Search
Close this search box.

How to Use the Attribution (ex-Conversion) Paths Report in GA4

Last Modified on April 3, 2024

Are you looking for a guide on the conversion paths report in GA4 (renamed to attribution paths)?

Converting your online traffic into your paid customers or converting those clicks into meaningful actions on your website for your business is what’s all the fuss about – for the most part.

GA4 For Beginners

Master the basics with our FREE GA4 Course for Beginners

So it can be quite helpful to know which one of your channels played an important role when it comes to those conversions aka key events (as Google has recently renamed conversions in Google Analytics 4).

In analytics, it’s what we call attribution, and it can get tricky depending on the attribution models and their intricacies, but that’s not today’s topic.

Just like Universal Analytics (UA), its successor also has the same report that shows the conversion path a user takes with different touch points. Understandably there are some differences, and that’s what we are going to delve into today by covering the following:

  1. UA vs. GA4 Conversion Paths Report
  2. Conversion Paths Data Visualization
  3. Conversion Paths Data Table
  4. Best Practices for Conversion Paths Report in GA4

Let’s learn all about this cool report!

UA vs. GA4 Conversion Paths Report

In UA, a similar report existed under the Attribution, which was still deemed as beta until its sunset.

Attribution in UA

There isn’t a lot of change when it comes to this report in GA4 apart from cosmetic changes and where it is found.

The report is divided into three in UA where it shows conversion paths, conversion lag, and conversion path length.

Conversion paths report in UA

The conversion paths report shows the touch points, conversions, and revenue. The conversion lag report’s focus is on days to convert;  whereas the conversion path length shows the total number of touch points.

This is all consolidated into one report in GA4. In all these reports, you can select conversions from multiple goals and transactions.

Conversion types in UA

Lastly, at the top of these reports are the chosen settings or filters that you can access by clicking on the Edit report or directly clicking on any of the blue highlighted text.

Report settings/filters in UA

This opens up a settings panel on the right side where we can customize different things depending on any of the three chosen reports, but most importantly the attribution models and the path length.

Report settings in UA

Conversion Paths Data Visualization

What are the differences in GA4’s conversion paths report from UA?

 In GA4, this report is found under AdvertisingAttributionConversion paths.

Conversion paths report in GA4

The report on the right hand has touchpoints divided into three segments – early, mid, and late – showing the conversion credit each segment gets based on the chosen attribution model.

  • The early touch points are formed by the first 25% of the total touch points rounded to the nearest whole number, and this segment will be empty if the path has only one touch point.
  • The mid-touch points consist of the 50% touch points in the conversion path and will show empty if the middle touch points are less than 3.
  • The last touch points segment accounts for 25% of the touch points in a path. If there’s only one touch point in the whole path, it will be in this segment.

This visualization is new to GA4 and can be helpful to get a quick visualization of different channels and their performance along the conversion paths.

As for the attribution models, there aren’t many left after Google phased out all the others, which were First Click, Linear, Position-based, and Time decay.

As with UA, you can choose the conversion events that are available in your GA4 property.

Conversion events drop-down in the conversion paths report

Next to the conversion events, you have a pre-applied Path length = all touchpoints filter that you can edit by clicking on it, but do not remove it. 

GA4 path length touchpoint settings and add filter option

Next to the Path length filter, you have the option to Add Filter, so you can narrow down things. For instance, let’s say that you only want to see the conversion paths on mobile devices.

Conversion paths report with device category filter

You can choose to see the conversion credit in the three segments by Default channel group, Source, Medium, or Campaign.

Conversions by default channel group, source, medium, or campaign

For instance, if we go with the Source, the visualization changes to show that.

Conversions by source in the conversion paths report

Finally, you can change the attribution model you’re using, which is now only three. These are Data-driven and Last click (Paid and organic channels) and Last click (Google paid channels).

Attribution models in GA4 conversion paths report

Now, with the Last click models you would see almost all the credits given to the Late touch points understandably. 

Another interesting point about the visualization is when you hover over any of the three touch point segments, it shows you the total conversions for that segment, e.g., mid-touch points, and the criteria of that segment.

Conversion credits for mid-touch points

You can also hover over any of the conversion sources, and it shows you the conversion credits given to each of the three segments for that source.

Conversion credit for default channel group on hover in GA4

Let’s see how it works in the table below this visualization.

Conversion Paths Data Table

The table now includes the traffic dimensions and metrics like conversions, purchase revenue, days to conversion, and touchpoints to conversion in one table.

Data table in GA4 conversion paths report

The table is sorted by the highest number of conversions by default, but you can sort by any other column you’d like to.

If you hover over the dashed underlined metrics, you will find the definitions of those metrics. Here’s what each of them means:

  • Conversions: Number of times a conversion event has been triggered.
  • Purchase revenue: purchases + in-app purchases + subscriptions – any refunds.
  • Days to conversion: Number of days it takes to convert after interacting with the ad.
  • Touchpoints to conversion: Number of ad interactions it takes for users to convert.

The last two columns days to conversion and touchpoints to conversion were previously in conversion lag and conversion path length reports in UA.

But now, they don’t have the same specific filters to display cumulative or non-cumulative data and exclude/include direct touchpoints as in UA, although you can use the Add filter method to put other dimension-specific filter conditions.

This simplifies the visualization and data into one report and makes it easier to analyze the performance of those traffic dimensions, along with their impact based on days to convert, touchpoints it can take, and the overall contribution to the revenue.

However, some people might not be very happy with the end of the other attribution models and may only leave the last click and data-driven, with the latter one being a bit of a mystery as it would differ for each property.

But there’s not much that can be done about it in the GA4 UI, at least.

Best Practices for Conversion Paths Report in GA4

The following best practices can help to ensure that your analysis is meaningful:

  • Make sure your conversions are set up properly, otherwise, your analysis won’t be very useful.
  • Select only the useful conversion events when doing your analysis from the drop-down menu, as each conversion event will be different.
  • Collect enough conversion data to analyze the conversion paths, especially if you are using the data-driven model, as more data means a better-trained model in the backend.
  • Link your Google Ads account with your GA4 account so you get accurate attribution for your ads.
  • Use proper UTMs so there’s not a lot of unassigned/(not set) traffic for your property, as it could be frustrating to see that.
  • If your traffic acquisition reports show high direct traffic (more than 25%), then try to root out issues that can cause this issue, so your analysis is meaningful. 
  • Apply filters that can provide more context for your analysis and get actionable insights.

Some of these practices can be helpful for other reports, while others might be more specific to this report. But all of them together can help you to make the most out of your conversion path analysis.

The important part is to know which attribution model to select, what conversions are important, and select the date range that has enough data to give meaningful results.

Summary

The conversion paths report in GA4 is not used quite frequently, but it’s simple enough to get started. It can become a little complex if you’re using multiple conversions in your analysis, but like with everything in analytics, you have to take it with a pinch of salt.

We have covered how it differs from the UA reports (not a lot), where everything is now under one report, data visualization, and what we can see by hovering over different elements.

We also discussed the eradication of other attribution models, the availability of filters, and the data table dimensions as well as what the metrics mean in there.

You also learned about some best practices that can help you understand the conversion paths much better and take action accordingly.

Talking about new things in GA4, we can now also schedule reports to be sent by email. You can read more about it in the Google Analytics 4 Scheduled Reports post.

Let us know how you find the conversion paths report in GA4  in the comments below!