Deciphering GA4: Understanding the latest change from 'Conversions' to 'Key Events' 

Recent changes in Google Analytics can be confusing, especially regarding terminology. Fortunately, we have Vero, our Senior Web Marketing Analyst & Data Analyst at All Around, to clarify any doubts about it. 

In this article, Vero explores how Google has changed the way we refer to conversions in GA4, now called “key events”. This change, while it may seem merely semantic, has significant implications for how we interpret data and how it is presented in reports. 

Let’s see how these adjustments impact our understanding of metrics and interpretation of results. 

Changes in Google Analytics Terminology: Key Events 

Google has implemented a change in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to clarify the differences between conversions in GA4 and conversions in Google Ads. 

Essentially, what we knew as conversions in GA4 are now referred to as “key events”. Though the name changes, the essence and functionality remain intact. Labelling, activation, and report visualization methods do not vary; only the term used to refer to these actions changes. 

This new terminology also applies to other related metrics. For example, what was previously called “Session Conversion Rate” is now known as “Session Key Event Rate”. 

How does this solve the discrepancy problem? 

Conversions (sorry, key events now!) in GA4 have their own settings, which are not always the same as the settings for conversions in Google Ads. Whether due to differences in attribution models or conversion windows, it became common for values between tools to always be different. 

Google decided to tackle the problem from the nomenclature between conversions vs. key events, stopping calling two different elements by the same name. That’s why in Google Ads we talk about conversions and in GA4 we talk about key events. 

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Analytics Update: Conversions and Key Events

Reporting Visualization 

Within GA4, Google Ads conversions are exclusively displayed in the “Advertising” section of reports. From now on, whenever you see any reference to conversions, it will be about those imported into Google Ads. On the other hand, key events are found under the “Attribution” category. 

How might this change affect you in your day-to-day? 

First of all, it’s important to understand this change, especially if you’re accustomed to the previous terminology. If you’re new to the reports, the explanation about the discrepancies between GA4 and Google Ads will be shorter: they are two different things, and that’s why they are called differently. 

Regarding how we measure the user journey, we will be able to identify key events that weigh on the path to conversion (yes, I know, it could already be done before), and clearly identify which is the unique and desired key event as conversion in our Google Ads campaigns. 

In GA4 reports, it’s clear what corresponds to Google Ads in the Campaigns vs. Attribution section; but for those of us who mainly use dashboards, it will be advisable to add a clarification about this modification until everyone internalizes this change (especially if they are going to include key events and conversions within the same graph). 

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Vero Diaz


Data and Analytics Specialist

Verónica (Vero) is Senior Web Marketing Analyst & Data Analyst at All Around. With over 8 years of experience as a Data Analyst in several top global agencies, she specializes in extracting valuable insights from complex datasets to drive digital marketing strategies. Proficient in web analytics platforms as well as data visualization tools, Vero is highly skilled at transforming data into actionable recommendations and solutions tailored to our clients' needs.