Guide to GA4 Conversion Events

Learn how easy it is to create conversion events in GA4 and view them in standard or customized reports with our step-by-step guide—PLUS how to use the data.

graphic representing successful conversion event report analysis in GA4
Dec 23, 2022
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Updated:
Jan 27, 2023
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If you followed our GA4 setup guide, you should be tracking one or more events that qualify as conversion events. This article will show you:

  • How to mark events as “conversion events” 
  • What that means
  • How to make conversion event reports in GA4
  • Why that data matters

Events in GA4 Overview

GA4 treats everything as an event: a user entering a the website (session_start), a user viewing a page (page_view), a user clicking on a link (click). Here’s a list of automatically collected events in GA4. You can use Google Tag Manager (GTM) to create even more events to track.

You get to decide which events are conversion events, whether they were automatically created or not. A conversion event is any user action you think is important to your business. Examples:

  • Contact form submission
  • RFQ form submission
  • Click to call
  • Transaction/purchase made
  • Click to download PDF 

<div class="post-note">In Universal Analytics (UA) you’re limited to 20 goals/events. If you want to track more than 20 you have to create a separate view. In GA4 you can track as many events and conversion events as you want.</div>

How to Set Up Conversion Events in GA4

Marking an existing event as a conversion is super easy.

<div class="post-action">Click Admin (gear wheel) in the left nav at the bottom:</div>

GA4 screenshot showing where to find Admin

<div class="post-action">Click on Events in the Property column:</div>

GA4 screenshot showing where to find Events

<div class="post-action">Click the toggle on the right to mark any event as a conversion:</div>

GA4 screenshot showing how to mark events as conversions

<div class="post-note">After you mark an event as a conversion, it can take up to 24 hours to appear in standard GA4 reports (realtime reports may update faster). If you don’t want to wait 24 hours, there’s an extra step to take:</div>

<div class="post-action">In Admin in the Property column, click Conversions, then click the New conversion event button:</div>

GA4 screenshot showing how to manually add new conversion event

<div class="post-action">In the New event name field, enter your new conversion event exactly the same as it’s called on the Events page. Click Save. You’re all set!</div>

The Conversions page shows you a list and count of only conversion events for your current date range. You can get more insights into conversion events using Reports.

Using & Customizing the Conversions Report

There’s a standard conversion events report under Reports <span class="material-symbols-outlined">bar_chart</span> > Engagement > Conversions:

GA4 screenshot showing how to find Conversions report

Here are some helpful ways to look at your conversion event data:

  1. Which page a user was on when they converted
  2. Which landing page a converting user entered the site on 
  3. Traffic sources (organic, paid, social, etc) of converting users

Let’s get started customizing your Conversions report! 

<div class="post-action">Click the pencil icon <span class="material-symbols-outlined">edit</span>in the upper right. Click Dimensions. Click Add dimension. Scroll down to Page path and screen class, select it and then click Apply at the bottom.</div>

<div class="post-action">Now go to the left-most column header in the report table (Event name) and click the dropdown arrow to choose Page path and screen class.</div>

GA4 screenshot showing how to change dimension in Conversions report

Now you can see the pages users were on when they completed a conversion event. Page path (aka slug) means the part of the URL after the domain. For example: 

https://momenticmarketing.com/about/case-studies

<div class="post-note">Screen class is only used for mobile apps. If you only have a website and not a mobile app, you won’t see any info, so don’t worry about it. GA4 is designed to incorporate data from both websites and mobile apps, so that’s why screen class is included.</div>

You can select other dimensions to see more information:

  • Page location: full page URL instead of just the slug
  • Page title: page title instead of URL or slug
  • Page referrer: which page the user was on before they arrived on the page where they converted (could be internal or external)
  • Landing page: which page the user entered your site on before converting (You can also see this in a landing page report.)

You can add as many dimensions as you want to the Conversions report, then choose one to view using the dropdown menu.

By default, the Conversions report will display the total of all conversion events. But what if you want to look at a single conversion event?

<div class="post-action">Click the dropdown under the Conversions column header (second from the left). ‘All events’ will be replaced by the name of the event you select:</div>

GA4 screenshot showing how to select a single conversion event

Finding the Traffic Source of Converting Users

To see traffic sources for a specific conversion event, change the dimension back to Event name:

<div class="post-action">Click on one of the conversion event names. The next screen shows you the traffic source breakdown, with Default channel grouping as the default. You can use the dropdown to select Source, Medium, or Campaign instead:</div>

GA4 screenshot showing default channel grouping for conversion events

Source: the domain the user was on before clicking through to your website

Medium: organic, direct (none)*, referral, and cpc 

Campaign: organic, direct, directory, referral, and any paid campaigns you have

<div class="post-note">*Direct/None in GA4 means there aren’t any defined Google Tracking URL parameters, so Google doesn’t know where those users came from. For example:

  • Using a bookmarked link
  • Clicking a link in a PDF
  • Clicking a link in a project management app
  • Typing the domain name into the browser

You can reduce the amount of traffic that ends up in the Direct/None bucket by adding a UTM parameter when you link to your website from a PDF, email signature, Google Doc, etc—but that’s a topic for a different blog.</div>

What if you want to look at the traffic source for all your conversion events instead of one at a time? Then you have to use the Traffic acquisition report:

<div class="post-action">Reports <span class="material-symbols-outlined">bar_chart</span> > Acquisition > Traffic acquisition</div>

GA4 screenshot showing how to find traffic acquisition report

This report shows you the traffic sources bringing the most users to your website with a variety of metrics. 

<div class="post-action">Scroll right in the table to find Conversions:</div>

GA4 screenshot showing how to find conversions metric in traffic acquisition report

<div class="post-action">Click the pencil icon <span class="material-symbols-outlined">edit</span>in the upper right to customize this report. Then click Metrics. You can drag and drop the metrics (column headers) to re-order them, and you can also remove/add metrics as desired.</div> 

<div class="post-action">Click Apply at the bottom when you’re done, and you’ll see the changes in the report table.</div>

<div class="post-alert">Click Save if you want this report to look the same way the next time. You have the option to save your changes to the standard report, or save it as a new report. Be aware that if you share this GA4 account with other users, any changes you save will affect their report view as well.</div>

GA4 Conversion Events in Looker Studio

When it comes to reporting on GA4 conversion events in Looker Studio (formerly Data Studio) it's not as straightforward as it is with UA, but it's easy once you know the steps.

Here's how to visualize GA4 conversion events in a time series chart:

<div class="post-action">Connect GA4 as your data source for the report. The default dimension is 'Date' and the default Breakdown Dimension is 'Event name'.</div>

<div class="post-action">Choose Conversions as the metric. If you stop here, it will show you the total of all your GA4 conversion events added together.</div>

Looker Studio report setup with GA4 data source and conversions as the metric

<div class="post-action">To only see certain conversion events, scroll down to the bottom of the 'Setup' menu and add a filter. Use Event Name to specify which conversion events you want to include (or exclude).</div>

Looker Studio report filter for GA4 form submission conversion events

Remember to give your filter a descriptive name so you can use it on future reports. You can use the conversions metric with event name filters to visualize any combination of GA4 conversions in the Looker Studio chart style of your choice.

Using the Data from Conversion Event Reports

Now that you know where to find the data, you can use it to create or refine your digital marketing strategy.

Value of knowing your top converting landing pages

When you know which landing pages have the best conversion rate, you should look for opportunities to make them perform even better, or opportunities to create the same type of page for another topic. You’ll get more return on your effort by building on something that’s already working.

If you created a landing page to get users to perform a specific action (fill out a form, download a rate sheet, sign up for your newsletter) but the data shows a low conversion rate, you need to diagnose the issue: is the page not getting enough entrances, or are there plenty of users finding the page and they’re just not converting? From there you can make additional optimizations (and maybe fixes) to help boost the conversion rate.

Value of knowing which page users are on when they convert

It’s helpful to know which other pages on the site have a strong conversion rate after a user entered from a different page (often the homepage). You can look for ways to make those pages an even better resource for users (to encourage more conversions), promote them on your socials, and make sure site visitors can easily find them no matter how they entered the site. 

If you are planning to add more pages to your website, you can include elements from top converting pages. Examples could be the page layout, the specific call to action, social proof, images that add value, and more. You may need to do some A/B testing to figure out which page elements are the most successful.

Value of knowing the traffic source of converting users

When you understand which traffic sources are sending the most users and generating the most conversions, you can allocate your marketing resources more effectively. For example, if you’ve been investing in paid search or social media marketing campaigns but most of your conversions are coming from organic search traffic, you may want to rethink how your marketing dollars are allocated.

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