[GA4] Get started with Explorations

Gain deeper insights about your users and their journeys

Explorations is a collection of advanced techniques that go beyond standard reports to help you uncover deeper insights about your customers' behavior.

When you want to explore data in more detail, you can use explorations to:

  • quickly perform ad hoc queries
  • easily configure and switch between techniques
  • sort, refactor, and drill down into the data
  • focus on the most relevant data by using filters and segments
  • create segments and audiences
  • share your explorations with other users of the same Google Analytics property
  • export the exploration data for use in other tools
Explorations is available for all Google Analytics 4 properties. Google Analytics 360 customers can use the beta version of Explorations on Universal Analytics properties.
In this article:

Access Explorations

To access Explorations, click Explore in the left navigation.

How Explorations works

The default reports in Google Analytics help you monitor your key business metrics. Explorations gives you access to data and analytical techniques that aren't available in reports. Use Explorations to explore your data in depth and answer complex questions about it.

An exploration consists of 3 sections:


The large area on the right displays your data using the selected technique. The canvas can have multiple tabs, letting you use multiple techniques in a single exploration. Explorations supports the following techniques:

Free-form exploration

Exploration. Explore your data in a familiar crosstab layout. You can also apply several different visualization styles in free form, including bar charts, pie charts, line charts, scatter plots and geo maps. Learn more

Cohort exploration

Cohort analysis. Gain insights from the behavior and performance of groups of users related by common attributes. Learn more

Funnel exploration

Funnel analysis.Visualize the steps users take to complete tasks on your site or app, and see how you can optimize user experience and identify over- or under-performing audiences. Learn more

Segment overlap

Segment overlap analysis. See how different user segments relate to each other. Use this technique to identify new segments of users who meet complex criteria. Learn more

User exploration

User explorer analysis.Examine the users that make up the segments you create or import. You can also drill down into individual user activities. Learn more

Path exploration

Path analysis. Visualize the paths your users take as they interact with your website and app. Learn more

User lifetime

User lifetime analysis.Explore user behavior and value over their lifetime as a customer. Learn more



The panel on the left gives you access to the dimensions, metrics, and segments you can use in the exploration. You can also change the timeframe of the exploration in the Variables panel.

Tab Settings

Use the options in the Tab Settings panel to configure the currently selected tab. Select the technique, add items from the Variables panel, and configure technique-specific options.

Find your way around the explorations editor

Analysis editor interface map

  1. 1Return to the Explorations main menu.
  2. 2Choose the Google Analytics account and property for the exploration.
  3. 3Google Marketing Platform header. View notifications, switch organizations, get help and send feedback, and manage your account.
  4. 4Variables. Provides the dimensions, metrics, and segments available for use in this exploration. To minimize the Variables panel, on the right, click Minimize icon. To restore the panel, on the bottom, click Maximize.
  5. 5Tab Settings. Specifies the exploration technique and configures the currently displayed visualization. To add dimensions and metrics, or apply segments, click the appropriate target area. You can also drag and drop dimensions, metrics, and segments from variables into Tab Settings.
  6. 6Tabs. Tabs display your visualizations. An exploration can contain up to 10 visualizations. To add a new tab, click Add new item icon..
  7. 7Toolbar. Undo and redo changes, export the data, and get additional information about the exploration.
  8. 8Segments. Segments are subsets of users. To apply a segment, double-click it, or drag and drop it from variables into Tab Settings. To create a new segment, click Add new item icon..
  9. 9Select visualization. Changes the appearance of the currently selected technique. For example, you can display a free-form technique as a table, pie chart, or line graph. Not all techniques have multiple visualizations.
  10. 10Dimensions. Dimensions are the things you want to analyze. Add dimensions to the Breakdown area in Tab Settings.
  11. 11Breakdown, Values, and additional configuration options. These vary by technique and allow you to customize the exploration.
  12. 12Visualization. Displays your data according to the current Tab Settings. To interact with the data , right-click a data point in the visualization.
  13. 13Metrics. Metrics provide the numbers in your exploration. Add metrics to the Values area in Tab Settings.
  14. 14Filters. Focus on the data that's most important to you. You can filter on dimensions, metrics, or both.

Create an exploration

  1. Click The Create icon. to create a blank exploration, or use a template to get started quickly.
  2. Select a technique to explore your data.
  3. In the Variables column (on the left), add items to the Dimensions and Metrics sections.
  4. Drag and drop the dimensions and metrics you added from the Variables panel to the Tab Settings panel.
    The options in Tab Settings vary by technique, and let you fine tune the data you see.
  5. Interact with the data by mousing over and clicking.
  6. Add segments and filters to refine the data.
  7. Create new segments from your data, and export your findings to Remarketing Audiences.

See below for more on creating and editing explorations.

Create an exploration from a report

  1. Open a report
  2. Click the comparison button
  3. Click Explore.

Add techniques to the exploration

Techniques control the way data is analyzed. The default technique for a new blank exploration is the free form table. You can add tabs with different (or the same) techniques:

  1. At the top, click Add new item icon..
  2. Select the technique for the new tab
  3. If desired, click the tab name to edit it.

To duplicate or remove a tab from the exploration, click the down arrow to the right of its name.

Add dimensions, metrics, and segments to Variables

In Explorations, the term variable refers to the dimensions, metrics, and segments that come from your Google Analytics account. These appear in the Variables and Tab Settings panels. New explorations you create come with a default set of variables. You can add more variables to make them available for use in your exploration, and to preload the data for faster visualization.

  1. In Variables, to the right of the DIMENSIONS, METRICS, or SEGMENTS section, click Add new item icon..
  2. Select the items you want from the list, then click IMPORT.

Use the search box to locate the dimension or metric faster.

You can apply up to 20 dimensions and 20 metrics to an exploration. To remove a field and make space for different fields, mouse over the field in Variables and click X.

Add data to Tab Settings

Adding a variable to Tab Settings applies its data to the technique in the current tab. To add data to a technique, you can:

  • Double-click a variable. That variable is applied to the Tab Settings in a default location. For example, double-clicking a dimension applies it to the ROWS section of a free form exploration, or to the BREAKDOWN DIMENSION section of a Funnel exploration.
  • Drag a variable from Variables to Tab Settings. When you begin to drag a variable, the possible landing spots are highlighted.
  • Click a landing spot in Tab Settings, then select the variable from the list.

Adjust the time frame

To change the time frame of an exploration:

  1. At the top of Variables, click the currently selected date range.
  2. Select a preset date range (e.g., "Last 28 days"), or use the calendar to select a custom date range (e.g., May 1st to May 31st).
  3. Click OK.

If you save an exploration with a preset date range, the exploration shows the last 28 days of data when you open the exploration. For example, you save an exploration on May 1st with the "Last 28 days" selected. If you were to open the exploration on June 1st, it would display data for May 4th to May 31st. It wouldn't show you data for April 3rd to April 30th.

If you save an exploration with a custom date range, the exploration has a fixed date range. For example, you save an exploration on May 1st with the custom date range May 1st to May 31st. If you open the exploration on June 1st, you will still see May 1st to May 31st.

Share and export the exploration

When you first create an exploration, only you can see it. You can share your insights with your colleagues:

In the upper right, click Share exploration Share analysis.. To share an exploration, you must have at least an Analyst role in the property.

Shared explorations can be viewed, but not edited, by anyone who has the Viewer role to the property. You must duplicate or copy a shared exploration in order to edit it. 

To export the data for use in other tools:

  1. In the upper right, click Export data Export data.
  2. Select the export format:
    1. Google Sheets
    2. TSV (tab separated values)
    3. CSV (comma separated values)
    4. PDF
    5. PDF (all tabs)

When you export to Sheets, TSV, or CSV formats, all the data available in the selected visualization is exported. This may be more data than is currently displayed. When you export to PDF, only the data currently displayed in the visualization is saved.

Adjust the default retention period

By default, Google Analytics 4 properties retain 2 months of data. To adjust this, go to Admin, then under Data collection and modification, click Data RetentionLearn more about data retention.

Limits of Explorations

Explorations is subject to the following limits:

  • You can create up to 200 individual explorations per user per property.
    • You can create up to 500 shared explorations per property.
  • You can apply up to 10 segments per exploration.
  • You can apply up to 10 filters per tab.

Sampling and data thresholds

You can use Explorations to quickly perform custom queries on large amounts of data. However, your explorations may be based on sampled data if more than 10 million events are part of a particular exploration query.

To protect user privacy, Explorations and Reports are subject to data thresholds. If your exploration includes demographic information or data provided by Google signals, the data may be filtered to remove data that might identify individual users.

When an exploration is subject to either sampling or data thresholds, the icon in the right corner of the exploration changes from green to yellow. A tooltip displays information about the data in the exploration.

Incompatible request

If your exploration contains an incompatible combination of dimensions, metrics or both you will see the incompatible request icon asking that you update the request.

Incompatible request.

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