Welcome to blog post six in the Google Analytics 4 in 400 Words Series.

Segments versus Comparisons

In Universal Analytics (UA), Segments enable quick analysis for questions like “What is user behavior like on Tablet and Mobile devices?”

In Google Analytics 4(GA4), Segments have been replaced by Comparisons. Comparisons currently take the place of both Segments and View Filters, although Google may introduce new features around filtering over time.

This blog post will explore the Comparison feature, how it differs from Segments, and what you need to know to get started with it.

Creating Comparisons

Comparisons allow you to evaluate subsets of data side-by-side, like Android versus iOS data.

From the primary GA4 reports, create a comparison by clicking on the “Add Comparison” button (1) or the first icon on the right (2). 

Comparison Limitations

Comparisons are not currently as robust as Segments and it’s important to be aware of some key limitations, including: 

  1. While metrics can be used in Audiences (more on this in the next blog post), they are not currently supported in Comparison definitions. For example, you cannot create Comparisons of users spending more or less than $100.
  1. Up to 4 comparisons can be added and each comparison can be composed of up to 5 conditions. Although only 4 Segments can be added in UA reports, more conditions can be used.
  1. Values selected per condition are separated by OR logic and each condition is separated by AND logic. Segments in UA allow greater customization in AND/OR separators. 
  1. Comparisons are ad-hoc and cannot be saved for future uses or shared between users. Like Segments, they will follow you from report to report but are not accessible after being removed.

Attribution Models in Comparisons

Applying custom attribution models in UA is limited to the Multi-channel Funnel Reports. You can evaluate any GA4 report using one of four attribution models that are set in the Comparison panel.

  • Cross-channel last click: The standard model used in UA
  • Cross-channel last engagement: Conversion attributed to last click, or to an ad impression if there’s no recent click 
  • Google Ads preferred last click: Conversion attributed to Ads whether or not there’s a click from another source
  • Google Ads preferred last engagement: Conversion attributed to Ads whether or not there’s a click or ad impression from another source

What’s Next? 

In the next “GA4 in 400 Words” post, we’ll explore Audiences in GA4 and how you can use them to maximize your Comparison reporting.

Check out all the posts from the GA4 in 400 Words series for the topic most interesting and relevant to you:

  1. Post 1: Why Your Business Needs GA4
  2. Post 2: Dual Tagging with Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics
  3. Post 3: Account Structure in GA4 
  4. Post 4: Google Analytics 4 Events
  5. Post 5: Maximizing User Journey Reporting
  6. Post 6: Reporting and Comparisons
  7. Post 7: Audiences and Re-marketing in GA4

Learn more about Evolytics’ Google Analytics Services or Contact Us to talk strategies for your business or organization.

Written By


This post is curated content from the Evolytics staff, bringing you the most interesting news in data and analysis from around the web. The Evolytics staff has proven experience and expertise in analytics strategy, tagging implementation, data engineering, and data visualization.