Google Analytics 4 metrics guide for tracking client KPIs

GA4 metrics

With GA4's dimensions and new metrics, here's our guide to help you determine which ones should go in client reports so you can make sense of them. 



Understanding GA4


While grappling with Google Analytics 4 can feel like relearning a language you’ve become familiar with over the years; its core remains the same. GA4 remains a tool for answering your marketing questions by measuring everything happening on your website and mobile app.


That intent has not changed with GA4. Instead, it’s Google’s bid to keep GA relevant in a changing digital world. 


They’ve introduced new metrics, retired older ones that don’t fit this user behavior model and privacy controls. You’ll also enjoy simpler reporting with GA4’s new event-based attribution. 


For more details on what GA4 introduces, check out our GA4 reporting guide here.


Differences in metrics between GA4 and UA


Using GA4's event-based tracking model, you can track user activities across mobile apps, web apps, and sites, making data collection and analysis easier. That also means some of the Universal Analytics (UA) metrics you’re familiar with may have changed or been replaced with a new GA4 version. 


As you shift from UA to GA4, think about: 

  • What questions do you need to answer with GA4 data? 
  • What GA4 data will help you answer these questions? 


To help you, we’ve compiled a list of UA metrics and their comparative GA4 metrics. 


Key highlights include: 

  • GA4 removes some UA metrics like bounces, assisted conversion value, or first/last interaction conversions 
  • GA4 renames some UA metrics 
  • Google Analytics defines unique visitors as ‘users.’


What are metrics in GA4?

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Metrics for an e-commerce website. Get this e-commerce report with your own data! 


Metrics are numbers measuring different aspects of your website or marketing performance. For example: 

  • Conversion rate (percentage) 
  • Number of users with engaged sessions: (number) 
  • Total new sessions over the last three months(number)


What are KPIs in GA4? 


Metrics themselves are helpful, but trying to measure everything dilutes your focus and makes for unfocused reports. 


That’s where key performance indicators (KPIs) come in. When you tie metrics to a business goal, they become KPIs.


The key difference between KPIs and standard metrics is accountability and importance, says Google Analytics consultant Kyle Akerman.


If no one is responsible... If no one is held accountable... Then it is just a regular ole metric. Not a KPI - Kyle Akerman 


One or more of these business objectives will likely be important to your stakeholders:

  1. Leads: People newly aware of your product 
  2. Prospects: Leads that are a good fit as customers 
  3. Sales opportunities: People considering your solution in the final stages before purchasing
  4. Revenue: How much bottom-line revenue you’re creating for the business. 


Now let's discuss some GA4 metrics to associate with these business KPIs.


Top GA4 metrics and KPIs to track

Users (active, new, returning)

Users KPI


User metrics help measure traffic acquisition efforts if you're running top-of-funnel campaigns.

  • Blog posts around a specific topic to drive organic search engine traffic
  • Partner campaigns to drive referral traffic.


These metrics are great to break down by session source to understand which acquisition source drives the best results for your marketing. You can even look at the website traffic-to-lead ratio to understand the percentage of visitors who turn into leads. 


GA4 introduces a few new user definitions:

  1. Total users: People who have logged an event, e.g., loaded a page, clicked a button, or bought something). 
  2. Returning users: A user who’s visited your site or app before 
  3. New users:  The number of unique users who’s visited your site or app for the first time 
  4. Active users: People who visit your site and are engaged, i.e., browse it for at least a second or click on at least two pages. 


Add this metric to your GA4 report to… 

  • Measure how effectively your client’s websites attract new customers or engage visitors 
  • Provide context for your lead generation KPIs 


Sessions (+ engagement sessions)


In GA4, the average number of sessions measures how many times a user has visited your website or app. Is your content making people come back, or do they disappear after one visit? 


What’s the difference between sessions and users? A single user can view your website over a few days (multiple sessions).


You might see different session counts in GA4 than UA because GA4 tracks sessions differently. GA4 also introduces engaged sessions, which are defined as sessions where a user: 

  • Has two or more page views/ screen views
  • Has an average session duration of 10 seconds or longer 
  • Had a conversion event, like filling up a lead conversion form 


Add this engagement metric to your GA4 report to… 

  • Assess how effectively your website or app is at retaining and engaging visitors 
  • Make better decisions around user experience and content optimization to engage potential leads or prospects




Views measure the number of app screens and web pages your users saw. Besides measuring average engagement time, you can also compare views to conversions to determine whether a particular touchpoint is working, like a single or checkout page.


Add this metric to your GA4 report to… 

  • Determine which pages of your app/website your audience finds more engaging and relevant 
  • Assess if any landing pages need to be improved. 


Event count


How often did someone click your call-to-action button? Did people view your contact page but not submit the form? 


GA4 counts events through its event count metric. In addition, GA4 has an enhanced event measurement option that tracks the following events. 

  • File downloads 
  • Form interactions 
  • Outbound clicks
  • How often has someone used your site search
  • Scrolling behavior 
  • User engagement on YouTube videos


Add this metric to your GA4 report to… 

  • Track the total number of times people scrolled down your website content 
  • Measure your website or app’s contribution to lead generation or revenue-generating efforts 
  • Fix issues in your digital marketing or customer acquisition process




Previously known as goals in UA, conversions relate to any vital interaction on your website or app you want your visitors to complete. They either directly generate business revenue or move visitors through the process to a primary conversion. 


Examples of conversion events: 

  • An add-to-cart and an e-commerce purchase
  • Downloading an app
  • Starting a subscription 
  • conversions = important interactions 


GA4 comes with a list of predefined conversions, but you can create custom conversion events, like downloading a white paper. 


Add this metric to your GA4 report to… 

  • Measure the effectiveness of your lead generation and revenue-generating marketing campaigns over a period of time
  • Optimize your digital marketing budget 


Bounce rate


In GA4, the bounce rate is the inverse of the engagement rate, meaning if you have a bounce rate of 40%, your engagement rate is 60%.


Remember engaged sessions? These are sessions where the visitor: 

  • Viewed two or more pages 
  • Been on the site for 10 seconds or longer 
  • Had a conversion event, like filling up a lead conversion form 


If a visitor doesn’t fulfill these requirements, Google counts it as a bounce. 


Add this metric to your GA4 report to… 

  • Know how your customers interact with your content
  • Spot potential UX issues like page load time, broken links, or unclear content. 


Note: Bounce rate calculations are hidden from GA4’s interface. However, you can still add the bounce rate as a custom metric if you have the Editor or Administrator role. Here’s how to do it in GA4. 


Lifetime value 


How much have you earned from a customer during their lifetime? Which customer segment brings in the most revenue over time? Find the answers with the lifetime value metric. A critical metric for any business, especially e-commerce and software companies. 


Add this metric to your GA4 report to… 

  • Find out which marketing channel brings in your highest-value customers 
  • Inform marketing strategy and adjust customer retention efforts 


Total revenue


Reports dealing with business bottom-line metrics must include total revenue, which measures how much money was generated in a given time period. Segment revenue by channel, like email or ad revenue, to know which channel performs most effectively for your business. 


In GA4, the total revenue metric shows the sum of revenue from purchases, subscriptions, and advertising conversions. 


Add this metric to your GA4 report to… 

  • Compare total revenue against marketing spend to track acquisition costs 
  • Find the highest-performing marketing channels 


Ad spend


One of those essential metrics you should know by heart, ad spend measures marketing efficiency. If your client asks, you will know how much you spent on ads over the past six months or which platform you should invest in.


Add this metric to your GA4 report to… 

  • Track return on ad spend for your paid advertising campaigns across the marketing funnel 
  • Anticipate and plan for budget shifts across different digital marketing platforms 
  • Understand customer acquisition costs and inform pricing decisions 


Ad cost per click


Do you run Google Ads, Facebook or TikTok pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns? Ad cost-per-click helps guide tactical decisions and determine whether your PPC campaign is efficient.


This metric is essential if you report to someone well-versed in PPC marketing.  Proposing a new set of keywords or bidding strategies? Show how your proposal will affect clicks on your ad and it’s impact on budget, conversions and bottom-line effectiveness. 


Add this metric to your GA4 report to… 

  • Track efficiency of A/B testing or strategy changes for your PPC campaigns 
  • Make sure marketing budgets are aligned with campaign efficiency


Make GA4 metric reporting for your clients a breeze with DashThis


GA4 report template

Get this Google Analytics 4 report with your own data! 


GA4 introduces new metrics and analytical capabilities. Use a reporting platform like DashThis to help you gather these key metrics in a custom report to make it easy for your clients to understand. We've created a GA4 report template with the important metrics to save you time on client reports. 


Make sense of your GA4 data with your Google Ads data, SEO campaign reporting, and social media metrics to show your clients how your agency is helping them. DashThis integrates with 34+ digital marketing tools, making managing data from your tools accessible. 


Here’s how to do it with DashThis in 4 easy steps:



  • Select your metrics from DashThis’ preset widgets 
  • Drag and drop the metrics to create a cohesive look in your report. Add/remove metrics, switch chart types around and customize your report as you see fit. 


New: We just introduced widget bundles to help our customers quickly add GA4 data to their reports! Find out how to use widget bundles here. 


Sign up for your free 15-day trial of DashThis today.


Have a smooth transition to GA4 with automated reporting.


We know it can be daunting if you’re still getting used to GA4. But remember,  getting used to its new metrics and interface takes time and practice. 


Start tracking your GA4 data to build up your year’s worth of data for year-on-year comparisons. Focus on the transition and let reporting tools like DashThis take the pain out of GA4 metrics. 


Check our GA4 migration guide to help you transfer your UA properties to GA4 and our GA4 reporting guide to understand the differences between the two platforms. 

Track all your ecommerce KPIs in one easy-to-use, good-looking dashboard!


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