Understanding Predictive Audiences in GA4

Published: 28 February 2023

Updated: 6 February 2024

Understanding Predictive Audiences in GA4

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google’s web analytics platform. It offers a range of features. And predictive audiences are one of the most interesting and powerful of them. Predictive audiences are a new type of suggested audience based on predictive metrics and are especially useful for remarketing and re-engagement campaigns. In this article, we’ll look at predictive audiences, how they work, and where they can be applied.

Table of Contents:

  1. What Are Predictive Audiences?
  2. Why Are Predictive Audiences Useful?
  3. How Do Predictive Audiences Work?
  4. Prerequisites for Predictive Audiences
  5. How to Create Predictive Audiences in GA4?
  6. Import GA4 Predictive Audiences into Google Ads
  7. Use Cases for Predictive Audiences
  8. Conclusion

What Are Predictive Audiences?

Predictive audiences in GA4 are segments of users who have similar behavior patterns but weren’t explicitly included in any existing audience segment you created earlier. Predictive audiences are based on data that Google has gathered from site visits and other interactions with your website. This data is used to create predictions about user behavior, which allows you to target visitors more effectively with marketing campaigns or product offerings.

Here’re a few examples of predictive audiences:

  • Likely first-time 7-day purchasers (users who will likely make their first purchase in the next seven days)
  • Likely 7-day churning users (active users who aren’t likely to visit your website in the next seven days)
  • Likely 7-day purchasers (users who will likely purchase in the next seven days)
  • Likely 7-day churning purchasers (purchasing users who aren’t likely to visit your site in the next seven days)

Why Are Predictive Audiences Useful?

Predictive audiences allow marketers and businesses to gain valuable insights into their customers’ behaviors and interests to tailor their marketing campaigns accordingly. By targeting relevant ads or product offerings based on user behavior, businesses can increase conversion rates and maximize sales potential from each visitor – something that was not possible before the introduction of predictive audiences in GA4.

How Do Predictive Audiences Work?

The process behind predictive audiences is quite simple but effective. When someone visits your website, Google Analytics 4 will collect their data and use it to generate a “predictive score” for that visitor. This score reflects how likely this visitor will convert into a paying customer or take other desired action on your website within the next 30 days. The higher the score, the more likely they will convert.

Based on these scores, GA4 will automatically create segments of users with similar scores and behaviors on your website — these are the predictive audiences. These segments can be used to target relevant ads or products to visitors whose behavior suggests they may be interested in those offerings. For example, suppose someone visits your site multiple times, looking at different products but never actually buying anything. In that case, they may be added to a segment where they receive targeted ads for those same products when returning to your site to convince them to purchase this time!

Prerequisites for Predictive Audiences

To benefit from predictive audiences, you need to meet a few prerequisites:

  1. First and foremost, you need to have a property set up in GA4 because the predictive audiences feature isn’t available in Universal Analytics; if you haven’t already done it, check our guide to a smooth upgrade to GA4 

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  2. Next, you need to have at least 1000 positive and negative examples of users who made a purchase or churns within seven days over the last 28 days
  3. Finally, you should sustain the model quality over a while (generally, 28 days) to be eligible for use

Note that you can use suggested predictive audiences that meet prediction-modeling prerequisites and are labeled as ‘ready to use.‘ Also, you can modify the template to your own needs with the help of the audience builder. If there’s insufficient data for predictive modeling, an audience will be marked as ‘not eligible to use.’

Suggested predictive audiences in GA4

Now let’s see how to create predictive audiences to understand it better.

How to Create Predictive Audiences in GA4?

Once your property is eligible for predictions, you can use suggested audience templates to create your own audiences. To do this, follow a few steps:

    1. Navigate to your GA4 property and select Configure

Configure tab in GA4 property

    1. Select Audiences; by default, there’re two types of audiences – All users and Purchasers

Audiences tab in GA$ property

    1. Click the New Audience button

New audience button in GA4 property

    1. Choose Predictive under Suggested audiences

Predictive suggested audience in GA4 property

    1. Select an option from available Audiences; the Predictive Audience option will be available to you if you’ve met the prerequisites

Suggested audiences option in GA4 property

    1. Next, you need to define the scope of your audience; to do this, click on the drop-down menu beside the user icon

Likely 7-day purchasers in GA4 property

    1. Select Condition from Condition ScopingCondition scoping in GA4 property

      Let’s dwell on these options in detail:

      • Across all sessions means adding all users to the audience if the condition is true for all the previous sessions
      • Within the same session means adding a user to the audience if the condition is true for a single session
      • The same event means adding a user to the audience if the condition is true for a particular event

As a rule, Across all sections is selected most of the time.

    1. Now define the Membership duration for the predictive audienceMembership duration in GA4 property

      The membership duration refers to the time the metrics are calculated for. You can specify that the metric condition can be true during any point in the user’s lifetime by selecting Set to maximum limit or that it must be true during a specific number of days.

    2. Click Save in the upper right corner, and your audience will be available to you in the audiences tab

Audience tab in GA4 property

Note that it’ll take 24-48 hours to reflect data in your newly created predictive audience.

  1. Optional: you can modify the conditions to your predictive audience; you can learn more about creating a custom audience in GA4 here

Further Reading: How to Preserve Google Analytics’ Historical Data?

Import GA4 Predictive Audiences into Google Ads

You can link your Google Ads account to your GA4 property and use audiences as targeting options for your ads. This requires to:

Activating Google Signals

To enable Google Signals, you should take the following steps:

    1. Go to the Admin Panel and select the property you want to enable Google Signals for; under the property, go to Settings > Data Collection

Data collection settings in GA4 property

    1. In the Enable signals data collection, select the Get started button

Enable Google signals data collection in GA4 property

    1. Click Continue on the next screen

Activate Google Signals in GA4 property

    1. Read the content on the next screen and click Activate

Confirm activating Google Signals in GA4

After you activate Google signals, the feature will be set to ON.

Linking Google Ads with Google Analytics 4

    1. Once Google Signals are activated, go to the GA4 Admin panel and select Google Ads Linking in the property column and click Link

Enable Google Ads linking in GA4

    1. Next, choose the Google Ads account you want to link to

Choosing the Google Ads account in GA4

    1. Click Confirm

Link Google Ads and GA4

    1. Lastly, choose which setting to configure for the linking; by default, there’re two settings:
        • Enable Personalized Advertising: it allows you to share your audiences and conversion events with Google Ads to use for targeting and conversion tracking
        • Enable Auto-Tagging: it enables your ads to run via Google Ads to be tagged with UTM parameters; note that if you enable auto-tagging when you link to a manager account, auto-tagging will be enabled on all Google Ads accounts directly linked to the manager account

      Enable auto-tagging dropdown menu

      Enable auto-tagging on selected Google Ads accounts

    2. Click Next, review the settings and select Submit to link your Google Analytics 4 account with Google Ads

Submit button in GA4

Consider that when you create a link between your Google Ads account and Google Analytics 4 property, you’ll automatically see Google Ads data in your GA4 reports. Similarly, you can use data from your GA4 property in Google Ads.


Use Cases for Predictive Audiences

Predictive audiences are actively used to understand consumer data and create effective strategies for engaging with potential customers. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular use cases for them:

    1. Predictive audience segmentation

One potential use case for predictive audiences is segmentation. With predictive audiences, you can create segments based on user profiles and intents. This allows you to target specific audiences with tailored messages that will resonate with them more effectively than a broad-based approach. For example, suppose you want to reach a specific audience that is likely to purchase your product or service. In that case, you can create a predictive audience segment based on those users’ past behaviors and intents.

    1. Similar audience targeting

This feature is a powerful tool to grow your organization’s reach by targeting new and qualified customers based on similarities to your existing audience. Moreover, in GA4, you can take advantage of new high-value audiences that can be used as a basis for lookalike modeling.
For example, with the help of predictive audiences, you can define an audience of the 20% of users who are more likely to purchase. Later you can run campaigns specifically targeted at net-new users who are similar to the people already most likely to buy from you. This is a more efficient way to scale your audience rather than buying more keywords or increasing your budget.

    1. Campaign optimization

Another way to leverage predictive audiences is through campaign optimization. By creating predictive audiences from user behavior data such as session duration, page views per session, repeat visits, etc., you can optimize your campaigns by targeting the right people with the right message. This ensures that your campaigns reach users who are more likely to convert and less likely to waste their budget on non-converting traffic.

    1. Retargeting audiences

With predictive audiences in GA4, retargeting strategies have become more effective than ever. Google uses advanced analytics and machine learning to identify patterns in website activity, predicting potential customers who are likely to make a purchase. You can further follow up with users from predictive audiences and target them with specialized marketing to make them complete the conversion funnel.

Also, predictive audiences can be used to identify people who have already interacted with your website, made a purchase, or are at risk of churning. Using suggested audiences in GA4, you can improve customer retention by retargeting users with specialized offers. By reminding users of your business value, you can prevent churn and create a loyal base of customers.

    1. Audience suppression

The predictive audience feature can also be used to suppress advertising to audiences with a high likelihood of converting. And since these users are more likely to convert, you can use suppressing ads for these predictive audiences to save media spend and invest in marketing to other audiences that might need additional encouragement. Therefore, you’ll make the most of your marketing investments.

Further Reading: How to Migrate Reports from UA to GA4?


Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has revolutionized web analytics by introducing powerful new features such as predictive audiences. Predictive audiences allow businesses to target specific types of users based on their behavior patterns to provide them with tailored ads or product offerings that match their interests – resulting in increased conversion rates and overall sales potential! With GA4’s help, businesses can now make informed decisions about how best to reach out to potential customers and turn them into loyal customers for life.

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