version of Google Analytics, Julius Fedorovicius has published a very good and detailed article about this subject. A must read if you jump into GA4.

Pour le dessert, je vais prendre la farandole de patisseries…