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  • Writer's pictureKelly Alica Liman

How to Use Comparisons in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

One of the basic things you need to know in Google Analytics 4 is the use of comparisons. When you're managing a large-scale digital marketing campaign, you might have plenty of questions, and using comparisons will save you lots of time in finding the information you need. For example, you might want to know whether the organic search is working better on mobile or desktop, or if paid search is performing better in country A or country B.


Comparisons are the easiest feature you can use when you need to quickly gauge the performance between two different dimensions. This step-by-step guide (with screenshots!) will help you quickly master how to use comparisons in Google Analytics 4, and show you some examples to make the most out of the feature. Before we jump in, do check out the video tutorial from XYZ Lab's Youtube Channel if you need some video guidance. Without further ado, let's get started!



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Step 1: Add Comparison


Scroll up in any GA4 report and select "Add comparison".



Step 2: Build Comparison


From the right-hand side, select the dimensions you want to compare.





Step 3️: Apply Comparison


Click "OK" and "Apply".



Step 4: Repeat the above steps for all the comparisons you would like to add



Now, let's take a look at some examples to see how you can use comparisons in various GA reports!


 


Example 1: Desktop vs. Mobile Performance in Traffic Acquisition Report

For the first example, we would like to compare desktop and mobile performance. Follow the steps above and build the first comparison with the dimension = device category and dimension values = desktop. As a result, two data sets will appear orange for All Users and blue for Desktop traffic.


Now, to build the second comparison for mobile traffic, we can simply close the All Users data by simply clicking the "X" symbol.


Then, build the second comparison with the dimension = device category and dimension values = mobile following the same steps above.



The traffic acquisition report now displays the data of both desktop and mobile traffic only, with every channel broken down into these two categories.





Example 2: Country / City Performance in Traffic Acquisition Report


For the second example, let's say we want to compare the channel performance between countries. Let's use Indonesia and Thailand for our comparison. Follow the steps above and build the first comparison with the dimension = country and dimension values = Indonesia.



By default, the All Users data will appear along with the first comparison. Again, we can remove the All Users data by clicking the "X" symbol.


Then, repeat the steps above and build the second comparison with the dimension = country and dimension values = Thailand.


The traffic acquisition report now displays the traffic data from Indonesia and Thailand only, and the channel performance is broken down into these two countries.





Example 3: Organic Search vs. Referral Performance in Pages and Screens Report


Comparisons can be used in any GA4 report, so let's try making a comparison in a different report. For this example, we will go to the Pages and Screens report. As a quick note, the difference between pages and screens is that the page is used for websites and the screen is used for mobile apps.


Let's say we want to find out which pages are receiving the most traffic from organic search, and which pages are receiving the most traffic from referrals. Now that you're familiar with the drill, let's immediately build the comparisons between the two channels. For the first comparison, we build dimension = session default channel group and dimension values = organic search. For the second comparison, we build dimension = session default channel group and dimension values = referral.




The pages and screens report now displays the data from organic search and referral only, and each page's performance is broken down by organic search and referral.





Example 4: Home Page vs. Store Page by Device Category in Tech Details Report


Let's finish up with the last example and go to the tech details report. Let's say we want to know whether we are getting more traffic from our home page or store page on various devices (i.e. mobile, desktop, tablet, smart tv). So, we will be using the page as the dimension this time.


First, we flip the table to show the device category.


Next, we build our comparisons. For the first comparison, we build dimension = page path and screen class and dimension values = / (the home page). For the second comparison, we build dimension = page path and screen class and dimension values = /store.html. Here, we are using different pages as the dimension for comparison.





The tech details report now displays the performance of the home and store pages in each device category.





 

As you can see from the examples, there are plenty of ways you can use comparisons to quickly take a look at various performances. Since you can use comparisons on every single report in GA4, it really just depends on what you want to achieve and what question you're trying to find answer to. All it takes is a little bit of navigating and you'll undoubtedly find the information you're looking for.




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