(Google puts us to work declaring what we want to see in reporting)
This is the most important section of this post, and a topic I haven’t seen enough written about across the GA4 tutorials, so I’ll step up to the plate.
The default events tracked in GA4 are a welcomed addition, and automatically create a set of events we would want to know about our website.
By default, this feature is enabled during setup and automatically tracks the following events:
Page view (event name: page_view)
Scroll (event name: scroll)
Outbound link click (event name: click with the parameter outbound: true)
Site search (event name: view_search_results)
Video Engagement (events: video_start, video_progress, video_complete)
File Download (event name: file_download)
Form interactions (event name: form_start, form_submit)
GA4 Enhanced Measurement Events
The problem is GA4 stops short. So, if you want to see meaningful context and additional color around these engagements in your GA4 dashboard (we do), an extra step is necessary to unlock these in your reports. This is where custom definitions come into play.
Let’s take one of my favorite engagements to track, outbound link click. If our audience is leaving the website we’ve worked hard to build, where are they going?
If we visit the reports section of GA4 and select Life Cycle, Engagement, Events, we will see a nice overview of website interactions. Ok, cool so far, but how do I see what links people are clicking to leave my website? Attempting to add a secondary dimension (as one would in UA) we will see there isn’t an option to choose link_url.
To save yourself from harrowing scenarios such as this one, let’s head over to Admin, custom definitions and add the following curated list to level up our GA4 experience.
In the sidebar, select Admin in bottom left
In the right column, select Custom Definitions
Here is a curated playlist of the most valuable dimensions one requires for robust reporting in GA4. For the parameters outlined below, the scope will be the default selection Event. I recommend entering the same text in both, Dimension name + event parameter.
Example of Strong Set of Custom Dimensions You Need
Now this is looking fantastic and provides a great starter set of dimensions we’ve grown to love.
After 24-48 hours, you should begin to see the newly defined custom parameters populating as secondary dimensions across the reports and ready for you to discover compelling insights moving forward.