How To Make Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Feel More Like Home (UA) By Setting Up The Best Custom Reports Using The Library Feature.
Car dealers are complex marketing entities, as such they require highly customized reports to measure and analyze their outreach efforts so that they can optimize and continue to grow. Google Analytics 4 allows your dealership to customize a large range of standard reports. You can tailor everything from what kind of metrics are displayed on the dashboard to what sort of reports show up on your sidebar. One of the first things you will need to do after setting up your GA4 account and Events (see our articles on the initial setup and how to use GTM to send even more robust custom events to GA4) is to setup up your own custom reports.
In Google Analytics 4, there are 2 different reporting features that are each unique and highly useful. The “Reports” tab, which includes the Library where your standard & newly created custom reports will be housed; and the new “Explore” tab, which is a very complex and highly useful feature that we will be diving into in a future article. For now, we want to show you how to introduce a level of comfort in your new GA4 account by helping your dealership’s marketing team understand and create reporting mechanisms that feel more like your trusty old UA reports.
After logging into your GA4 account and clicking on the Reports section, you will see the Reports snapshot dashboard with all of the expandable “Collections” tabs on the left (essentially these are just folders containing various related reports). At the bottom, you will see a folder icon titled “Library”. Once you’ve clicked into the library, you will see several collections and standard ‘out of the box’ reports. This is where you will be able to customize everything from what reports are generated, to how they are organized, and how they display your data.
One of the first things we recommend doing before setting up your new reports is eliminating the ‘out of the box’ reports that offer little value. GA4 tracks a lot of things that just won’t be relevant to your dealership, so making sure that these items are eliminated from your reports will save you time and provide more real-estate for the analytics that DO matter to you. This is easily done by clicking the “Edit collection” button under the collection you want to make changes to. We would recommend removing reports like the “Ecommerce purchases”, “In-App Purchases” and “Publisher Ads” reports under Monetization, as these reports rarely (if ever) apply to retail car dealers.
When using and creating new reports in your library, you’ll notice that there are “Overview” reports and “Detail” reports. The detail reports are very similar to what you are already familiar with in Universal Analytics, whereas the overview reports allow you to create a birds-eye view of your various data sets.
When creating a new Overview Report, you can add whatever trackable report data that you want, these self-contained sections are referred to as “cards”. When selecting which Summary or Custom cards you’d like in your Overview report, you can choose from things like “real time” metrics to “conversions by campaign”, “views by page title”, “users by city” and much more. Once you’ve built your own perfect overview, simply title and save it.
There will be situations where you want more of a ground-level view of what’s going on with your site. One of the most popular and important UA reports in the retail automotive industry is the “Source/Medium” report. Many of us have spent as much of our careers looking at that report as anything else on UA. While GA4 doesn’t include this report as standard, it’s easy to recreate, and the best way to track your UTM codes and more granular channel sourcing.
Click on “create a new detail report” and select the user acquisition template. From there, all you need to do is select the first drop-down toggle (titled “First user default channel grouping” -about halfway down the report screen) and change that to “First user source / medium” from the dropdown list. Using “First user” source/medium as opposed to “Session” source/medium will allow you to understand which channel was originally responsible for bringing this user to you, whereas “Session” will just tell you what brought them to the site this time. If a customer clicked on a Facebook ad, looked around but left without converting, then later that day did a google search for your dealership and submitted a lead- you wouldn’t really want to categorize that conversion as Organic/Search.
Once you’ve made this change, it will update all three cards on the report to analyze source/medium data as opposed to the default channel groupings data. All you have to do now is click save, name and describe the report. Voila, your favorite report is back! We think you will find much more value tracking the lower level (and more specific) UTM code groupings in this way as opposed to just looking at high-level channel sourcing that comes standard in the user acquisition report.
Speaking of standard reports, you can also edit the premade reports by opening the report you’re interested in and clicking on the pencil icon in the top right corner of the screen. You can change what metrics and filters are applied to such reports, or change how they display data, etc. Personally, I do not like the “Scatter Chart” at all. Any time the scatter chart is used in a standard report, I grind my teeth, edit the report, and change it to either a Line Chart or a Bar Chart. If you spend enough time looking at your GA4 reporting tab, you will undoubtedly find things you want to change as well.
The key is to spend the time it takes to become an expert on your dealership’s analytics, and if you cannot do it yourself, to find a vendor partner like Autofusion who can stand watch over your store’s important marketing diagnostics. Keep an eye out for the next article in our GA4 series, in which we go over Google’s exciting new “Explorations” reporting feature.