How to Create Calculated Metrics in Google Analytics

How to Create Calculated Metrics in Google Analytics

Align business Objectives with Website Goals and Targets

Calculated Metrics are an underused but powerful functionality of Google Analytics which will enrich your data to generate new insights. GA is an awesome free tool, but to get the most from it you need to invest some time and effort to set it up and configure it so that it measures what you need it to track. You may have set up your goals, but are you using Calculated Metrics?

With calculated metrics you can create metrics to measure your e-commerce conversion rate, net revenues after tax and shipping costs, average order value, registration success rates and many more valuable metrics. Below you will find 19 examples of calculated metrics you may want to consider using.

Calculated metrics are metrics that you can create by using two or more Google Analytics standard or custom metrics and a formula to calculate your new metric. Standard metrics are the default metrics that Google Analytics provides users such as pageviews, users, sessions, load speed and bounce rate. Custom metrics are those non-standard metrics you may have created such as Registrations, Login, and Add to Basket.

If you are using the free version of Google Analytics you are limited to 5 calculated metrics, but if you are lucky enough to be working with Google Analytics 360, you may create up to 50 calculated metrics. These are separate from the limits for custom dimensions and custom metrics that GA also sets.

1. Review your Analytics Plan:

Before proceeding with setting up any calculated metrics it’s a good idea to review your analytics plan and check it’s aligned to your business goals. If your key performance indicators are not closely aligned to your business goals you can easily suffer from the cobra effect.

Once you have considered which metrics are most closely aligned to your business goals you will be in a better position to identify new metrics that you should be measuring.

Align business objectives with website goals and targets

For example, if your website is designed to get new registrations you might want to measure the registration success rate (i.e. Registration Success / Registration Submits). However, to calculate that you would first need to create custom metrics for registration success and registration submits. Also consider that calculated metrics don’t allow you to include another calculated metric in the formula and so you must use either custom or standard metrics.

Many calculated metrics are ratios which are often the most useful metrics because they show the relationship between two different metrics. If you are working for a SaaS company see our blog on the 10 SaaS marketing metrics for a lean business. The custom metrics function does not Now that you have a list of the most important new metrics you want to create from calculated metrics we can get started.

2. Create New Calculated Metrics:

Go to your Google Analytics property and select Admin > Calculated Metrics (under View column) and select ‘+NEW CALCULATED METRIC’.

Creating a new Calculated Metric in Google Analytics

You will now need to complete the following fields:

  • Name: This needs to be descriptive and should make sense to other users. This will be displayed in the metrics menu in custom reports. This will automatically populate the ‘External Name’ and is used to select the metric through the Google Analytics API. This is fixed after the metric is created and should not be altered.
  • Formatting Type: You can change these after creating the metric and you can select from:
  1. Float – 2 decimal places
  2. Integer – with customisable decimal places
  3. Currency – 2 decimal places
  4. Time – 23:05:01
  5. Percent – 2 decimal places
  • Formula: You can use the range of mathematical operators shown below. Simply start typing in the input box and a list of predefined metrics will appear which begin with the letters you have typed. Select the one you want to use and then add the relevant operator. These are:
  1. Add (+)
  2. Minus (-)
  3. Divided by (/)
  4. Multiplied (*)
  5. Parenthesis to group conditions ()
  6. Positive cardinal numbers (0-9)
  7. Negative numbers are not supported (e.g. -A+B) and formulas are limited to 1024 characters.
How to create a new Calculated Metric

One of the great things about calculated metrics is that they work retrospectively, unlike goals for instance. So, if you make a mistake, you can go back an edit the name, format type or the formula and it will instantly be available with historical data.

3. Examples of Calculated Metrics:

Here 19 examples of calculated metrics that may find useful. There are many more, but focus on your business objectives.

Engagement Metrics:

  1. Avg. Engagement: {Session Duration} / {Pageviews}.  Format (Time).
  • For any publisher the time on page is an important indicator of engagement. By dividing session duration by pageviews we get a better idea of how long a on average a visitor stays on a page.

2. Avg. User Session ={Session Duration} /{Users}.  Format (Time).

  • Measures how on average a user spends on the site as it’s not possible to see session duration and time on page at the user level.

3. Non-Bounce Rate = {Sessions} – {Bounces} / {Sessions}. Format (Percent).

  • This measures the opposite of the bounce rate, the percentage of sessions that don’t bounce.

4. Non-Bounces = {Sessions} – {Bounces}. Format (Integer).

  • The absolute number of sessions that don’t bounce.

5. Registration Success Rate = {Registration Success} / {Registration Submits}. Format (Percent).

  • Registration success and registration submits are Custom Metrics you would need to implement first.

6. Login Success Rate = {Login Success} / {Login Submits}. Format (Percent).

  • Login success and login submits are Custom Metrics you would need to implement first.

Google Ads Metrics:

7. Avg. Cost Per Session = {Cost} / {Sessions}. Format (Currency).

  • For PPC campaigns it’s useful to understand cost per session as CPC is less accurate when there are multiple sessions per user.

8. Avg. Sessions Per Click = {Sessions} / {Clicks}. Format (Float).

  • This can help measure tagging quality.

E-commerce Metrics:

9. Net Revenue = {Revenue} – {Shipping} – {Tax}. Format (Currency).

  • Measures actual revenue after shipping and tax.

10. Avg. Order Value Less Tax and Shipping = {Revenue} – {Tax} – {Shipping} / {Transactions}. Format (Currency).

  • This gives you the actual average order value as we subtract tax and shipping expenses.

11. Average Revenue Per User = {Revenue} / {Users}. Format (Currency).

  • If you are a publisher, you will want to measure average revenue per user.

12. Revenue Less Refunds = {Revenue} – {Refund Amount}. Format (Currency).

  • Subtracts refunds from revenue to measure your real revenues after returns.

13. Ecommerce Conversion Rate For User = {Transactions} /{Users}. Format (Percent).

  • The default ecommerce conversion rate is at a session level, but you may want to allow for users having multiple sessions to calculate their conversion rate. For a publisher a user is more important than a session.

Event Metrics:

14. Avg. Event Value Per User = {Event Value} / {Users}. Format (Float).

  • If you have allocated values to events you can use this to measure the average event value per user.

15. Avg. Events Per Session = {Total Events} / {Sessions}. Format {Float}.

  • You can use this as a measure of engagement and track your limits to your Google Analytics account if you are getting near the limit of monthly events.

16. Avg. Events Per User = {Total Events} / {Users}. Format (Float).

  • This is looking at how many events per user.

Video Metrics:

17. Avg. Number of Video Plays Per User = {Video Starts} / {Users}. Format (Float).

  • Video views per user is a useful metric to understand whether your videos are encouraging users to watch multiple videos. The metric Video Starts is a Custom Metric you would need to configure using GTM/GA.

18. Avg. User Play Time = {Video Play Time} / {Users}. Format (Float).

  • This measures the average amount of video consumed per user. Video Paly Time is a Custom Metric you would need to configure in GTM/GA.

19. Video Completion Rate = {Video Completes} / {Video Starts}. Format (Percentage).

  • Video completes and video starts are Custom Metrics you would need to configure in GTM/GA.

There are many more calculated metrics that you may find useful. The main limitation is the number that Google allow users to create. Let’s hope Google increase these limits soon because it would greatly improve the value users can derive from this awesome tool.

More reading

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How To Deploy Google Tag Manager on Multiple Websites


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