Google Analytics 4 Audiences Explained

Google Analytics 4 Audiences Explained

Among its many new features, Google Analytics 4 enables you to create audiences. Audiences are groups of users who visit your website or app, formed on the basis of specific actions or behaviors. The purpose of these audiences is to gain a better understanding of specific user segments or to target them for marketing purposes.

These audiences can be broad, such as including all your customers, but you can be as specific as you’d like. In this article, we’ll show you how to set up audiences in GA4, helping you make the most of its features and refining your business strategies. 

Let’s dive in!

Understanding Google Analytics 4 Audiences

Audiences are a critical tool in helping you target specific user groups for improved business strategies and personalized marketing.

Audiences can be broken down by various factors, such as:

  • Demographics: Age, gender, region, and interests provide significant target audience insights, allowing you to tailor your marketing campaigns to their preferences and traits.
  • Acquisition channels: Social media, paid advertising, podcasts, and campaigns represent the various avenues customers discover your brand. Analyzing these channels helps you allocate your marketing resources effectively for maximum exposure and engagement.
  • Purchasing behavior: This includes actions like making a purchase, adding items to a cart, or abandoning a cart during the buying process. Understanding purchasing behavior helps you optimize the customer journey and enhance the overall shopping experience.
  • Other behavioral data: User interactions, such as scroll tracking, offer valuable information about how users engage with your website or content. This data assists in refining user experience and content engagement strategies to keep users interested and involved.

You’ve got two types of audiences in GA4: Prebuilt and Custom. The prebuilt ones are ready to go in GA4, but you can create custom ones that give you control based on specific events or parameters. 

Setting Up GA4 Audiences

Now that you’re familiar with the concept and importance of audiences in GA4 let’s dive into how you can set them up.

First, navigate to the ‘Audiences’ section in your GA4 property. Here, you’ll find two types of audiences: prebuilt and custom.

setting up GA4 audiences

Prebuilt audiences are ready to use based on common user groups. But you’re not limited to these. You can create custom audiences for specific criteria that suit your business needs. You can customize Google’s recommendations and templates, which may offer a convenient starting point tailored to your needs. 

GA4 audience

Understanding Pre Built Audiences

The Prebuilt Audiences encompass:

  • Predefined audiences (all users and purchasers);
  • Suggested audiences;
  • Predictive audiences. 

ga4 understanding pre built audiences

Examples of Custom GA4 Audiences

You can create a user group of individuals who have visited your website more than three times but haven’t completed a lead form.

These include: 

  • Cart Abandoners

ga4 cart abandoners

  • Checkout Abandoners

ga4 checkout abandoners

  • Active users who are not leads yet (Continue reading to find a step-by-step process explained below.)
  • Audience based on inactive purchasers

ha4 inactive purchasers

  • Audience based on searchers

ga4 searchers

To create a group like this, follow the steps outlined below.


Before you get started, ensure you meet the following prerequisites:

  • You must have the Editor role for the property where you intend to set up the audience.
  • Make sure the ‘generate_lead’ event is properly configured on your website. 

Audience Creation – Active users who are not leads yet

 1. Navigate to the ‘Admin’ section and choose ‘Audiences.’

create property ga4

 2.  Select ‘New Audience.’

 3.  Create a custom audience.

creating custom audience

4. Under ‘Include Users when,’ proceed to ‘Add new condition’ and select ‘Events.’

ga4 selecting events

5. Browse the event list and choose ‘session_start.’

6. Next to ‘session_start,’ click on ‘+ Add parameter,’ then ‘Event count.’

ga4 include users

7. Set the condition to ‘greater than (>)’ and enter ‘3’ as the Event count.

ga4 event count

8. Click ‘Apply.’

9. To exclude a group, click ‘+ Add group to exclude..’

exclude a group

10. Choose ‘Permanently exclude users when.’

11. Select ‘Add new condition,’ then ‘Events,’ and ‘generate_lead.’

generate lead ga4

12. Give your audience a name and write a memorable description. Then, click ‘Save.’

Exploring Suggested Audiences

While you’re refining your audience with specific conditions, it’s also beneficial to explore the suggested audiences provided by the platform. These are prebuilt audience groups based on common traits or behaviors. They’re a goldmine of insights and can save you time.

Under the General tab, you’ll find such suggestions. Tailor these suggestions to meet your business needs. For instance, you might select the ‘Purchasers‘ audience to target those who’ve made a purchase. But don’t stop there. Refine it further by adding parameters like ‘item_name’ to target customers who bought a specific product.

Remember, as you narrow down, your Summary number will decrease. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s all about precision here, not quantity. You’re aiming for a tailored audience likely to convert again.

Using GA4 Templates for Demographics

There are three templates in GA4 you can use:

  • Demographics
  • Technology
  • Acquisition

Let’s illustrate how to use templates with the demographics templates. 

Using GA4’s Demographics Template, you’ll have a powerful tool for gathering detailed audience information. This template allows you to collect key demographic data such as age, gender, and location. This information is vital to understanding your audience, what they want, and how best to reach them.

use a reference in ga4

You’ll find these templates under the ‘Templates’ tab. To use them, simply select the Demographics Template and apply it to your current audience. 

Remember, templates can save you time and effort, but they’re not one-size-fits-all. You’ll need to adjust and tweak them to fit your business needs. Lastly, remember that your audience size may differ from your remarketing list size, especially if your Google Ads account isn’t linked.

Key Points and Limitations of GA4 Audiences

Firstly, keep in mind that audiences aren’t retroactive, meaning they accumulate users from the moment you create them, not before. You must consider minimum data requirements and inclusion time for setting up audiences.

Also, there’s a limit of 100 audiences per property, which includes both prebuilt and custom ones. Finally, your audience size may differ from your remarketing list size, especially if your Google Ads account isn’t linked.

Audience size refers to the total number of users who’ve interacted with your brand on your website, app, or social media. This could be millions, depending on your brand’s reach.

Your remarketing list size is more specific. It’s the pool of users you’re targeting with your remarketing campaigns. These are individuals who’ve previously interacted with your brand, and you’re aiming to re-engage them.

While it’s tempting to go for a larger audience, remember that a well-targeted remarketing list can lead to higher conversion rates. So, don’t get hung up on size alone. Quality over quantity matters more.

Utilizing GA4 Audiences in Reports

You can harness the power of GA4 audiences in your reports to gain deeper insights into your user groups, driving your marketing efforts more effectively. It means that you’re not just looking at raw data; you’re analyzing user behavior tailored to your defined audience. You can see how different audiences interact with your site or app and adjust your strategy accordingly.In the User Attributes section, you’ll see key metrics for your audiences. You can compare the performance of different audiences side by side. It’s also possible to drill down into audience demographics, technology usage, and user behavior.

ga4 user attributes section

Integrating GA4 Audiences in Advertising Campaigns

Building on your understanding of using GA4 audiences in reports, you can integrate them into your advertising campaigns to enhance their effectiveness. By leveraging the insights GA4 audiences provide, you can personalize your campaigns to target specific user groups.

Start by linking your GA4 property to your Google Ads account. This allows you to share audiences directly with Google’s advertising products. Then, apply the audiences to your campaigns. Filter them based on demographics, purchasing behavior, and other parameters.

Remember, your audience isn’t static. It evolves as user behavior changes. So, continually review and refine your audiences to keep your campaigns relevant. Through proper integration of GA4 audiences, you can boost your campaign’s performance and ultimately drive more conversions.

Differences Between Segments and Audiences

Segments and audiences in GA4 might sound similar, but there are actually several differences. Let’s see what those are.

  1. Usage
  • Segments are mainly for exploring your data.
  • Audiences can be used in regular reports for comparing different groups. But remember, you can’t use audiences as conditions within segments.
  1. Timing of Data
  • Segments show you data from the past, based on specific conditions you set.
  • Audiences start collecting data only from the moment you create them, so they don’t look at past data.
  1. Google Ads Integration
  • You can easily use audiences in Google Ads to target specific groups with ads.
  • Segments can’t be directly imported, but you can use them to create custom audiences for advertising.
  1. Making Changes
  • Segments can be edited whenever you want to make adjustments.
  • Audiences are less flexible – you can mainly change their name or description.
  1. Limits
  • You can create up to 100 audiences for a property in GA4.
  • For segments, you’re limited to 10 segments for each exploration.

GA4 Audiences: Final Words

So, you’ve now unlocked the potential of GA4 audiences. Harnessing this power lets you delve into your user data, target specific groups effectively, and enhance your marketing campaigns.

Use the Audience feature wisely, understand the key points and limitations, and make your marketing  campaigns more efficient. Keep exploring and refining your strategies to drive your business forward with GA4 audiences. And if you need any help from our data analysts, we’re just a click away and happy to assist.

Best of luck!

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