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You can be smart about how you spend your time and resources when you know how people get to your site. Are people checking out your site after they visit your Instagram page? Are Google search ads the only reason anyone ever comes to your site?

We’re about to share steps to pull up a report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the latest version of Google’s web analytics tool released about one year ago. A lot of marketers are currently living in this limbo between adopting GA4 and abandoning Universal Analytics, the older version of this tool.

So here’s for all of you who haven’t pulled up a report like this is GA4 yet.

  1. Click to expand Life cycle reports
  2. Click to expand Acquisition reports
  3. Select the User acquisition report
  4. Select the First user medium option in the column 1 dropdown menu
  5. Click on the New users heading for column 2, so the rows are ordered by channels with the most users.

And that’s it. Easy peasy. Now you can easily see which channels are the most and least responsible for bringing people to your site for their first time.

Source: Ahrefs

These are the channels GA4 identifies by default:

  • Direct, a person typed in one of your site’s URLs. Like if you got to our site by typing in “”
  • Organic, a person found your page through Google, or some other search engine, like Bing.
  • Referrals, a person clicked on a link from another site’s page (not a search engine) that led to your site.
  • Email, a person came to your site through an email campaign you sent out, like if you link to a blog post in your company newsletter and someone clicks on that link to read the blog.
  • Social, a person clicked a link in your company’s social account and the link brought them to your site.
  • Paid search, a person clicks on a Google search ad to get to your site, or another search engine ad (like AOL or Bing).
  • Display, a person clicked an ad that appeared on another webpage, like one of the 400 ads that keep you from actually reading the chili recipe you looked up for dinner tonight. Those are display ads.
  • Affiliates, a person clicked on a link that was shared by an affiliate, someone who shares your product with their audience and in return you compensate them, usually with a percentage of the sales that they get you.
  • Other, the traffic that Google doesn’t know what to do with.

You don’t necessarily need to spend the most time and energy on whichever channel ranks first for you in this report. But that wouldn’t be a terrible strategy.

This report can also help you check on assumptions you have for how people are first convinced to visit your site. It could show you that a certain channel needs a lot more time and energy, if you want it to share a piece of the traffic pie. Or, it could be the evidence you take to your boss to justify the budget you want for a paid ad campaign.

However you use it, this is a simple but powerful report to check regularly.

Keep marketing like mad, guys. 🥂