Google Analytics

Enhancing User Experience with Custom Dimensions in GA4: Examples

Get Familiar with the Newest Features of Custom Dimensions in GA4

Although Google Analytics has long featured custom dimensions, the latest version of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) introduces some brand new changes. With some experimentation, you can easily get used to all of the new features.

When you run Google Analytics, it will automatically collect various data points about your users. These include their device information and their user IDs. It will also keep track of their activities on your site and apps.

There may be other data points that you want to collect, specifically for your apps and website. With custom dimensions, you can configure it to collect data that is relevant to your business, which Analytics will automatically track.

A custom dimension is defined as a type of attribute or characteristic that you want to track, for example, a product's price plan or a transaction ID.

In the settings section of Google Analytics, you can configure the types of metrics and custom dimensions that you want to use. Although the two are similar, one difference is that custom dimensions have an event scope, while metrics have a user scope.

You can set up 50 event-focused and 25 user-focused custom dimensions for each property in GA4 overall.

Benefits of Custom Dimensions 

One of the main advantages of custom dimensions is that they allow you to track and capture specific data points of your business. This is very useful for analyzing and improving your business.

A custom dimension can be created to track the preferences or interests of users on a website. This can be used to recommend content or provide other suggestions to the users. For instance, if a user has to fill out a form, a custom dimension can be used to collect this event.

One of the most important advantages of customized tracking is it allows you to create a detailed view of your users' activities and provide them with a more personalized and relevant experience. This type of tracking can also be used to analyze and improve the performance of your website.

Differences in Custom Dimensions Between UA and GA4

Quite a lot has changed between the UA era and today’s time of GA4, particularly with features like custom dimensions. Check out the main two differences you can expect to experience between the two.


With Universal Analytics, the four dimensions included product, session, user, and hit. On the other hand with GA4, the three types include event-scope, item-scope, and user-scope. Image Courtesy of Google Help

Although GA4 collects sessions, it mainly utilizes an event-based model for determining its custom dimensions. This means that collecting session-based dimensions may not be as meaningful as switching them to other types of dimensions, such as event, item, or user.

User-scoped custom dimensions 

User-scoped dimensions are data sets that allow you to collect information about a specific individual. This kind of data can be utilized to track the individual's geographical locations, membership levels, and subscriptions. The dimensions are computed using a property that enables you to monitor a user's behavior across different devices.

Event-scoped custom dimensions 

Event-scoped dimensions can be used to observe the activities occurring on a website or app. For example, they can help you keep an eye on the various types of transactions that individuals make on your site, as well as which content they prefer to consume.

Item-scoped custom dimensions

A dimension that is item-scoped can be used for certain events, like the purchase of goods. It can help you keep track of the occurrences related to a particular category or item so that your online shop looks more organized.

Reporting delays 

In Universal Analytics, custom metrics and dimensions were processed during the collection process, which provided them with immediate availability for reporting. On the other hand, in GA4, the processing of custom definitions takes place during the analysis phase, which delays their availability by 48 hours.

Consider Custom Dimensions Carefully

In GA4, there are two types of custom definitions: a custom dimension and a custom metric. Custom dimensions allow businesses to monitor the availability of certain qualitative attributes, while the custom metrics allow them to analyze and track the numerical data points that are not in the default parameters.

In order to maximize the potential of custom metrics and dimensions, it's important to implement the best practices in GA4.

First, it's important that you define your goals and the data that you want to track. This will allow you to identify the most relevant metrics and dimensions for your business.

When using a standard property in GA4, avoid creating custom metrics or dimensions that have high-cardinality values. Doing so can affect your reports and could cause data to aggregate under the "other" row.

Although it's possible to create up to 50 custom metrics and dimensions in GA4, it's important to limit the creation to those that are truly necessary. To minimize the number of custom metrics, you can use the recommended events in the event management system. Image Courtesy of Google Help

Most of the recommended events in GA4 come with properties that are automatically included in every report, such as the ones featured in the Explore section. By utilizing these properties, you can send business-related data without breaking the custom dimensions limit in GA4.

One of the most commonly used properties in the event management system is the "method" property, which can be used for various events, such as login and sign-up. You don't need to register this property in order to use it.

Creating and maintaining comprehensive documentation and a uniform naming convention for custom dimensions and metrics are two of the most important steps that you should take in order to improve the quality of your data. This sample documentation will help you accomplish these goals.

Setting Up GA4 Custom Dimensions  

What will you track?

Prior to utilizing GA4, it is essential that you have a clear understanding of your goals with regard to tracking. For example, if you wish to monitor the engagement of blog post readers, you can create predefined definitions and events. This can be useful in analyzing the behavior of users. Another method is to segment them based on their region.

Google Tag Manager (GTM)

In order to create custom dimensions in GA4, the second step is to use the GTM.

You must enable GTM to track link clicks in order to deploy these dimensions. To do so, navigate to the GTM and click on the three buttons labeled "New," "Just Links," and "Triggers." You'll be able to see the links that were clicked on your website.

The built-in variables in GA4 allow you to monitor various aspects of the click activity on links. To configure them, go to the "variables" section and click "Configure." In the built-in variable section, you can enable the features that allow GTM to collect data related to the link's URL and text.

To determine the unique attributes of links that appear in menus, you'll have to identify the variable that will be used to analyze the activity. In the preview mode for GTM, go to the website and click on a few menu links. You're going to see the variables that will determine the clicks' value. One of these is "Click Classes." This variable will be utilized to set the values for different link types.

After you've defined the variable that will determine the click activity on the menu links, you can set it to only fire on the actions that will lead to the specified data. Doing so will enable you to collect the required information. After you have created the trigger in the GTM, you can update the settings to allow you to only track the clicks on the menu links.

Create event tag

You can create an event tag in GA4 that will allow you to collect data and send it to Google Analytics. To do so, go to the GTM environment and click on the "Events" button.

In the event tag for GA4, enter the name of the event in a descriptive manner, such as "menu_click." This name will make it easier for the application to recognize later on. On the other hand, you can use the names "item_click" and "menu_click."

You can also add other event parameters to the event to collect more details about the event. For instance, you can track the names of the menu items that were clicked during the event.

Before you can start creating an event, you must first define the necessary parameters for it. You can then go to the GTM settings page and select the appropriate variable from the list.

After you're satisfied with the configuration, go back to GTM's settings page and click on the "Preview" button. You'll then be able to view the event's custom dimension and confirm that it's working.

Go ahead and save the custom dimension that you want to use in GA4. You can then start creating the required dimensions once everything is done.

Register custom dimension

To register a custom dimension, go to the "GA4" property and click on "custom definitions". You can then create a new custom dimension by entering the name of the event parameter you want to use and its description.

(not set) for GA4 Custom Dimension 

When a specific dimension is not present or there are insufficient details about it in Google Analytics, the default setting "(not set)" will be used. This means that the system has not gotten the required data.

GA4 typically returns the value "(not set)" for a custom dimension within the first 48 hours. If you encounter this value after that period, it means that you have not configured it correctly.

Ensure that the custom dimension is implemented correctly by checking that it passes the necessary parameters to GA4. Then, perform a comprehensive testing and debugging session to identify any issues related to the implementation. In addition to this, refer to the documentation of GA4 to address any issues related to this type of feature.

Google Looker Studio

Google Looker Studio can be used to enhance your reports and data analysis by utilizing GA4 custom dimensions.

Connect your GA4 data

To access and analyze your GA4 data in Looker Studio, you must first set up a connection to your property.

Build reports/dashboards

With the help of Looker Studio's intuitive interface, you can easily create custom reports and dashboards that feature GA4 custom dimensions. This will allow you to collect valuable data on your users' engagement and behavior. You can also explore and incorporate these into your dashboards and visualizations.

By including GA4 dimensions in your reports and dashboards, you can get valuable insight into your users' behavior and engagement. Image Courtesy of Google for Developers.

Custom fields 

Looker Studio allows you to create custom fields that are based on GA4 dimensions, so you can truly transform and manipulate the data in your reports.

Deleting/Editing Custom Dimensions

If you happen to find out that one of your custom dimensions in GA4 has an error, it's not the end of the world just yet! With the ability to delete or edit a custom dimension, you can easily make changes to ensure that the data collected is accurate.

Go to GA4, then Admin, then Custom definitions. Choose the right dimension/metric and click the three dots on the right. Select "edit" or "archive". 

Custom Dimensions are a Vital Feature Apart of GA4

GA4's custom dimensions can help you improve the accuracy of your company’s data and make more informed decisions. They can also help you manage your marketing efforts and improve the efficiency of your business, which will only lead to the best outcomes down the road. 

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