Dimensions and metrics

[GA4] Default channel group

Learn how Analytics classifies your traffic.

This article covers Default channel groups in GA4 properties. Default channel grouping for Universal Analytics (UA) properties is covered in this article.

Default channel groups can't be edited in GA4. You have the option to create custom channel groups, which let you create your own rule-based categories of web-traffic sources.

We recently made improvements to default channel grouping for Google Analytics 4 properties. Learn more

Channels are rule-based definitions of your website's traffic sources that let you monitor the performance of all of the channels sending traffic to your website. You can find descriptions and definitions of the channels in the tables below.

You can see the default channels as values for the following dimensions:

Dimension Definition Attribution model Scope
Default channel group The channels by which users arrived at your site/app

Attribution model set for the property.

Default is data-driven attribution model

Event
Session default channel group The channels by which users arrived at your site/app when they initiated new sessions Paid and organic channels last click Session
First user default channel group The channels by which users first arrived at your site/app Paid and organic channels last click User

You can see the dimensions listed above in the Acquisition reports, the Advertising section, and if you include them in custom reports.

Default channel descriptions

Channel Description
Affiliates Affiliates is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via links on affiliate sites.
Audio Audio is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via ads on audio platforms (e.g., podcast platforms).
Cross-network Cross-network is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via ads that appear on a variety of networks (e.g., Search and Display).
Direct Direct is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via a saved link or by entering your URL.
Display Display is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via display ads, including ads on the Google Display Network.
Email Email is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via links in email.
Mobile Push Notifications Mobile Push Notifications is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via links in mobile-device messages when they're not actively using the app.
Organic Search Organic Search is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via non-ad links in organic-search results.
Organic Shopping Organic Shopping is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via non-ad links on shopping sites like Amazon or ebay.
Organic Social Organic Social is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via non-ad links on social sites like Facebook or Twitter.
Organic Video Organic Video is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via non-ad links on video sites like YouTube, TikTok, or Vimeo.
Paid Other Paid Other is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via ads, but not through an ad identified as Search, Social, Shopping, or Video.
Paid Search Paid Search is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via ads on search-engine sites like Bing, Baidu, or Google.
Paid Shopping Paid Shopping is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via paid ads on shopping sites like Amazon or ebay or on individual retailer sites.
Paid Social Paid Social is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via ads on social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Paid Video Paid Video is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via ads on video sites like TikTok, Vimeo, and YouTube.
Referral Referral is the channel by which users arrive at your site via non-ad links on other sites/apps (e.g., blogs, news sites).
SMS SMS is the channel by which users arrive at your site/app via links from text messages.

Default channel definitions

These definitions reflect Analytics' current view of what constitutes each channel. The following definitions are provided for your reference and may evolve as the market changes.

Channel definitions aren't case sensitive and can't be edited.

Channel Analytics definition

Channels for Google Ads traffic

Paid Shopping

Source platform is "Google Ads"

AND

Google Ads campaign type is "Shopping"

Paid Search

Source platform is "Google Ads"

AND

Google Ads ad network type is one of ("Google Search", "Google Partners")

Paid Video

Source platform is "Google Ads"

AND

Google Ads ad network type is one of ("YouTube Search", "YouTube Videos")

Display

Source platform is "Google Ads"

AND

Google Ads ad network type is one of ("Google Display Network")

Cross-network

Source platform is "Google Ads"

AND

Google Ads ad network type is one of ("Cross-network")

Cross-network includes Demand Gen, Performance Max and Smart Shopping.

Paid Social

Source platform is "Google Ads"

AND

Google Ads ad network type is one of ("Social")

Channels for Display & Video 360 traffic

Display

Source platform is "DV360"

AND

DV360 creative format is one of (“Standard", "Expandable", "Native site square", "Backdrop", "Templated app install interstitial", "Deprecated","Native app install", "Native app install square", "Native site", "Templated app install", "Lightbox”)

Paid Video

Source platform is "DV360"

AND

DV360 creative format is one of ("Native video", "Video", "Templated app install video", "Flipbook")

Audio

Source platform is "DV360"

AND

DV360 creative format is one of ("Audio")

Paid Other

Source platform is "DV360"

AND

DV360 creative format is one of ("Publisher hosted", "Tracking", "Unknown")

Channels for Campaign Manager 360 traffic via Floodlight integration

Display

Source platform is "CM360"

AND

CM360 creative format is one of ("Display redirect", "Custom display", "Custom display interstitial", "Rich Media display banner", "Display", "Internal Redirect", "Interstitial internal redirect", "Flash in-page", "HTML5 Banner", "Rich Media display banner with floating", "Rich Media IM expand", "Rich Media display expanding", "Rich Media mobile in-app", "Rich Media display interstitial", "Rich Media display multi-floating interstitial", "Rich Media peel-down", "Display image gallery", "Image")

Paid Video

Source platform is "CM360"

AND

CM360 creative format is one of ("In-Stream Video", "Streaming Real", "Streaming Windows", "Streaming Flash", "In-Stream Tracking", "Streaming Silverlight", "Video Redirect", "VPAID linear video", "VPAID non-linear video")

Audio

Source platform is "CM360"

AND

CM360 creative format is one of ("In-Stream Audio", "Audio Redirect")

Paid Other

Source platform is "CM360"

AND

CM360 creative format is one of ("Tracking", "Tracking Image", "Tracking HTML")

Channels for Search Ads 360 traffic

(The following are channels for non Google Ads traffic; the channels for Google Ads traffic are the same as those listed at the beginning of this table under "Channels for Google Ads traffic")

Paid Search

Source platform is "SA360"

AND

SA360 engine account type is one of ("bing", "yahoo gemini", "yahoo.jp", "baidu", "admarketplace", "naver", "360.cn", "yandex")

Paid Social

Source platform is "SA360"

AND

SA360 engine account type Is one of ("facebook", "twitter")

Channels for Merchant Center traffic

Organic Shopping Source platform is "Shopping Free Listings"

Channels for manual traffic

(See Analytics' list of sources and categories)

Direct

Source exactly matches "(direct)"

AND

Medium is one of ("(not set)", "(none)")

Cross-network

Campaign Name contains "cross-network"

Cross-network includes Demand Gen, Performance Max and Smart Shopping.

Paid Shopping

(Source matches a list of shopping sites

OR

Campaign Name matches regex ^(.*(([^a-df-z]|^)shop|shopping).*)$)

AND

Medium matches regex ^(.*cp.*|ppc|retargeting|paid.*)$

Paid Search

Source matches a list of search sites

AND

Medium matches regex ^(.*cp.*|ppc|retargeting|paid.*)$

Paid Social

Source matches a regex list of social sites

AND

Medium matches regex ^(.*cp.*|ppc|retargeting|paid.*)$

Paid Video

Source matches a list of video sites

AND

Medium matches regex ^(.*cp.*|ppc|retargeting|paid.*)$

Display

Medium is one of (“display”, “banner”, “expandable”, “interstitial”, “cpm”)

Paid Other Medium matches regex ^(.*cp.*|ppc|retargeting|paid.*)$
Organic Shopping

Source matches a list of shopping sites

OR

Campaign name matches regex ^(.*(([^a-df-z]|^)shop|shopping).*)$

Organic Social

Source matches a regex list of social sites

OR

Medium is one of (“social”, “social-network”, “social-media”, “sm”, “social network”, “social media”)

Organic Video

Source matches a list of video sites

OR

Medium matches regex ^(.*video.*)$

Organic Search

Source matches a list of search sites

OR

Medium exactly matches organic

Referral

Medium is one of ("referral", "app", or "link")

Email

Source = email|e-mail|e_mail|e mail

OR

Medium = email|e-mail|e_mail|e mail

Affiliates

Medium = affiliate

Audio

Medium exactly matches audio

SMS

Source exactly matches sms

OR

Medium exactly matches sms

Mobile Push Notifications

Medium ends with "push"

OR

Medium contains "mobile" or "notification"

OR

Source exactly matches "firebase"


Unassigned is the value Analytics uses when there are no other channel rules that match the event data.

(other) is the value Analytics uses for an aggregated row due to cardinality limits. Learn more

You may see inconsistent data from Analytics integrations for default channel groups if your reports or explorations include dates prior to June 15, 2022. For example, a channel that should be identified as Organic Shopping can be misidentified as Organic Search. Data from June 15, 2022 and later is not subject to this type of inconsistency. You can accurately identify the data from each integration by using the source platform dimension.

Editing the default channel group

It's not possible to edit the GA4 default channel group because Google maintains a universal default for all users that can be kept current, accurate, and serve as a reference for the life of every property.

You can edit the primary channel group at any time, which serves as your property's editable default channel group.

Learn How to enable the primary channel group.

Analytics' list of sources and categories

If you would like us to add your search, social, video, or shopping site to the list or if you would like to make a change to your current listing, contact us at googleanalytics-channelgrouprequests@google.com. Google Analytics reviews these requests at least once per year and often more frequently. Inclusion is based on Google’s assessment of a number of factors including but not limited to whether a significant volume of traffic is sourced from a given search engine, social site, or shopping site.

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