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Ultimate Guide to GA4 Custom Dimensions: How to Add, Use, and Edit Custom Dimensions for Improved Analytics

Ultimate Guide to GA4 Custom Dimensions: How to Add, Use, and Edit Custom Dimensions for Improved Analytics

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has introduced some exciting new features and improvements, including the ability to use custom dimensions. This new feature enables web analysts to customize their analytics data by collecting information specific to their website or business. In this article, we will explore custom dimensions, the types of custom dimensions available in GA4, their advantages and limitations, how to use them, and their differences from Universal Analytics custom dimensions. We’ll also look at how to set up, edit, and delete custom dimensions in GA4 and some frequently asked questions about custom dimensions.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is a Custom Dimension?
  2. Advantages of Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics 4
  3. How to Use Custom Dimensions?
  4. Limitations of GA4 Custom Dimensions
  5. GA4 Custom Dimensions vs. Universal Analytics Custom Dimensions
  6. How to Set up GA4 Custom Dimensions?
  7. How to Edit GA4 Custom Dimensions?
  8. How to Delete GA4 Custom Dimensions?
  9. Frequently Asked Questions about Custom Dimensions
  10. Conclusion

What is a Custom Dimension?

A custom dimension is a way of collecting and analyzing data specific to your website or business. In other words, it’s a custom field you can add to your GA4 data to collect additional information not captured by the default dimensions and metrics. For instance, while GA4 provides basic data about pageviews, sessions, and users, custom dimensions allow you to collect data about your users’ demographics, interests, behavior, or even data related to your business processes.

Custom dimensions can be added to your GA4 data using the Measurement Protocol, Google Tag Manager, or any other integration method that is compatible with GA4.

What is a Custom Dimension?

There are two types of custom dimensions available in GA4:

    1. UserThis dimension captures information about the user, such as their age, gender, interests, or any other information that can be used to segment your audience. User dimensions are useful in analyzing the behavior and preferences of your website visitors.

User custom dimension

  1. EventEvent-scoped custom dimensions are used for tracking specific events on your website or app, such as page views, downloads, button clicks, etc. This type of dimension allows you to get more granular with your reporting and see how different events are performing on your site. For example, you could use an event-level custom dimension to track how many people click on certain buttons or links on your site.

    Event custom dimension

Advantages of Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics 4

Using custom dimensions in GA4 has several advantages, including:

  • CustomizationCustom dimensions allow you to collect data specific to your website or business, enabling you to create custom reports and dashboards tailored to your needs.
  • SegmentationWith custom dimensions, you can segment your audience based on specific criteria, such as demographics or behavior, which can help you target your marketing efforts more effectively.
  • AnalysisBesides, custom dimensions provide additional data that can be used to identify trends, patterns, or opportunities in your website’s performance.
  • ROIWith the help of custom dimensions, you can measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, track your sales funnel, and identify areas for improvement, which can help you maximize your ROI.

How to Use Custom Dimensions?

To use custom dimensions in GA4, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Define your custom dimensionFirst, you need to define the custom dimension you want to collect data for. This involves choosing the type of dimension (user, event), naming the dimension, and assigning a scope (user or hit).
  2. Implement the custom dimensionOnce you have defined your custom dimension, you must implement it on your website using the Measurement Protocol, Google Tag Manager, or any other integration method compatible with GA4.
  3. Analyze the dataAfter implementing your custom dimension, you can start analyzing the data in your GA4 reports.

    For example, you can view data for your early created custom dimension ‘customer_type’ in the “User – > Tech -> Tech details” report, which shows data for individual users.

     Tech details report GA4

    Or the “Event” report, which shows data for specific events. For example, you can add a ‘content_group’ custom dimension as a secondary dimension to the ‘Events’ report and see on which content group such listed events were fired.

    Event report GA4

    You can also create custom reports and dashboards that include your custom dimensions, allowing you to analyze the data in more detail.

How to Use Custom Dimensions?

To illustrate the use of custom dimensions, let’s look at some examples:

    1. User demographicsUsing custom dimensions to gather data on your users’ demographics and interests can make all the difference. By analyzing this information, you can truly understand your website visitors and cater to their unique preferences. This increases the chance of them purchasing your product or service and builds a deeper connection with your audience.
    2. Video viewsCustom dimensions can be used to track video views on your website, allowing you to identify which videos are most popular and optimize your video content to improve engagement.
    3. Form submissionsUsing custom dimensions, you can measure your forms’ effectiveness and identify potential pain points for your visitors. With custom dimensions, you can get the data you need to make informed decisions about your forms and improve your overall website experience.
    4. Product categoriesBy implementing custom dimensions to track product categories on your website, you can gain valuable insights into your products’ performance, which can help you identify trends and make necessary adjustments to your inventory. With this information at your fingertips, you’ll quickly and easily see which product categories drive the most sales and which might need extra attention.

 

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Limitations of GA4 Custom Dimensions

While custom dimensions provide a powerful tool for collecting and analyzing data in GA4, there’re some limitations to be aware of:

    1. Quota limitsGA4 has a limit of 50 custom dimensions per property, and you can only have up to 20 active custom dimensions at a time. This means you need to prioritize which custom dimensions you want to collect data for and regularly review and update your custom dimensions as needed.

Quota limits GA4

  1. Implementation complexityImplementing custom dimensions in GA4 can be more complex than in Universal Analytics, as it requires more configuration and integration with other tools, such as Google Tag Manager.
  2. Data accuracyCustom dimensions are only as accurate as the collected data, and there may be issues with data quality or completeness that can affect the accuracy of your reports.

GA4 Custom Dimensions vs. Universal Analytics Custom Dimensions

There’re several key differences between GA4 custom dimensions and Universal Analytics custom dimensions:

  • ScopeIn GA4, custom dimensions can have either a user or event scope, whereas in Universal Analytics, custom dimensions can have a user, session, product, or hit scope.
  • IntegrationGA4 requires more complex integration with other tools, such as Google Tag Manager, whereas Universal Analytics allows simpler integration methods.
  • Data modelingGA4 uses a new data modeling approach based on events and parameters, whereas Universal Analytics uses a more traditional data model based on hits and dimensions.
  • Data privacyGA4 provides enhanced data privacy features, such as the ability to use hashed email addresses and anonymize IP addresses, which can help you comply with privacy regulations, such as GDPR.
  • Different processes to create custom dimensionsIn Universal Analytics, creating custom dimensions consists of the following steps:
    1. Setting the name and scope of the custom dimension in the user interface
    2. Writing a code to send the values of the custom dimension to the reporting views

    In Google Analytics 4, creating a custom dimension involves the following steps:

    1. Sending an event parameter along with an event
    2. Registering the logged event parameter as a custom dimension in the user interface

How to Set up GA4 Custom Dimensions?

To set up a custom dimension in GA4, follow these steps:

    1. Navigate to your GA4 property and select “Custom definitions” from the “Admin” section

Custom dimensions

    1. Click on “Custom dimensions” and then click on “Create custom dimension

Create a custom dimension GA4

    1. Choose the scope of your custom dimension (user, event, item), and choose user property, event or item parameter accordingly.

Scope of custom dimension

    1. Give your custom dimension a name and description
    2. After that click “Save

Save new custom dimension

  1. Implement your custom dimension on your website using the Measurement Protocol or Google Tag Manager

 

How to Edit GA4 Custom Dimensions?

To edit a custom dimension in GA4, follow the steps below:

    1. Navigate to your GA4 property and select “Custom definitions” from the “Admin” section
    2. Click on “Custom dimensions” and then select the custom dimension you want to edit section

Edit custom dimensions

    1. Click on the three dots icon next to the custom dimension, and then select “Edit

Custom dimensions edit button

    1. Make the necessary changes (e.g., change the name or edit the description) to your custom dimension, then click “Save

Save custom dimension

 

How to Delete GA4 Custom Dimensions?

We’ve already mentioned that in GA4, you can create up to 25 user-scoped custom dimensions and up to 50 event-scoped dimensions per property. However, you can’t create new custom dimensions once you’ve reached your quota. In this case, you’ll need to delete the ones you no longer use.

To do that, follow these steps:

    1. Navigate to your GA4 property and select “Custom definitions” from the “Admin” section
    2. Click on the three dots icon next to the custom dimension you’d like to delete

Create custom dimension GA4

    1. Choose the “Archive” option

Archive option

    1. Click on the “Archive” button

Archive button

Note: Archiving a custom dimension is permanent and cannot be undone. Any relative data and reports using that custom dimension will not be stored / available to view anymore.

Frequently Asked Questions about Custom Dimensions

  1. Can I use the same custom dimension across multiple GA4 properties?Unfortunately, you can’t do that. Each custom dimension is specific to a single GA4 property.
  2. Can I change the scope of a custom dimension after it has been created?You can’t change the scope of a custom dimension after it has been created. You will need to create a new custom dimension with the desired scope.
  3. Can I use custom dimensions to track eCommerce data?Sure, you can use custom dimensions to track ecommerce data such as product categories, order IDs, and transaction IDs.

Conclusion

Custom dimensions in Google Analytics 4 provide a powerful tool for collecting and analyzing data about your website visitors. By using custom dimensions, you can gain insights into user demographics, track specific actions on your website, and analyze sales data. However, it’s important to be aware of the limitations of custom dimensions in GA4, such as quota limits and implementation complexity. It’s also important to choose the right custom dimensions for your business and regularly review and update them as needed.

If you need help setting up custom dimensions in GA4 or analyzing your data, contact our agency today. Our digital analytics services can help you get the most out of your GA4 data and make data-driven decisions for your business.

Start using custom dimensions to track your data like a pro

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