[UA→GA4] Engagement goals

In Universal Analytics you can configure goals based on Average Session Duration and Pages/Screens per session. These are often referred to as engagement goals since they signal an overall threshold of engagement rather than the completion of a specific action. This article describes how you can measure these activities in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) properties.

In this article:

Replicate Pages/Screens per session goals as a GA4 audience

A Pages/Screens per session goal triggers when a user loads the specified number of pages or screens within a session. For example, in Universal Analytics, you can configure an engagement goal of more than 2 pages per session as follows:

Example of configuring a Pages/Screens per session goal to be triggered when the user views more than 2 pages in a single session. No value is set for the goal.

You can use the GA4 audience builder to create groups of users who meet a similar goal:

  1. Create a new custom GA4 audience.
  2. Name this audience the same as your Universal Analytics Pages per session goal.
  3. Set the Membership duration to “Maximum limit”.
    Note: You can create up to 100 audiences (400 for Analytics 360 properties).
  4. Set the Scope to “Within the same session”.
  5. Under Include Users when:
    • Add a condition where event_name = page_view and the event_count parameter > 2.
    • Add an OR clause.
    • Add a condition where event_name = screen_view and the event_count parameter > 2.
      Note: if your property doesn't include an app data stream, you won't see (or need) the screen_view event. Likewise, if your property doesn't include a web data stream, you won't see (or need) the page_view event.
  6. Create an audience trigger and use the same name as the Universal Analytics Pages per session goal.
    Note: You can create up to 20 audience trigger events per property
  7. Click Save.
  8. Mark the audience trigger event you created in step 6 as a conversion.
Note: Currently, you can't assign a value to this event as you can in Universal Analytics.

Example of configuring a GA4 event to replicate a UA "engagement goal."

User engagement

GA4 automatically collects a number of engagement dimensions and metrics. These appear in several built-in reports, and you can add them to explorations. Learn more about engagement metrics in [GA4] Engagement metrics.

In particular, GA4 records a user_engagement event for sessions that either:

  • last more than 10 seconds, or
  • contain a conversion event, or
  • have two (or more) pageviews.

You can use user_engagement as a proxy for Page/Screens per visit and Average Session Duration goals in Universal Analytics.


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