Where to Find Outbound Click Data in Google Analytics 4 Reports?
When you started working with Google Analytics 4, you probably heard about its automatic event tracking capabilities. Unlike its predecessor (Universal Analytics), GA4 can track scrolling, file downloads, outbound clicks, embedded Youtube video interactions, etc. without little to no configuration.
But when you try to check Google Analytics 4 reports, that part might look confusing. Where can you find that data? How can you know which particular links were clicked?
In this quick guide, I will show you what you need to do to see outbound click data in Google Analytics 4.
Wait for up to 24 hours
When you install Google Analytics 4 (with Enhanced measurement) on a website, you will need to wait for up to 24 hours to start seeing data in non-real-time reports. From what I’ve seen, the delay is longer compared to Universal Analytics (GA3).
Where to find event counts?
When you enable Enhanced Measurement and a visitor of your website clicks an outbound link (that redirects a visitor to an external website), Google Analytics will track an event called click.
You can find the event counts by going to Reports > Engagement > Events. Then in the search field, enter click.
Where to find WHAT outbound links were clicked?
Even though GA4 is automatically tracking the URLs that were clicked, they are not available in the reports unless you do additional configuration. You must tell GA4 that you want to start seeing Link URLs in the reports.
Go to Configure > Custom Definitions > Create Custom Dimensions…
and enter the following settings:
In the event_parameter field, you must enter precisely “link_url” (without quotation marks). Also, make sure that you have selected the “Event” scope. Save this dimension. Learn more about how custom dimensions work in Google Analytics 4.
Now, wait for the next day. After that, you will be able to use that Link URL custom dimension in your GA4 reports.
IMPORTANT: this Link URL parameter that you have just configured does NOT apply to past data. You still start seeing Link URL in your reports only from the moment you created it in GA4.
Go to Reports > Engagement > Events. Then find the click event.
Then click the Plus icon and select the Link URL custom dimension (you will find it in the Custom (Event-scoped) section).
Now you have the report of all click events and their Link URL values.
Free Form Exploration Report
Another option is to use the Free Form report. Go to Explore > Free Form.
Then in the Dimensions section of the Variables column, click the plus icon. Find the Link URL dimension and add it.
Then in the Tab Settings, remove City and Device category (or any other dimensions that are available there). Drag the Link URL from the Variables column to the Tab Settings column.
In the values section, remove the Active Users metric, include Event Count.
Finally, in the Filters section, add the following filter: Event Name exactly matches click. Apply.
The final result will be a table with all the outbound links that were clicked by your website visitors.
If you are just starting with Google Analytics 4, this Free Form report can definitely look confusing. Learn more about how to work with it here.
To sum up, if you want to see the Link URL in your reports, you will have to register it as a custom dimension. This is a very weird design choice knowing that the parameter is tracked automatically by GA4. Hopefully, this will change in the future.