May 31, 2023

Custom channel groups in Google Analytics 4

GA4’s Custom Channel Groups are rule-based traffic categories based on site visit sources.

Grouping channels gives you a high-level overview of what marketing channels are driving revenue and lets analysts understand which channels are the best performers. This is important for the channel’s optimization.

Through the Traffic Acquisition report, you can see your data organized according to default channel groupings like organic search, refer, direct, paid, etc..

The difference with the Default Channel Groups is that now GA4 increases the flexibility of creating these groups according to the rules that are set.

Previously, there was no option to add your own channels. Now you can create new channel groups, change groups, change channels in a group, add new channels to a group, remove them, reordering, etc.. 

Custom channel groups also serve as dimensions in custom reports, explorations, and when building conditions for audiences. This versatility allows you to leverage custom channel groups across different analytics features, enhancing your ability to segment and analyze data in a way that aligns with your business needs.

This allows you to customize your channels to better fits company’s preferences.

Limitations of Custom Channel Groups

There are the following limitations in the GA4 Custom Channel Groups:

Standard Properties

360 Properties

Groups per property



Channel within each group



And yes, the Default Channels Groups are excluded from this count.

Creating a channel group helps categorize traffic-source data based on reporting needs. 

For example, a new channel group can be created to monitor social media exposure of a spring campaign for camping. 

Regional channels can also be created for localized content. 

These channel groups can be used in Acquisition > User acquisition and Acquisition > Traffic Acquisition reports to view data associated with each channel.

Each channel in the group appears as a separate row in the report with associated data like the number of new users, engagement rate, and conversions.

Additionally, custom channel groups may not cover all scenarios, especially if your website receives traffic from unconventional or emerging sources. It’s essential to regularly review and update your custom channel groups to accommodate changes in your traffic sources and ensure accurate data analysis.

Now you know why this update is important, so where to find it?

Admin -> Property -> Data Settings -> Channel Groups

Upper right, there’s a “Create new channel group” button where you need to fill in the group name and its description.

Where can you use Custom Channel Grouping in GA4?

To have more detailed and diverse reports you need to use custom channel groups

  • In any of the reports that already support default channel groups as a primary dimension (Traffic Acquisition).

  • Custom channel groups an be used as primary or secondary dimensions.

  • You can also use then in the custom reports, explorations, and conditions for audiences.

Custom channel groups in Google Analytics 4 empower business owners, webmasters, and web analysts to categorize and analyze website traffic sources in a way that aligns with their specific goals. By creating custom channel groups, you can gain deeper insights into the performance of your marketing efforts and make informed decisions to optimize your website’s success.

Remember to set up your custom channel groups early, utilize them across various reports and dimensions, and stay proactive in reviewing and updating them to adapt to evolving traffic sources. Maximize the power of custom channel groups and unlock valuable insights to drive your business forward.

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