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  • Writer's pictureVikki Sicaras

Understanding GA4 data—a quick users guide (Part 2)

Second installment in a three-part series.


When monitoring the activities of your website visitors and app users, it’s important to determine what data you want to see, and how to find and interpret it. In the first part of our Google Analytics 4 (GA4) users guide, we provided an overview of key data points and reports in the free analytics platform. This second installment defines features and terms users should know.


GA4 glossary


Web traffic overview. A dashboard or report that provides a high-level summary of the key metrics and insights related to the traffic on your website. Its primary purpose is to give you a quick snapshot of your website’s performance, allowing you to understand how users are interacting with your site at a glance.

  • Sessions: The total number of visits to your website.

  • Users: The number of unique visits.

  • Pageviews: The total number of pages viewed.

  • Average Session Duration: The average time users spend on your website.

  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page.


These metrics offer a bird’s-eye view of your website’s popularity and user engagement. By tracking them over time, you can identify trends and assess the impact of changes or marketing efforts on your site’s performance.


Traffic Sources. One of the most important aspects of GA4 is its ability to break down your web traffic by sources. This information helps you understand where your visitors are coming from, enabling you to optimize your marketing strategies accordingly. GA4 categorizes traffic sources into three main categories:

  • Direct traffic: Visitors who directly type your website URL into their browsers or use bookmarks. These are your loyal users who know your brand well.

  • Organic Search: Users who find your site through search engines like Google and Bing. This data shows the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.

  • Referral Traffic: Visitors who land on your site from other websites, such as social media, partner sites or backlinks. It’s vital for identifying high-performing referral sources and partnerships.

  • Paid Traffic: This category covers visitors who arrive via paid advertising campaigns, such as Google Ads or social media ads. It’s essential for tracking the return on investment (ROI) of your paid marketing efforts.

  • Social Traffic: This source indicates visitors from social media platforms. Analyzing social traffic helps gauge the success of your social media marketing campaigns.


Understanding these traffic sources allows you to allocate your marketing budget effectively and prioritize efforts that yield the highest ROI. For instance, if organic search traffic is your primary source, you might want to invest in more search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. If paid traffic drives significant conversions, consider scaling up your advertising budget.


Behavioral Analysis. In addition to traffic sources, GA4 offers valuable behavioral analysis tools. You can dive deeper into user behavior by examining:

  • Landing Pages: Identify which pages users land on when they visit your website. This can help you optimize those pages for better engagement.

  • Exit Pages: Determine where users are leaving your site. High exit rates on certain pages may indicate issues that need to be addressed.

  • Conversion Tracking: Set up goals and track conversion events to measure specific actions users take on your site, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter or downloading content.


To learn more about web traffic data, how people found your site and how to download and share that data, see Part 3 of Understanding GA4 data—a quick users guide. Or contact AOE for assistance. We have team members experienced in GA4 who are happy to help!

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