This article is about Google Analytics 4 properties. Refer to the Universal Analytics section if you're still using a Universal Analytics property, which will stop processing data on July 1, 2023 (October 1, 2023 for Analytics 360 properties).

[GA4] User exploration

Explore segments of users and drill into individual user activities.

The user exploration technique lets you select specific groups of users, such as users who engaged with your property on both your app and website, and drill down on each individual user's activities. Understanding individual behavior is important when you want to personalize the user experience, or when you need to gain insight into or troubleshoot a specific user flow: for example if you want to analyze the behavior of a user who has an unusually high average order value, or see where a user ran into trouble with placing an order.

In this article:

Create a user exploration

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
  2. On the left, select Explore.
    1. The Explorations workspace appears.
  1. At the top of the screen, click Template Gallery, then select the User exploration template.
  2. Configure your exploration using the options described below.

You can also create a user exploration based on values in your current visualization:

  1. Select an existing visualization or create a new one.
  2. Make any desired customizations (add dimensions and metrics, apply a filter or segment, or change the date range).
  3. Right-click a data point in the visualization.
  4. Select View users.

A new user exploration tab opens. The customizations you applied to the previous technique are applied as a temporary segment in the user exploration.

Temporary segments appear with a dashed border on the left. Click the segment to to edit or save it.

How the user exploration works

The user exploration displays the users who make up an existing segment, or who make up the temporary segment that results from using other Explorations techniques. You can drill down into the list to see detailed information about individual users, including how and when that user was acquired, summary metrics for that user, and a timeline of their activities on your site or app. You can create a segment from different events the user has taken to see if other users also take similar actions going forward.

Customize the user exploration

Device ID and Stream Name are required and are the only dimensions possible. However, you can change the metrics by adding or removing them in the Values section of the Tab Settings panel.

Adjust the rows

By default, the user exploration shows your top 10 users by sessions. To adjust the number of users shown, in Tab Settings:

  • Show rows increases or decreases the number of rows in the list.
  • Start row determines which row starts the list.
  • Sort the list by clicking a metric column title.
  • Cell type lets you show metrics in the list as plain text, or enhance the visual display with colored bars or heat maps.

Apply a segment

Drag an existing segment from the list on the far left to the segment target in the settings panel. You can then explore the users defined by that segment.

Apply a filter

You can restrict the data shown in the user exploration list by applying a filter based on one or more dimension or metrics. If your filter includes multiple conditions, those conditions are applied using AND logic.

Change the reporting time period

Use the calendar options in the Variables panel on the far left to adjust the time frame and compare to data in a previous period.

View individual user activity

You can view activity for individual users by clicking a specific record in the user exploration table.

This will show you detailed information about how and when this user was acquired, along with a timeline of events triggered by that user on your site or app grouped by date.

Customize the activity list

On the left, use the options in the TIMELINE section to:

  • Show selected events
  • Display the timeline as a collapsed or expanded list
  • Sort the events in the timeline

Create a segment from individual users

In the timeline, you can create a segment of all users with a specific set of events by selecting one or more individual events. Then in the upper right, click CREATE SEGMENT. You can edit the resulting segment, as needed, then save it for use in further exploration or reporting.

Delete user data

WARNING: Requesting deletion of user data is not reversible.


In the upper right, click Remove.

The currently displayed user's data will stop displaying in the user exploration within 24 hours, and will be PERMANENTLY REMOVED within the next 63 days.

Deleting data by anonymous ID

If you collect user IDs and you want to delete any or all of the data associated with an anonymous ID that is also associated with one of those users, you can use the Analytics interface as described below. You can also use the User Deletion API to delete data programmatically.

You need to apply your own method of making the association between the user ID and the anonymous ID: Analytics does not offer this type of functionality.

When a user is logged in, event data associated with that user is identified by the user ID you provide. When the user is logged out, that user's event data is identified by an anonymous ID.

To see all of a user's event data identified by only the anonymous ID, you need to change the reporting identity from By User-ID and device to By device only:

  1. In Admin, make sure that you have the desired account and property selected.
  2. In the Property column, click Default Reporting Identity.
  3. Select By device only.
  4. Click Save.

After you change the reporting identity:

  1. Open a new user exploration to see the full list of anonymous IDs.
  2. Select the ID associated with the data you want to delete.
  3. In the upper right, click Remove to delete that user's data.
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