[GA4] Create, edit, and archive audiences

This article is for website and/or app owners who want to create audiences for reporting in Analytics and for export to ad platforms for remarketing.

Audiences let you segment your users in the ways that are important to your business. You can segment by dimensions, metrics, and events to include practically any subset of users.

As Analytics gets new data about users, their audience memberships are reevaluated to ensure they still meet the audience criteria. If the latest data indicate they no longer meet the criteria, they are removed from those audiences.

If you link your Analytics account to Google Ads, then your audiences are available in your shared library in Google Ads, and you can use them in your ad campaigns. You can remarket to existing or previous users, and you can create similar audiences to prospect for new users.

The user lists in Ads that correspond to your audiences are prepopulated with up to 30 days of data when that data is available.

In this article:

Management table

The table lists predefined audiences and ones you have customized. The following audiences are predefined:

  • All users: Users who have ever launched your app or visited your website.
  • Purchasers: Users who have completed an in-app purchase or ecommerce purchase.

Click an audience in the table to see a detailed report for that audience. The user metrics in this report count users who were active during the date range you're using for the report (as opposed to counting the total number of users in the audience).

Duplicate, edit, archive, apply to dashboards

Click action menu at the far right of a row to duplicate, edit, archive, or apply the audience to your dashboard.

 

You need Edit permission for the property in which you want to create the audience.

There is a limit of 100 audiences per property.

You can publish an audience to an unlimited number of destinations.

You can publish a maximum of 100 audiences to Analytics.

Create an audience

You create an audience by setting conditions based on the dimension, metric, and event data you collect from a property. After you create an audience, it accumulates users who meet the conditions from that point onward.

When you create a new audience, it can take 24-48 hours for the audience to accumulate users.

Scope

When you set conditions, you set the scope of when the conditions must be met: across all sessions, in a single session, or in a single event.

Static vs. dynamic evaluation

Conditions support static and dynamic evaluation. Static evaluation includes users if the condition was ever true for them. Dynamic evaluation includes users when they meet the condition and excludes them when they do not.

Time-windowed metrics

Conditions also support time-windowed metrics: you can specify that a metric condition can be true during any point in the lifetime of a user or that it must be true during a specific number of days (e.g., > 5 during any 7 day period).

Sequences

Sequences let you specify the order in which conditions must be met: indirectly followed by (anytime after the previous step), directly followed by (immediately after the previous step), or within a specific timeframe. Sequences also let you specify scope for the entire sequence.

After you create an audience

After you create an audience, it accumulates users who meet the conditions from that point onward.

When you create an audience that is exported to Google Ads, Analytics adds any users who have met the audience criteria during the last 30 days (assuming you have at least 30 days of data).

As you define your audience, the Summary card updates with the number of users who have met your criteria during the last 30 days so you have an idea of potential audience size.

Create

To create an audience:

  1. On the left, click Audiences > New audience.
  2. You have three options for creating an audience:

 

The image below identifies the different controls you use when you build an audience.

 

Create a new audience

  1. Click New audience.
  2. Click Create a custom audience.
  3. Enter a name and description for the audience. This name and description let you identify the audience in the management table.
  4. Click Add new condition to add users who meet conditions based on dimensions, metrics, and events. For example: Age is one of 18-24, 25-34.
    • Set the scope of the condition. Use the menu at the top right to choose an option:
      • Across all sessions: all conditions must be met during the lifetime of the user
      • Within the same session: all conditions must be met within the same session (Learn more about how sessions are calculated)
      • Within the same event: all conditions must be met in a single event
    • Dimensions
      • Conditions support static and dynamic evaluation of dimensions. Select At any point to include users if they ever met the condition (static evaluation). If you don't select this option, then user evaluation for an audience is dynamic: users are added to an audience when they meet the conditions and then removed when they no longer meet them.
    • Metrics
      • Conditions support time-windowed metrics. For example: LTV > 5 in any 7 day period
      • Select the in any ___ day period option to use a time-windowed count vs. a lifetime count.
    • Events
      • Conditions support dynamic lookback for events when the scope is Across all sessions and you select the event_count parameter.
        • The greater-than (>) operator is the only option. Enter a value.
        • Turn on the switch for Time Period.
          Select either:
          At any point in time (condition is true if event_count ever matched)
          or
          Most recent time period (condition is true if event_count matched during the past number of days you specify). (This option is currently available only in limited beta.)
          Enter the number of days for the time period.
    • Add OR or AND conditions as necessary.

    See examples of using this part of the audience builder.

  5. Click Add condition group to add another condition.
  6. Click Add sequence to add users who meet conditions that occur in a specific order, and optionally within a specific time period. For example: Step 1: first_open, Step 2: in_app_purchase.
    • Set the scope of the sequence: Across all sessions, Within the same session.
    • Set Time Constraint to ON, and define the time period in which the whole sequence must occur (e.g., 30 Minutes).
    • Set the scope for Step 1: Across all sessions, Within the same session, Within the same event.
    • Configure the condition for Step 1.
    • Click Add step for each additional step you want to include in the sequence.
      • Select is indirectly followed by if the additional step can occur any time after the previous step.
      • Select is directly followed by if the additional step has to occur immediately after the previous step.
      • Select Within to define the maximum amount of time between steps.
      • Set the scope for the step.

    See examples of using this part of the audience builder.

  7. Click Add group to exclude to create a condition that excludes specific users.

    Select Temporarily exclude users when to exclude users from the audience during periods when they meet the condition.

    Select Permanently exclude users when to exclude users from the audience if they've ever met the condition.

    Users are first evaluated by INCLUDE conditions, and then any EXCLUDE conditions. If they meet the EXCLUDE conditions, they are not added to the audience.

    See examples of using this part of the audience builder.
  8. Membership duration: Enter the number of days that users remain in the audience (1 - 540).

    Select Set to maximum limit to use the maximum duration in systems that allow for more than 540 days (e.g., Google Analytics, Firebase Cloud Messaging).

    Each time a user engages in behavior that meets the criteria for being included in the audience, then that user's membership duration is reset to the full value of this option.
  9. Click Save to save your conditions and create the audience.

Use a template

Audience templates are partially configured audiences that already identify a set of dimensions and/or metrics that form the basis of widely applicable audiences for app- and web-based businesses.

For example, the Demographics template includes the Age, Gender, Language, Interest IDs, and Location dimensions that you can use to define a particular audience in which you're interested. Using this template, you supply the operators and dimension values that define the audience you want, e.g.:

  • Age exactly matches 18-24
  • Gender exactly matches female
  • etc.

After you complete the audience definition, enter a name, and click Save.

Select a suggested audience

Analytics also provides a number of fully configured audiences that you can use as is or modify if necessary.

For example, the Recently active users audience is defined as follows:

  • Include Users when (event =) user_engagement

You can use the audience as is, or you can add conditions or sequences, or change the membership duration as necessary.

Use the default name or enter a new name, then click Save.

Share audiences with Google Ads for use in remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA)

If you have linked Google Ads to Firebase, then your audiences are automatically shared with Google Ads for use in remarketing lists for search ads.

An audience accumulates users who meet the specified criteria from the point of creation onward by virtue of the events that their devices log. When defining new audiences, it may take some time for the lists to populate.

Note that audience size will typically be different from remarketing-list size. This is usually because tracking IDs can't be sent to Google Ads remarketing lists until Google Ads accounts are linked.

Edit an audience

After you create an audience, you can edit only the name and description.

To edit an audience:

  1. In Analytics, navigate to your reports.
  2. Click Audiences.
  3. In the row for the audience, click More > Edit.
  4. Edit the name or description.
  5. Click Save.

Archive an audience

If you have reached your limit of 100 audiences and need to create new ones, you can archive the ones that are no longer relevant, and then create new ones.

To archive an audience:

  1. In Analytics, navigate to your reports.
  2. Click Audiences.
  3. In the row for that audience, click More > Archive.

Detailed step examples

Step 4: Add new conditions

When you build a condition, start with setting the scope.

 

Then choose the data you want as the basis of the condition. Click Add new condition to open a list of dimensions, metrics, and events.

Dimensions

Dimensions are listed by category.

 

When you choose a dimension, you also choose an operator and specify the value for the dimension. For example, if you choose Age, then you also choose either is one of or is not one of as the operator, and you specify one of the age ranges as the value.

 

You can also select At any point if you want the audience to include users who ever met the condition.

The operators change depending on the dimension you choose. For example, if you choose the Gaming dimension Virtual currency, then the available operators are begins with, ends with, contains, exactly matches, and is one of.

When you specify a value for a dimension with these operators, you usually provide the value by entering text in the Value field, though you might also have the option to select a value from a control like a calendar or list. If you are required to enter text, Analytics will display any known values as you type, and you can select one of those if appropriate.

Metrics

When you choose a metric, the condition is evaluated on how the user's data compares to the metric value. As with dimensions, you choose an operator and specify a value.

 

For example, to be included in the audience, the user's lifetime value has to be greater than (>) the value you specify.

The In any ___ day period option lets you specify whether the cumulative value of the metric meets the condition or whether the value of the metric during a specific number of days meets the condition. For example, based on all data for the user, does the cumulative value of the metric exceed 100 or did it exceed 100 during any 7-day period? If you do not select the option, then the cumulative value of the metric is used. If you select the option, the value must have occurred during any period that matches the number of days you specify as the time frame.

Events

You can choose from any of the events you collect, for example, first_visit.

When you choose an event, you also choose one of the event parameters.

Numeric parameter values

If you choose a parameter like event_count that has a numeric value, then you also choose a comparative operator (e.g., <, >, =) and enter the numeric value you want to use (e.g., > 0).

 

If the numeric parameter is event_count and the scope is Across all sessions, then you can also specify whether the cumulative value matches your condition, or whether the value matched your condition during a defined time period.

To have the cumulative value match your condition, turn off the switch for Time Period (the switch is off by default).

To specify that the value matched your condition during a defined time period:

  1. Turn on the switch for Time Period.
  2. Enter the number of days.
  3. Select Any point in time if you want to include users whose parameter value ever met the condition during an N-day period (e.g., any 7-day period).

    Select Most recent time period if you want to include only users whose parameter value met the condition within the most recent N days (e.g., the most recent 7 days).
Text parameter values

If you choose a parameter like content that has a text value and generates a dimension in Analytics, then you choose one of the available operators begins with, ends with, contains, exactly matches, or is one of, and enter the text value you want to use.

 

If you need to add more conditions, click Add condition group and define the conditions according to the preceding steps.

 

If you need to remove a condition, hover over the condition and click X.

 

Return to Step 4

Step 6: Add sequences

If it's necessary to the audience definition that user behavior occurs in a particular order, then you can add one or more sequences.

When you define a sequence, start with settng the scope of the entire sequence.

 

If the steps of the sequence need to happen within a specified amount of time, then turn on the time constraint and set the amount of time.

 

Set the scope for the first step of the sequence.

 

Create the conditions for the step using the same methods you use in Step 4.

Click Add step to add another step to the sequence.

 

When you add another step to a sequence, you select either:

  • is indirectly followed by (the next step happens anytime after the previous step)
    or
  • is directly followed by (the next step happens immediately after the previous step)

 

Return to Step 6

Step 7: Add group to exclude

You can define conditions that either temporarily or permanently exclude users.

For example, if you create an audience of high-value monthly buyers, you can exclude users anytime their lifetime value (LTV) metric falls below 100 during a 30-day period.

 

Or if your audience includes users in a specific age range (e.g., 18-24), you might want to permanently exclude them when they are no longer in that age bracket (e.g., when they enter the 25-34 bracket).

 

You would use a sequence to accomplish this change in membership: users are included when their age is initially within the age group you define and then excluded anytime after when it is not in that age group.

 

Return to Step 7

Why your audiences may not be populating in Google Ads

If the audiences you're exporting to Google Ads are not populating, try some of the following diagnostic methods to uncover problems.

Verify that you have enabled Google Ads remarketing

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9313634

Check the audience-source card in Google Ads

In Google Ads > Audience Manager > Audience Sources, check the card for Google Analytics (GA4) and Firebase to make sure that the users you've identified for your audience are triggering events on your site or app. If users who fit the definition of your audience are not triggering events, then they won't be added to the audience in Google Ads.

Check the Audiences report in Analytics

In Analytics, click Audiences on the left, and in the list that appears, click the audience in question to see whether the users who match your audience definition are engaging with your site or app in sufficient numbers. If not, review the audience definition as described in the next section.

Review the audience definition in Analytics

If you've defined your audience too narrowly, you might not be getting the numbers of users you want. For example, if you've defined the audience to include only users whose In-market interest ID = Media & Entertainment/Books, you might revise that to the broader ID Media & Entertainment. Or you could expand the geographic parameters from City ID = City A to City ID = City A or City B.

See whether you've excluded events or user properties from ads personalization

If you've excluded events or user properties from ads personalization, then audiences based on that data won't be exported from Analytics to your ad platforms, including Google Ads.

See whether you've excluded geographic regions from ads personalization

If you've disabled ads personalization for a specific region, then users from that region who would be added to your audience in Analytics will not be added to your remarketing lists in the ad platforms to which you export audiences, including Google Ads.

If you're using Google Marketing Platform ad products on your site, make sure your webpages are setting the remarketing cookie

If your audience is configured to use demographics and interests data, then your webpage needs to set the DoubleClick cookie so Analytics can retrieve that data about users.

To verify that the page is setting the cookie, use your browser's developer tools to make sure the page is making network calls to https://stats.g.doubleclick.net. The following example shows you how to use the Chrome developer tools.

  1. In Chrome, open the webpage (e.g., www.example.com).
  2. Open the Chrome developer tools (click More > More Tools > Developer Tools).
  3. Open the Network tab, and select Preserve log so you can capture the network calls.
  4. Refresh the webpage.
  5. In the Network tab, search for instances of network calls to https://stats.g.doubleclick.net that include /collect with either of the following parameters:
    • t=dc (doubleclick.net for display ads)
    • t=ga-audience (google.com for search ads)

If these calls are present, then your audience should be populating as expected.

Learn more about how Google Marketing Platform advertising products use cookies.

Related resource

Download the "Linking analytics and ads" playbook

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