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Glossary of Terms

GA4: What you need to know to get started

Google Analytics 4 can be a little overwhelming for first-time users. The wealth of data and insights it provides can feel second to the wealth of new terms and acronyms you’ll encounter when using it. We understand GA4 can seem confusing and difficult to navigate at first. That’s why this page will offer you a glossary of some of the most common terms and acronyms used in GA4, to help you make sense of it all.

With a little knowledge under your belt, you’ll be able to start using this powerful tool like a pro!

  • Bounce rate: the percentage of visitors who leave your site without taking action, like clicking a link or making a purchase. Users who bounce from your site only view a single page and do not convert. In GA4, bounce rate has been replaced by engagement metrics known as “Engaged Sessions.”
  • Engaged Sessions: describes the percentage of sessions where users are actively engaged with your website. A session is considered “engaged” if users meet any of the following criteria:
    • On a page for at least 10 seconds
    • Had one or more conversion events
    • Viewed two or more pages
  • Engagement Rate: the percentage of sessions that were engaged sessions. In a way, engagement rate is the exact opposite of bounce rate.
  • Custom Audiences: in GA4, this comes equipped with two audience types out-of-the-box — All Users and Purchasers. Building custom audiences allows you to group users based on similar actions or dimensions. Custom audiences can be used for retargeting campaigns and comparisons in GA4 reports. In addition to building custom audiences of your own, GA4 offers a range of suggested audiences, including templates and predictive capabilities.
  • Events: describes any interaction on your website or app. Unlike Universal Analytics, which tracked users by sessions, Google Analytics 4 tracks users by events, connecting the user journey across multiple sessions. Types of events include:
    • Automatically collected events, or any basic interaction with your website.
    • Enhanced measurement events, or interactions with content on your website.
    • Recommended events, or events that you implement. 
    • Custom events, or self-defined events. Custom events don’t show up in most built-in reports and instead require custom-built reports.

The following is a list of commonly used terms that are encountered when using Google Analytics:

  • SESSION - the period of time a user is actively engaged with content on your website
  • PAGEVIEWS - the total number of pages viewed (served) to users, including return visits
  • UNIQUE PAGEVIEWS - the total number of pages viewed by users excluding return visits
  • ENTRANCE - the number of time the page in question is the first page the user visits during a session
  • BOUNCE RATE - the percentage of visits that only viewed a single page. See also What's the Difference Between 'Bounce Rates' & 'Exits'.
  • EXIT - how often a user views a given page last before leaving pages being monitored by the York University Google Analytics account. See also What's the Difference Between 'Bounce Rates' & 'Exits'.
  • ORGANIC SEARCH - visitors referred by an unpaid search engine listing
  • SEARCH TERMS - words used by users / visitors when they use the York University Search feature
  • KEYWORDS - words used by users / visitors when they use a search engine to find pages on the York University website
  • DIMENSIONS - A qualitative classification of data within Google Analytics. See also What's the Difference Between 'Dimensions' & 'Metrics'
  • METRICS - A quantitative classification of data within Google Analytics. See also What's the Difference Between 'Dimensions' & 'Metrics'

When using Google Analytics, you may encounter a question mark next to a title or element on the report: Screenshot of the question mark icon as displayed in Google Analytics. If you hover over the icon, a definition of the term will display.