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  • Writer's pictureKelly Alica Liman

How to Create a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Channel Report in Looker Studio

If you're new to digital marketing and you're starting out campaigns on various channels, then you know how important it is to track performance across channels. For instance, you might find some channels are driving traffic to your website but not as many conversions, or the other way around where some "hidden gem" channels are not driving as much traffic but producing significant conversions. Having a clear channel report linked from Google Analytics 4 to Looker Studio will help you access all the significant insights you need to help optimize your campaigns across channels. In this article, we will show you a step-by-step guide to creating a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Channel Report in Looker Studio!


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Looking for help or support on Google Analytics 4?



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In case you prefer to watch a video tutorial instead, here's one you can follow from XYZ Lab's Youtube Channel!




Topics Covered:


 

Section 1: Starting a Blank Report


Step 1: Navigate to lookerstudio.google.com


Step 2: Select "Blank Report"



Step 3: Connect the Data Source


1. Select Google Analytics.


2. Select your Google Analytics account and property (GA4) and click "Add".



Step 4: Click on "Insert" to add elements to your report


Through this tab, you'll find all the elements that you can include in your report, such as tables, charts, scorecards, shapes, texts, images, and more.




Step 5: Customize your elements


In this example, we will insert a rectangle and text element first to create the header of the report and customize the style of the properties accordingly.



Step 6: Add more space to your report


1. Click on "Page" and select "Current Page Settings"




2. Click on "Style" and increase the Height





 

Section 2: Creating a Channel Performance Overview Report


In the first section here, we will begin with creating a top-level channel performance overview report.


Part 1: Inserting Scorecards for Customer Journey Metrics


Step 1: Insert a "Scorecard" element and duplicate it a few times


A scorecard showcases a single metric.



Step 2: Select the metrics relevant to your entire customer journey


Click on each element and set the metrics that showcase your entire customer journey. In this example, we are showcasing the Sessions (traffic), Page views (visibility), Event count (soft KPIs, i.e. add to carts, checkouts, visits on key pages, etc), and Conversion (hard KPIs, i.e. sale, form completion, etc). If you want the data to be more specific, you can apply filters on the event count and conversions and report on exactly the actions you want to see on the report.



Step 3: Apply a "Comparison date range"


Select the metrics and select a comparison date range from the dropdown: Previous period.



Step 4: Insert a "Date range control"




Step 5: Select the date range you'd like to view in the report



Now that you have set the date range, you will see some indicators that show the comparison of performance from the current date range to the previous period. For instance, if you're looking at a weekly report, it will compare the results to the previous week; if you're looking at a monthly report, it will compare the results to the previous month.




 

Part 2: Inserting Table for Top-Level Channel Performance

Step 1: Insert a "Table" element




Step 2: Select the Dimension "Session default channel grouping" and select the Metrics you'd like to showcase


The table will follow the same structure as the scorecards, so we will select the same metrics following the customer journey.



Step 3: Click on "Chart" and select "Table with Heatmap"



With the heatmap, we can quickly and easily see the concentration of each metric across the channels. So we can know which channels are performing and generating the most traffic, views, soft KPIs, and hard KPIs.



Step 4: Add a "Comparison date range" to the previous period




Step 5: Show the "Summary row" to see the aggregation of the metrics




The completed table shows the top-level performance of the channels that drive all the different metrics on your website. The table also features a Delta column that shows the performance of each channel in comparison to the previous period, and a summary row for the overall channel performance.




 

Part 3: Inserting Pie Chart for Channel Acquisition Overview


Step 1: Insert a "Pie chart" element




You can change the style from a Pie chart into a Donut chart by clicking on the "Chart" dropdown and selecting the relevant chart style.




Step 2: Change the Dimension to "Session default channel grouping" and the Metric to "Sessions"




Step 3: Duplicate the same chart 2 more times and change the Metrics of each chart into "Event count" (or soft KPI of your choice) and "Conversions" (or hard KPI of your choice)



The three pie charts will help you understand the contribution of the different channels to your bottom line. The first pie chart is relevant to where the traffic is coming from, the second pie chart is relevant to which channels are driving key actions, and the third pie chart is relevant to which channels are generating conversions. From here, you can understand which channels are driving traffic but not actually generating conversions, and which channels generate very little traffic but drive a lot of hard KPIs and business outcomes percentage-wise.




 

Section 3: Creating a Channel Performance Deep Dive Report


After creating the top-level performance report, we want to deep dive into every specific channel's performance.



Part 1: Customizing Existing Elements to Deep Dive Channel Performance


Step 1: Navigate to Page and click "Duplicate page"



Step 2: Click on Manage Pages and rename the first page as "Channel Performance Overview" and the second page as "Channel Performance Deep Dive"




Step 3: Change the Dimension of the existing table and charts to "Session source"




Step 4: Insert a "drop-down list"




Step 5: Change the control field from "Session source" to "Session default channel grouping"




 

Part 2: Inserting Column Chart for Trend Lines


Step 1: Insert a "Column chart" element




Step 2: Select the Dimension and Metric


In the first column chart, select "Month" as Dimension and "Sessions" as Metric. In the second and third column chart, select "Event count and Dimensions" as Metrics.



Step 3: Sort the month in an ascending order


The chart will be sorted in ascending order by month from January to December.




Step 4: Customize the report further through the "Style" tab


In this example, we have added 12 bars to represent 12 months, selected show data labels, and changed the color of the chart.




Step 5: Select the date range to see the trend lines


When you select the date range, the chart will display the trend lines of your website performance within the selected time range.




Step 6: Use the drop-down list to drill down on specific channels


Now, all the elements that are on our current report show the overall performance from all channels. In order to drill down on specific channels, we can use the drop-down list (deselector) at the top and select to view the performance of specific channels.




For example, we will select "Organic search" to narrow down the report only to organic search. This means that all the metrics on the report, such as the sessions, views, event counts, and conversions are all coming only from the organic traffic. You can also see on the table which search engines are driving organic traffic, the pie chart narrowed down only to organic search, and the trend line for this specific channel. You can select other channels to narrow down the report to another specific channel.





 

And that's the foundation of your Channel Performance report! Remember, this is still just the surface of your overall channel performance. There are so many more charts, dimensions, and metrics that you can explore and add to gather the most important data for you. Ultimately, it's up to you what kind of information you'd like to see on your report according to your company's goals and objectives, so just use this as a starting point and go ahead from there!






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