Creating Custom Channel Groups in Google Analytics 4

Published: 24 March 2023

Updated: 29 January 2024

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Victoria is a digital analyst @Viden, specializing in Google Analytics, Looker Studio and more, specializing in Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager (360), Looker Studio, etc. She has experience in delivering actionable data, helping brands understand their strengths and opportunities, and gain insight into their customers and target audience.
Creating Custom Channel Groups in Google Analytics 4

In the past, analysts couldn’t work closely with Channel Groups in Google Analytics 4, as it was in Google Analytics Universal. And they couldn’t create their own channel groups either. Fortunately, with changes from March 14th in Google Analytics 4, you can use both channel groups in the analysis: default and custom. To create a channel group, you can do it either from scratch or by using Google’s default channel group as a starting point.

In this article, we will provide a detailed guide on how to interact with custom channel groups and discover the limits and advantages of using them. Let’s dive in!

Note: Full roll-out is still underway, so if you don’t see custom channel groups on your GA4 property, don’t worry. You’ll see them within a few weeks.

Table of Contents:

  1. Why is This GA4 Update Important, and Where to Find It?
  2. Where Can You Use Custom Channel Grouping (CCG) in GA4?
  3. Limitations
  4. How to Work with a Custom Channel Group in GA4?

Why is This GA4 Update Important, and Where to Find It?

What concerns channel groups, there’re four of them: default, custom, default MCF, and custom MCF. Default channel group first appeared in Google Analytics Universal and then was expanded in GA4. By the way, certain definitions and rules have changed, so knowing about them will help you analyze your data better.

According to Google, a channel group is ‘a set of channels, which are rule-based categories of your website’s traffic sources.’ Overall, the channel group lets analysts understand what channels are performing better in bringing in traffic and conversions. This is important to optimize those channels. So, in the reports, you can see your data organized according to default channel groups like paid, organic search, direct, etc.

Session default channel group GA4

Previously, there was no way to add your own channel groups. Currently, it’s possible to edit the names of channels to fit your company preferences, adjust the criteria for any channel, and add or remove channels to enable broader or more specific views of your channel data.

What is available now in GA4 for channel groups?

  • Creating new channel groups
  • Changing groups
  • Changing channels in a group
  • Adding new channels to a group
  • Removing channels
  • Reordering channels
  • Removing groups
    • Note: Currently, we can’t change Default channel groups in GA4.

      To open channel groups, you should follow the next steps:

  1. On the left, click Admin
  2. In the Property column, click Data Settings > Channel Groups
  3. Channel groups GA4

Where Сan You Use Custom Channel Grouping (CCG) in GA4?

To see deeper and more diverse data in the reports, you can use custom channel groups:

  1. In any of the reports that already support default channel groups as a primary dimension (e.g., the Acquisition reports)
  2. Acquisition report GA4

  3. Custom channel groups can be used as primary or secondary dimensions
  4. They are also available as dimensions in custom reports, explorations, and conditions for audiences

Limitations

While creating custom channel groups, try not to exceed the limits set by Google:

Standard properties360 Properties (includes sub and rollup properties)
Groups25
Channels within each group2525

How to Work with a Custom Channel Group in GA4?

Now that you know the advantages of channel groups, limits, and the reports where you can use them, it’s time to create your first custom channel group.

Note: Currently, you can create a channel group by copying an existing group and making modifications.

You should follow two ways:

Two ways to create channel groups in GA4

Here’re the steps:

  1. Open Channel Groups
  2. Click Create new channel group to start with a copy of the default group
  3. Create new channel group in GA4

    OR

    In the row for an existing group, click More > Copy to create new

    Copy to create new custom channel group

  4. Enter a new group name and, optionally, a new description
  5. Channel groups GA4

  6. Edit existing channels / add new channels / remove existing channels
    1. Edit existing channels
      • In the row for the channel, click >, then edit the channel name, description, and condition
      • Click Save channel
    2. Edit existing channels GA4

    3. Add a new channel to a group
      • Click Add new channel or click More > Copy to create new
      • Copy to create a new channel group in GA4

      • Name the new channel or change the name of the copied channel.
      • New channel:

        Click Add condition group; select the dimensions and dimension values to define the channel.

        Adding condition group GA4

        Copied channel:

        Modify the existing condition and, optionally, add new conditions to define your new channel.

        Copied channel GA4

      • Click Save channel
    4. Remove a channel from a group
      • In the row for an existing group, click >
      • In the row for the channel, click More > Remove channel
      • Сlick Save group if all necessary changes were done

    Remove channel in GA4

  7. Click Reorder and drag to reorder the list if you need to change the order of channels; click Apply
  8. Reorder tab GA4

  9. When you have all the channel definitions you need, and they’re in the right order, click Save group

Save group GA4

The last interaction with CCG is to Remove a group:

  • In the row for an existing group, click More > Delete
  • Click Yes, Delete

Remove a group in GA4

Congratulations! You’ve mastered creating custom channel groups in Google Analytics 4!

This in-depth understanding will prove invaluable as you gain better insights into your audience and traffic sources. Nonetheless, if you need additional support or guidance, never hesitate to contact our team of experts. We are always readily available and eager to provide the necessary assistance, ensuring you can continually excel in your analytics capabilities and make data-driven decisions to improve your online presence.

Configure Custom Channel Groups in GA4

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