How to Create a Google Ads report in GA4

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As you may be aware, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) does not currently have preset Google Ads reports. This may be a noticeable change as GA4 keeps getting developed but I want to show you how to recreate a similar campaign in GA4.

The reports we refer to here are currently in Universal Analytics under the Acquisition tab.

There are two ways in which custom reports can be created in GA4. The first way to do this is via the Reports section, and the second way to do this is via the Exploration section.

GA4 does not currently have a Google Ads Campaign dimension in the reporting section; however, we do have the Google Ads account, Ad Group name, Ad Network type, Keyword Text, and Query. At some point, Google will add the Google Ads Campaign dimension to this section, but it does not exist yet.

Besides the lack of Google Ads Campaign dimensions, the Reports section does not contain any Google Ads-specific metrics, such as clicks, impressions, average CPCs, etc. For the purpose of this blog, we will focus on building these reports in the exploration section.

Building Google Ads reports in Exploration

Here is a step by step guide on how to build a Google Ads report in GA4:

1. Navigate to Exploration – The first thing to do is to navigate to the Exploration section in GA4. Once you are there, click on the Free form report to create a new report.

2. Create a free form report – Free form reports allow you to combine dimensions and metrics to create custom reports. Moreover, you can break down reports by segments, and ad filters, and create multiple tabs of different reports. The tabs feature is particularly useful since it makes it easier to analyze different reports simultaneously. In this example, I will show you how to include additional reports for Google Ads using different tabs.

Here is what the default free form report looks like:

3. Name your report – The first thing to do is to name your report. By navigating to the top left corner of the report and editing the “Exploration Name” field, you can name your report as you wish. My report is named Google Ads Report – Example

4. Import dimensions – After you have named your report, you should add all the required dimensions and metrics. To add dimensions, navigate to the dimensions section and click the “+” icon. This will give you a list of all dimensions available. As we are building a Google Ads report, I have added the campaign name, ad group name, and keywords. If you wish, you can add any other dimension then click IMPORT.

5. Import metrics – The next step is to add all required metrics to the reports once the Google Ads dimension has been added. To add metrics, navigate to the metrics section and click the “+” icon then search for Google Ads metrics and them. For this to work make sure you have linked your Google Ads account to your GA4 property. Here is additional information on how to link the two platforms – https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9379420?hl=en#zippy=%2Cin-this-article

Here are the metrics I added: Sessions, Engagement Rate, Sessions per User, Clicks, Cost, CPC, Impressions, eCommerce Purchases, Quantity, and Revenue.

6. Build your report – After you have imported your dimensions and metrics, you can begin building the report. In the tab settings, drag your metric or dimension to the relevant section to build your reports. The easiest way to do this is to double-click the metric or dimension. The following is an example of how metrics and dimensions should be allocated:

7. Remove (not set) values – You’ll notice that there is a row with (not set) above, this is because GA4 pulls in data from all sessions and publishes dimensions based on your selection, then assigns (not set) values to all other traffic. You can remove this not set value by right-clicking on the row and selecting ‘Exclude selection’.

8. Add Nested Rows – While the report we just created is suitable for a basic Google Ads campaign report, if you want to see a breakdown of ad groups by the campaign, this report may not be helpful. Here is how to create a report with a breakdown of ad groups. First, duplicate the existing report to a new tab. Select duplicate by clicking the downward arrow next to the report tab. It is also a good practice to name your tab.

Once you have duplicated your report in a new tab add the ad group dimension in the row section of the report then change the Nested Row toggle to “Yes”. If you want to see multiple rows, increase the Show rows dropdown to 100.

9. Pro tip – Compare campaign performance by device – Here is a pro tip on how to create a Google Ads report that compares performance across campaigns broken down by device. The first step is to duplicate the Google Ads campaign report. Once duplicated, import the ‘Device category’ dimension into the dimensions section, then add the device category to the columns tab settings. As a result, you should have a report showing campaigns broken down by device category with all your selected metrics.

In this blog post, I have provided you with only a few examples of what GA4 can do, but as you can see from this example, the possibilities are virtually endless. The new developments with GA4 have us really excited at Metric Labs, and we are looking forward to sharing them with you. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it was helpful, please let me know if you have any questions.


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