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  • Writer's pictureKelly Alica Liman

Traffic Acquisition vs User Acquisition Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Here's one question we hear very often: "What is the difference between Traffic Acquisition vs User Acquisition Report on Google Analytics 4?" Well, this short article will answer your question swiftly so you can utilize the most suitable report for you. In case you prefer to watch a video explanation instead, here's one you can check out from XYZ Lab's Youtube Channel!



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What is User Acquisition?



Let's navigate to the User Acquisition report and pay attention to the dimension you can select. If you notice, there is always the word "first user" in front of all the dimensions, such as "first user default channel group", "first user medium", "first user source", etc. The "first" word prefaces the dimension as the report includes only the channels by which users first arrived at a website.





So what this means is, for instance, if I were to visit a website through Google Search for the first time, then Google Analytics will record the visit under the "first user" dimensions in the User Acquisition report. The "first user source" will be Google and the "first user source/medium" will be Google/organic, and the "first user default channel group" will be Organic Search. To reiterate, the User Acquisition report includes only the first visits; the first time that somebody arrived at your website, how did they arrive, and through which channel did they arrive.





What is Traffic Acquisition?



The Traffic Acquisition report includes all the visits/sessions of your website. As per Google's definition, "Session Default Channel Group" means the channels by which users arrived at your site/app when they initiated new sessions.



What this means is, for instance, the first time I arrive at a website through organic search, both user acquisition and traffic acquisition will record this visit. But if I visited the website again multiple times, then these visits will be recorded only under traffic acquisition. The Traffic Acquisition report will record my first visit along with subsequent visits altogether.





What is the difference between User Acquisition and Traffic Acquisition?


In a nutshell, User Acquisition only records the first visit/session by a unique user, whereas Traffic Acquisition records all the visits/sessions by a unique user. Through the User Acquisition report, you can know the channels by which users first arrived at your website/app, whereas through the Traffic Acquisition Report, you can know the channels by which users arrived at your website/app when they initiated new sessions.





When to use User Acquisition or Traffic Acquisition Report?


If you are a website owner, typically website owners use the Traffic Acquisition report because a website can be visited multiple times by a unique user before any key action is taken. If you are a mobile app owner, typically mobile app owners use the User Acquisition report because, for a mobile app, it is more important to understand the first time that someone started using the app, how did they do so, and through which channel did they come from to start using the product or the app.

We prefer to use the Traffic Acquisition report which is a more traditional holistic report that we have available in Google Analytics 4.




 

We hope this article has clarified the difference between User Acquisition and Traffic Acquisition Report in Google Analytics 4, so you can go on to use the most suitable report to inform your digital marketing strategy!






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