Hello Key Events, See you later Conversions

Conversions are becoming Key Events in GA4.


Event → Key Event → Conversion

GA4 is constantly changing. In March 2024, Google released a major name update to one of the most valued dimensions in the platform.

Previously known as Goals in GUA, Conversions became the new KPI in GA4 and were meant to mirror the naming conversion in paid advertising platforms like Google Ads. 

With the new major update Google is trying to differentiate between the KPIs imported into Google ads and those that were not. Here is the breakdown of the changes:

Events - this is not changing. You can still find your Event reports in the same place in GA4

Key Events - this is the dimension previously called Conversions in GA4. Any website interactions that you consider to be an important KPI can be toggled to become a Key Event. For example, you can mark an important event like a purchase or newsletter subscription as a Key Event. This will appear as a Key Event metric in Analytics reports.

GA4 Key Events

Conversions - these are only those Key Events that are imported into Google Ads. Going forward you can find them in the advertising section of GA4 in the Google Ads reports. These conversions are shared between Google Ads and Google Analytics for consistent reporting, and are eligible for bidding in Google Ads.

Additionally you can import any Event into Google Ads as a Conversion. However in this case it will be automatically marked as a Key Event in your GA4 property.

How are Conversions Different From Key Events?

In Google Analytics, you can track important events with "Key Events." These actions can then be used in Google Ads, where they become "conversions" for reporting on ad performance and making improvements.

This update mainly affects the way things are labeled within the platform itself, not the underlying functionality.  So essentially, you're tracking the same important actions, just under a new name within Google Analytics.

What else is impacted by this change?

Google Analytics Key Events

Conversions related metrics were also impacted with the following available in Exploration reports:

    • User Key Event rate

    • Session Key Event rate

    • First purchaser Key Event rate

Additionally, the “Is conversion event” dimension was renamed to “Is Key Event.”

Is this change impacting Looker Studio GA4 reports?

We expect these dimensions to eventually be updated in Looker Studio as well, however currently Key Events have not made an appearance in the dimensions and metrics in the dashboarding platform. We will make sure to provide an update when that changes.

Are Conversions totally gone from GA4?

The name Conversion is now strictly limited to any Key Events that have been imported into Google Ads. GA4 users can still see them in the Advertising section in GA4, however at this point the name “conversion” is only limited to reporting from Google Ads. DV360 and SA360 will still be reporting on Key Events. In the future, the Advertising section of Analytics will include new features for advertisers.


GA4 Conversions

Can I download Conversions to my BigQuery tables?

No, there's no plan for Google Ads conversions to be exported through BigQuery.

What actions do you need to take?

Currently no actions are required from GA4 users as Google is making all the updates in the back end. 

In the future to ensure your important events appear as conversions you need to ensure they are marked as Key Events in GA4 and imported to Google Ads via the Conversion Import tool in the Google Ads UI.

Below is the update sent by Google Product Team:

  1. Legacy conversions will be renamed to Key Events: In simple terms, legacy conversions will be renamed to Key Events throughout the GA4 UI, across reporting surfaces, and in turn BigQuery and the API. Key Events should be regarded as important events that should be differentiated largely for behavioral reporting purposes.
  2. Redefining conversions in GA4: The term “conversion” will be redefined in GA4 to refer only to events that are shared with Google Ads. With this new concept, conversions will be measured consistently across Google Analytics and Google Ads eliminating discrepancies between the platforms.
  3. Conversion performance reporting: Conversion reporting will live in the advertising workspace, where new cross-channel conversion performance reporting will be introduced. In this report, users will see conversion consistency between GA4 and Google Ads.

A callout that the initial launch will focus on Google Ads and GA4, with a long term vision of expanding to GMP. For 360 customers with Sub & Roll-up properties, conversion reporting will come online as a fast follow

What action do I need to take?

At a high-level, no action is required to preserve conversion setups with this launch and there will be no impact to bidding. The necessary changes will be made in the backend for existing GA4 users, including those bidding towards GA4 conversions in Google Ads. See below for a breakdown of what this looks like:

    • All existing legacy conversions will be marked as Key Events in the GA4 UI.

    • Moving forward, all events sent to GA4 are eligible to be marked as Key Events, and all Key Events are eligible to be created as conversions. 

    • Existing legacy conversions exported to Ads will be automatically redefined to the new conversion nomenclature. There will be no changes to the Ads bidding set-up and no impact to bidding. 

    • To create conversions moving forward, ensure the event is marked as a Key Event, and then create the conversion from directly within the Google Ads UI.


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