I've had my head in Channel Groupings for a couple of days and thought I’d share an overview of the key things to be aware of when working with Default & Custom Channel Groupings.
For custom channel groupings in Data Studio see here.
Channel groupings allow you to group the traffic to your website based on conditions that are predefined or that you customise. The difference between Default and Custom Channel groupings are mostly around the way the data is processed and when and where it is available, I’ll explain more below.
These conditions are usually based on dimensions like Source, Medium, Campaign Name, Landing Page, Ad Content and keyword but can include any session or user level dimensions.
The Default Channel Groupings conditions are quite basic to start with and Custom Channel Groupings are more flexible with some limitations.
The Default Channel Grouping is aggregated and is not retroactive.
- When you make updates to the default grouping it is only applied to data that is captured from that point forward - give 24-48 hour leeway for data processing.This means it is processed once not each time it’s queried.
- It is aggregated which in simple terms means the metric totals won’t be affected by sampling as the data is processed once and then stored. Compared with custom that is processed each time it is queried.
Custom Channel Groupings
- The opposite is true for custom channel groupings. They are retroactive, the conditions you have set in your groupings will query the data for your given date range and apply it’s groupings irrespective of when the custom groupings were created.
- Sampling will affect the metric totals as the groupings are not aggregated.
- Custom Channel Groupings don’t come through to Data Studio so they need to be recreated using CASE Statements. You can find out how to do that here.<<LINK
Two types of custom channel groupings
There are two different Channel Grouping options within each view - The first one is at the view level so anyone with access to the view can use it, Channel Settings > Channel Grouping. The Default Channel Grouping can be edited here and Custom Channel Groupings can be created.
The second spot under personal assets can only be seen by you but of course you can share it.
Regex Match vs Regex Contains
When using “matches regex” in GA Custom Channel Groupings, it is not regexp contains so you need to use .* before and after the word you're including if you want it to act like contains. Note “regex contains” is available in Data Studio CASE Statements.
This example basically acts as the contains selector. It will match any string that contains ‘example’.
This second example show the ‘or’ selector which is the pipe character(|). As it’s “matches regex” it would only match to exactly ‘example’ or ‘example2’.
In the third example, it would match anything that starts with example and the string ‘3example’.
Channel groupings calculated top down
Channel groupings are calculated in order from top to bottom, the same way filters are processed. For example, if a condition in the rules within the second grouping assigned a session to it’s grouping, it then can not be assigned to a grouping below it.
Recommended number of channel groupings
The recommended maximum no. of channel groupings is 15 for GA360, this is due to running the risk of getting false positives on data driven attribution. In general 12 channel groupings is ideal.
When building custom groupings
If you’re planning on making a custom grouping that’s quite broad and then another that is more detailed - maybe getting granular to splitting out keyword types or referral types, I’d recommend starting with the broad/simple custom grouping. Spend time refining, making mistakes and neatly documenting each of the custom conditions. This is because you will make a lot of changes to your first grouping and it’s easier to update the one rather than having to update both the broad and granular version each time. Once you are happy with it, you can then use it as a base and make a more detailed version and with it neatly documented, it will be easy to replicate in Data Studio without any differences.
Where to access these groupings
To use the Custom Channel Groupings you can find them in the following reports under the highlighted dropdown menus.
Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels
Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions
+ Top Conversion Paths + Model Comparison Tool
Hopefully this has helped get to know channel groupings a little more.