Data sources

Google Analytics 4 traffic source dimensions inside Google Data Studio reports

After the addition of user properties, custom dimensions and custom metrics last month, Google Data Studio team has just rolled out today a new release including (user & session) traffic source dimensions from Google Analytics 4 through the Data Studio native connector.

Google Analytics 4 traffic source dimensions are now available inside Google Data Studio

2 scopes for GA4 traffic source dimensions: User and…session

We can now create sophisticated reports about traffic acquisition efforts and channels, using the specific data model offered by the new version of Google Analytics, split in 2 levels of scope:

  • User traffic source (first touch)
    Thanks to which source the user has discovered the first time your website, made his first landing
  • Session last click traffic source (every touch)
    Which traffic source initiates a landing, then a set of interactions on your website…yes a session…inside GA4
    Session concept is definitely less present in GA4 but it has not completely disappeared. It is still important for traffic acquisition, touches, related deduplication of users and attribution.

For all GA4 data sources, the new fields below have been added:

  • User traffic source dimensions
    • First session date (or first touch date, was already present)
    • User medium
    • User source
    • User campaign
    • User Google Ads ad network type
    • User Google Ads ad group ID
    • User Google Ads ad group name
  • Session traffic source dimensions
    • Session default channel grouping
    • Session medium
    • Session source
    • Session campaign
    • Session Google Ads ad group ID

Post edit of the 25 March 2021

  • 25 March 2021 release: Addition of event-scoped dimensions for conversions*
    • Campaign ID
    • Campaign
    • Google Ads account name
    • Google Ads ad group ID
    • Google Ads ad group name
    • Google Ads ad network type
    • Medium
    • Source
    • Traffic origin

* Traffic source dimensions scoped on conversion events are promising but it is also too soon to use it for the moment. The main feature that will explain their existence is not yet available. So, set it aside & be careful to not use it instead of traffic source dimension on session scopes. Not confuse them with common traffic source dimensions from Google Analytics Universal, they get the same names but not the same definition.

Comparing to fields available through the GA4 data API used by the native Data Studio connector, the following dimensions are missing for the moment, but will be added very soon:

  • User traffic source dimensions
    • User acquired campaign ID
    • User campaign creative ID
  • Session traffic source dimensions
    • Last click session traffic origin
    • Last click session campaign ID
    • Session Google Ads ad network type
    • Session Google Ads account name
    • Session Google Ads ad group name
    • Session Google Ads keyword text (matched kw)
    • Session Google Ads query (query kw)

Google Analytics 4 data source connection

Let’s discover these new traffic source fields inside Google Data Studio for GA4 data sources. If it is your first Google Analytics 4 data source, it is quite easy: Exactly the same way that configuring it for Google Analytics 3 (Universal).

In the video below – made for a previous article about GA4 custom dimensions addition – I created my GDS data source for GA4 data collected on my blog.

GA4 existing data source: Refresh of fields list

If your Google Analytics 4 data source already exists, you can just refresh fields to notice the addition of session and user traffic source dimensions. Welcome to medium, source and campaign dimensions, now in the playground!

Data source fields list

Now, if we browse our fields list, we can see that traffic source dimensions – like some Google Ads dimensions – are present for both scopes and available for reporting.

Data studio report with Google Analytics 4 traffic acquisition fields

Let’s use these new fields to create a report taking advantage of user traffic source dimensions (user first touch) Vs session traffic source dimensions (user last click touch) regarding the date of user first session.

This reporting is composed with the Data Studio elements below:

  • 2 “Channel grouping” calculated field for user and session traffic source dimensions, to align related rules inside my data source, using the common CASE statement method
  • Drop down list control using a calculated field comparing the date of traffic to the date of first touch, to filter users with previous days with session(s)
  • Blended data to join data from both scopes with channel grouping dimensions as keys
  • Table chart with blended data fields, and chart calculated field to ease the comparison of metrics attribution

Final thoughts about Google Analytics 4

  • Yes, with GA4, we benefit from a high level of data about multi-channel funnels through the main Data API. It is quite nice for purposes like making quick studies of opportunity about custom attribution models. Even more when it is applicable for all metrics and not just on GA goals and transactions like in the past
  • With this addition of traffic source dimensions today, combined to the custom dimensions and metrics released last month, you can definitely prepare your custom GA4 reporting inside Data Studio as you’ve already made for GA3.
    All GA experts advice to collect ASAP data for Google Analytics 4, in parallel of GA 3 (legacy, but almost current for data exploitation). It is time to do the same for GA4 data viz. One more step for progressive migration and easier new – piece by piece – opportunities detections!
    GDS can also help you to crawl GA4 data for quality insurance of your tracking and your configuration (ex: referral exclusion).
  • The change of Paradigm (🏆 2020 top 1 keyword about GA4 launching…😝) with GA4 will impact also data viz cooked with GA aggregated data. The reporting below is just a small example of what’s under the hood.

…Qui s’était occupé de vous pour la farandole de desserts ?