How to track the session number in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

You need to track the session number in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to analyse the first interaction of your app or website users. This is highly critical for all types of companies. 

For instance, if you are a SaaS business and want to analyse the first user session of your product and see what features users use the most and what features they use the least, you should have this parameter in GA4. This will help you to improve your onboarding flow and convert more free trial users to paid customers. 

If you are an E-commerce company, apart from splitting users into returning and new users, you can want to see the first session of the new users and see what else you can do to improve the users’ flow. All of that will boost your revenue.

Therefore, tracking the session number and their orders is viable for every business nowadays. People who created GA4 understood that. Therefore, there are two ways to enable the session number metric. Let’s look at them more carefully. 

Option #1: Session number in GA4 Explorations

Option #1 - Create Segment
Option #1: Build a segment in GA4

As I mentioned above, there are two methods. The first one is to go to GA4 -> Exploration -> Create a new report. After that, add all necessary metrics and dimensions to the GA4 report. 

To see the events for the first session, create a session segment with the following parameters:

  1. Session Number “exactly matches” 1
  2. Name it “First User Sessions.”

If you make everything right, GA4 will start to show the events generated by users within their first session. If you want to analyse the second or the third session, feel free to adjust “1” to “2” or “3”. 

This parameter is critical when you use “Funnel exploration” or “Path exploration”  in GA4 Explorations. 

Option #2: Session number as a custom dimension

Option #2 - Create a custom dimension
Option #2: Create a custom dimension in GA4

If you find yourself limited sometimes with the option offered above. You can use the second method. It’s to create a custom dimension “session_number”. GA4 collects the “ga_session_number” parameter with the default “session_start” event. 

Therefore, we can use this parameter for the custom dimension. To create a custom dimension, go to GA4 -> Admin -> Custom definitions and click “Create custom dimensions”. After that, you should provide the following parameters:

  1. Dimension name “session_number”
  2. Event parameter “ga_session_number”

After you save the custom dimension, please remember that GA4 needs some time to collect it. Therefore, you will be able to use this custom dimension only tomorrow.

Final Thought

When you analyse users’ behaviour or journey, it’s essential to segment users based on the session number. Therefore, I showed you two methods in this article on how to do it in GA4. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below.

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