Chapter 5: Understanding Google Analytics 4 Metrics and Dimensions

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) metrics and dimensions give you enhanced insight regarding your user behavior, engagement, and conversion tracking.

However, what exactly are they?

And what insights can you obtain from both GA4 metrics and dimensions to help deepen your understanding regarding your site visitors?

That’s what we’ll cover in this guide.

We’ll take a deep dive into the intricacies of GA4 metrics and dimensions.

Let’s get started

Table of contents

What are Google Analytics 4 Metrics?

Types of Google Analytics 4 Metrics

How to create Google Analytics 4 custom metrics

What are Google Analytics 4 Dimensions?

What is a Secondary Dimension in GA4?

How to create Google Analytics 4 custom Dimensions

Create an intuitive dashboard for your GA4 Metrics and Dimensions with Polymer

People also ask

1. What are the most important metrics to track in Google Analytics?

2. How do I compare dimensions in Google Analytics?

3. Can you combine each metric with every dimension in Google Analytics?

Know what Google Analytics 4 metrics and dimensions to use

What are Google Analytics 4 Metrics?

The Google Analytics 4: A Complete Guide describes a metric as a quantitative measurement, such as a percentage, ratio, or average. 

You can think of metrics as something you can apply mathematical operations to, such as Active Users or the number of distinct users who visited your app or website longer than ten seconds.  

Remember that there are differences between Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 metrics. 

You’ll know more once you learn how to upgrade to Google Analytics 4 (From UA).

Types of Google Analytics 4 Metrics

Your key and default metrics depend on the data you want to measure and, in some cases, the data your user source platform gathers. 

However, you can start with the essential metrics below. 

Engagement metrics 

Engagement metrics let you measure how your audience interacts with your Google ads, website, and other content. 

Essentially, engagement metrics measure an engagement dimension’s characteristics. 

Common GA4 engagement metrics include the following:

  • Users. The Users metric is the total number of unique users who interacted with your app or website for non-zero time. 
  • New users. This metric measures the total number of users interacting with your app or website for the first time. 
  • Views. The total number of times your app screens or web pages were viewed by users are your views.
  • Views per user. The views per user metric are the average number of screens users view. 

Other engagement metrics in Google Analytics 4 include User engagement and Average engagement time.

Acquisition metrics

Acquisition metrics measure how you obtain new customers by building interest and awareness in your brand. 

Some of the GA4 Acquisition metrics include: 

  • New users. This refers to the number of users who launched your app or interacted with your site for the first time. 
  • Event count. Every hit in GA4 is an event with no specific Category, Label, or Action. For instance, a page view gets triggered when a user views your web page. All actions in GA4 are events and are not necessarily unique. 
  • Sessions. A session or session start determines the session that every event comes from by generating a session ID, such as user sessions. GA4 associates the session ID with every subsequent event within the session.  
  • Total Users. The total users metric is the number of unique users who logged an event.

Retention metrics, such as user retention, can also be included under acquisition metrics.  

Monetization metrics

Monetization metrics, such as Total revenue and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), measure your revenue and how you generate it from Google ads campaigns, items, and subscriptions. 

How to create Google Analytics 4 custom metrics

GA4 custom metrics always have an event scope (Hit or Product in Universal Analytics), meaning that each event scoped custom metrics’ value gets sent for each event. 

As such, you can consider GA4 custom metrics as custom parameters. 

Must read: Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics: 10 Key Differences

To create a custom metric in GA4 using a default parameter, start by going to the Custom Definitions report under Configure and selecting Create Custom Metric

Image source: support.google.com.

Create a specific name for your metric since this will appear in your reports and Google Analytics 4 reporting templates

Your scope option will be Event.

Add a description to your custom metric in the appropriate field to make it easy to understand what is being measured.

Enter your custom metric’s event parameter in the Event parameter box. 

You can refer to this article to learn about the parameters collected for each event. 

Choose the required Unit of measurement (you can change this later) and click Save.

Image source: support.google.com.

It can take up to 24 hours to see your custom metric data under the Events report. 

Your data will also show in every report where GA4 passes the parameter with the event, such as conversion events, purchase events, logged purchase events, and more.

Must read: Google Analytics 4 Event Tracking: Ultimate Guide

What are Google Analytics 4 Dimensions?

Dimensions in GA4 are attributes that give your data context, typically in text form instead of numbers, such as audience name, user location, and transaction ID. 

GA4 contains more built-in conversion data, but you must reprogram them to get custom conversions. 

You need to create GA4 dimensions as events (using Tag Manager) and mark them as conversions to work. 

Get the full list of the Google Analytics 4 dimensions here.

What is a Secondary Dimension in GA4?

A secondary dimension in Google Analytics 4 is the value that gives your report an additional level of aggregation and sorting. 

It is an additional parameter that provides your data analysis with more detailed information about visitor activity, such as where user activity originated on your website or app. 

Secondary dimensions make data subsets to spot nuances. 

For instance, new users from Asia can interact with your site differently than those in Europe.  

Understanding the differences helps you tailor your website content, customer experience, and digital marketing based on multiple user personas. 

Adding secondary dimensions and looking at website analytics from multiple and new angles can give you more detailed insights, helping you make crucial product decisions. 

How to create Google Analytics 4 custom Dimensions

Ensure you have the Administrator or Editor role before creating custom GA4 dimensions (and metrics). 

Once set, click Admin (in the correct account and property) in Google Analytics and go to Custom definitions under the Properties column.  

Must read: Setting up a Google Analytics 4 Property (no UA).

Click on Create custom dimensions

Image source: support.google.com.

Enter a specific name for your dimension to make it easier to find and understand later. 

Define your custom dimension’s scope as User or Event

Add a dimension description to simplify understanding the specific data you’re tracking. 

Must read: How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 eCommerce Tracking

Select the Event parameter and hit Save.

Image source: support.google.com.

GA4 lets you set up 50 custom dimensions (and metrics) per property (source). 

You’ll find your custom dimension data in Events under Engagement, usually within 24 hours. Click on the specific event your custom dimension is based on. 

Once your dimension data is ready, you can run reports using Google Analytics 4 Reports and Analysis Hub. 

Create an intuitive dashboard for your GA4 Metrics and Dimensions with Polymer

The X Advanced Google Analytics 4 Features (2023) can supercharge your web analytics and marketing efforts. 

However, you can take this further by integrating GA4 with Polymer

The sophisticated, no-code Business Intelligence (BI) software lets you build visualizations, create dashboards, and present your data easily. 

The GA4 and Polymer integration lets you create a comprehensive and intuitive dashboard for your metrics and dimensions without the complicated setup and process. 

Connect Polymer to your GA4 account with the software’s pre-built connector, and you can start pulling data in seconds. 

Filter your data using Polymer’s intuitive interface, set your preferred presentation options, and create your GA4 metrics and dimensions visualizations with the software’s easy-to-use tools. 

Once you’re done, share your visualizations with team members to ensure everyone is in the loop and up-to-date with your metrics and dimensions data in GA4. 

Polymer streamlines your GA4 metrics and dimensions data visualization with no complicated setup and easy dashboard building. 

Besides dimensions and metrics, you can leverage Polymer to visualize and create dashboards for your essential GA4 data, such as your ecommerce transaction and SaaS/Product performance. 

Must read: Google Analytics 4 for SaaS/Product: Complete Guide 

People also ask

Check out the burning questions users have about GA4 metrics and dimensions below.

1. What are the most important metrics to track in Google Analytics?

The key metrics to track in GA depend on what you want to measure and analyze. Some of the common metrics include:

  • Bounce Rate.  It shows the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing only a single page. High bounce rates can indicate potential issues with your site's content or user experience.
  • Exit Pages. It indicates the pages where visitors are most likely to exit your website. It helps you identify areas for improvement or potential issues.
  • Referral Traffic. It shows the sources that drive traffic to your website, such as search engines or social media platforms.
  • Conversion Rate: It measures the percentage of visitors and times users completed a desired action, such as buying (purchase event) or filling out a form.

2. How do I compare dimensions in Google Analytics?

Create conditions based on dimensions (and dimension values) to compare dimensions in GA4. 

Check out this complete guide on applying comparisons to GA4 reports to learn more. 

3. Can you combine each metric with every dimension in Google Analytics?

No. 

Each metric and dimension has a scope: session-level, user-level, or hit-level. 

In many cases, only combining metrics and dimensions that share the same scope makes sense.

Know what Google Analytics 4 metrics and dimensions to use

Understanding the metrics and dimensions in Google Analytics 4 is crucial for unlocking valuable insights about your website or app. 

Knowing which metrics to focus on and utilizing relevant dimensions help you comprehensively understand user behavior, engagement, conversions, user campaign, and marketing campaign success. 

These empower you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your digital strategies for success. 

Harness the combined power of Google Analytics 4 and Polymer to take your analytics game and dashboarding to the next level.

Try Polymer for free to explore its features and how it can supercharge your data analysis, reporting, and presentation.  

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