How to set up Google Analytics 4 (GA4) reports that work for you

Ryan Carless, Lead Consultant at We Grow Startups,


Setting up reports in GA4 can help you fill in the gap in your data since switching from Universal Analytics (UA). Through editing default reports and creating custom reports you can track and visualise website data to your heart's content!

You’re not the only one missing Universal Analytics!

Universal Analytics reporting was great, once it was set up, you could start collecting data straight away, it was easy to navigate, and had most of the information you needed exactly where you expected it to be. GA4 however, is a little different.


Well, what are the real differences?

GA4 reporting is a lot more visual than Universal Analytics and has less data within their default reporting section. You’re probably thinking “where has this gone”? Well, the majority of what you can measure in UA can also be measured in GA4, they’re just under different tabs, or require additional setup.

For more complicated data reporting, this is where Google would prefer you to either set up custom reports in GA4, or to use their additional reporting software; Google Data Studio. There are a lot of great alternatives out there - we use Databox instead.

UA was made to record sessions and pageviews, whereas GA4 has been built to track events and other parameters for one user across multiple devices (think mobile app vs laptop).

How can I make GA4 reporting work for me?

There are 2 main sections of reporting in GA4:

  1. Default Reports
  2. Custom Reports

Default Reports

Default reports are visualisations of data that Google has already made for you. You’re able to edit these as you please by selecting the pencil in the top right corner and choosing your metrics, as well as selecting the various dropdowns within the report. You can also access GA4’s library to access all reports created by others in your organisation. There are still limitations with what you can display here.

Access default reports by clicking on “Reports” on the top left side of the screen.

Custom Reports

Custom reports are made for the more complicated or specific data that you might want to look at.

You can use the existing templates created by Google, or you can build everything yourself using the dimensions, metrics and visualisation types provided. This means you have a lot more control of what you can add in. It takes a bit of playing around to get used to the layout, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

You can access this via the “Explore” option in the main menu.

Some examples of custom reports that we use at WGS include:

  • Campaign by Channel Groupings - this allows you to see what campaigns are falling under what channel groupings (which also helps you avoid channel grouping confusion, as per our previous GA4 article here).
  • eCommerce funnels (also by item!)
  • Campaign performance by platform
  • B2B lead funnels and lag between stages

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you implement GA4 and reports properly, then get in touch. Or sign up to our newsletter here for more TLDR content.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you get the most out of GA4, get in touch with