How to Set Up Custom Calculated Metrics in Google Analytics

Do you want to enhance your Google Analytics reports with custom calculated metrics that are specific to your online business?

In Google Analytics, you can use the Calculated Metrics feature to configure new, customized metrics using existing data.

Here’s an overview of what we’ll cover in this guide:

So let’s dive in!

What are Calculated Metrics in Google Analytics?

Metrics are single data points, usually something you can count like pageviews or user sessions. Calculated Metrics are user-defined metrics that are computed from existing metrics.

For example, a Google Analytics report might include Pageviews across your site as a metric. The dimensions down the left side are properties that describe the metric (in this case, the page path). 

Pageviews across the site as a metric. The dimensions down the left side are properties that describe the metric

There are also some pre-existing calculated metrics. It is which you can combine data points with each other to describe a relationship.

A page’s bounce rate, for example, is one of these calculated metrics that is defined as the percentage of single page visits that occurred on a certain page.

So Google Analytics already has a lot of calculated metrics available to use in your reports, but sometimes you need something a little different—something specifically relevant to your website.

Luckily, you can include custom data like this in your reports by calculating your own metrics.

How to Create Custom Calculated Metrics?

Under your Reporting tab, you can find the bounce rate alongside other common calculated metrics such as pages per session, percent new sessions, and average session duration.

In this tutorial, however, we’re going to use Pageview metric along with the Users metric to build a new custom calculated metric for the number of pageviews per user.

Showing common calculated metrics  from Reporting tab within Google Analytics

Create Your First Metric?

In the Admin section of your Google Analytics account, click on Calculated Metrics (under the View options).

Creating your first Metric using the  Calculated Metrics BETA

Click on the New Calculated Metric button.

Creating your first Metric  by adding new Calculated Metrics

Give your metric a name. Make sure to choose something descriptive and informative, since you will be able to query for this name via the Reporting API.

Adding a descriptive and informative metric name for the new Custom Calculated Metrics

Next, select an appropriate Formatting Type. In many cases, Float is a good generic type since it is the most accommodating of different values. IntegerCurrencyTime, and Percent are more specific but more restrictive.

Select an appropriate Formatting Type. Float is a good generic type that accommodates different values

Now you can write a Formula that will determine the relationship between existing metrics, resulting in your custom calculated metric.

For this tutorial, we’re creating a custom metric for the number of pageviews per user. To do this, our formula will be {{Pageviews}} / {{Users}}. This will divide the number of pageviews by the number of users. Finally, click Create to finish your new custom metric.

Creating a Formula for the new custom metric that contains number of  pageviews per user

Amazingly, this actually works retroactively. We can add or change calculated metrics, and Google Analytics will go back and reprocess existing data. This means that you’ll be able to find this metric even in older reports.

Created Calculated Metrics with the name Pages per User and the Formatting type is Float

Using Custom Metrics in Reports 

So once you’ve built a custom metric, how can you use it in your report?

Custom calculated metrics are available in dashboards or widgets, but most of the time you’ll probably want to build your own custom report.

To do this, go to the Customization option (now in your left sidebar) and click Custom Reports.

Building own Custom Report by going to the Customization option (now in your left sidebar) and click Custom Reports

Give your report an informative title. If this report is focused around your custom metric, you may want to even use the same name.

Adding a report an informative title under General Information

Then, choose whatever metrics that you want to include in your report. Your custom metrics will likely be listed under Other.

Adding metric using Pages per User which is listed under Others

Next, you can break down your report to see the distribution of your custom metric across different dimensions. Click on + add dimension and search whatever dimension you would like to add to your report.

In order to see what campaigns and backlinks are promoting the most engagement with your site, select the Source / Medium dimension for this example.

Breaking down your report to see the distribution of your custom metric across different dimensions by adding dimension which is the  Source/Medium

After you save your report, you’ll see your new custom metric represented across relevant dimensions in your report. In this case, we have the number of pages visited per user that came through a given source.

New custom metric represented across relevant dimensions in the report.

Summary

Calculated metrics can enhance your reports by introducing custom data that is relevant to your specific website. With calculated metrics, you can customize your Google Analytics property to perfectly suit your business needs or your website.

Not all calculated metrics will make sense for your or your clients’ websites. But if you want to find custom calculated metrics that can improve your implementation, we have a Calculated Metrics Guide that you can download for free! This guide includes different examples of custom calculated metrics that you can assess and use for your own Google Analytics reporting.

What calculated metrics are most helpful to your website? What do you wish you could build a metric for, but maybe haven’t quite figured out how? Let us know in the comments!

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