Metrics are like a scoreboard—they show you how your company is performing. With a robust system like Google Analytics, it can be difficult to understand what metrics are, how to use them, and how they differ from other types of website data. Learn more about Google Analytics’ metrics and how they can help gain insight into what is and isn’t working.
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What is a metric in Google Analytics?
A metric is any trackable figure in Google Analytics (GA4) that measures site performance, user behavior, the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and more. The platform expresses these quantitative measurements as numbers (whole numbers, percentages, and decimals).
There are more than 100 metrics in GA4, so not every metric will matter to every business. Marketing teams will identify what metrics match their business goals and focus on those as their key performance indicators (KPIs). Some common Google Analytics metrics include:
- Users: The number of unique visitors to your website.
- Revenue: The amount of ecommerce sales through your website.
- Average session duration: The average time someone spends on your website during a visit.
You can view these numbers in a Google Analytics report as line graphs and table values.
How do metrics measure website performance?
Each metric provides insight into how your website and campaigns are performing. For example, if you look at Google ads impressions (how many times your ad showed up for users) and Google ads clicks (how many times someone clicked on your ad), you can determine whether your ad is effective.
While you can study your website analytics on a weekly or even daily basis, tracking performance over a given date range can help eliminate outliers (as in a day when you over-performed because an influencer shared your content) and give you a full picture of where you stand.
Metrics vs. dimensions
Metrics are quantitative measures, while dimensions are qualitative, non-numerical values that help you categorize your metrics.
Marketers use Google Analytics dimensions to add extra context to their reports. For example, say you want to know more than just how many visitors came to your website; you also want to know how they arrived there. You can use the source dimension to learn whether someone arrived at your site through a social media channel, other website, or search engine.
Breaking down the data like this provides you with a better understanding of how to allocate time and resources to grow traffic.
In GA4’s report builder, you’ll see metrics displayed in blue and dimensions in green.
Important Google Analytics metrics by type
- Search Console
- User lifetime
One reason Google moved from universal analytics (the previous version of analytics) to GA4 is that it wanted to introduce a more flexible model.The old Google Analytics primarily focused on session-based metrics, with limited support for other types. In contrast, GA4 supports 11 different types of metrics. Learn more about them below:
This type of metric measures the strength of the advertising and paid marketing campaigns driving traffic to your site. For example, the metric “Google ads cost per click” shows the average cost you paid per click for your advertising campaigns.
This category provides insight into your ecommerce activity, such as purchases (the number of purchases users make on your site). You can parse data based on a single product or an overall cart. Examples of ecommerce metrics include checkouts and add to carts.
The event metric tracks the number of times users triggered an event. Events are specific interactions or occurrences that happen on your site, like when someone makes a purchase or a user submits a form. GA4 automatically groups events when you set up an account, but you can create custom events as well.
Some of the default event metrics include conversions, events per session, and event count.
To gain better insights, pair events with custom dimensions. For example, for a form submission event, you can use a form type dimension to indicate what type of form a user submitted.
These are metrics related to someone interacting with a page on your website or screen on your app. They provide visibility into how a user spends time on your website or app. One key metric within this category is views, which records every time a user visits a new page on your site.
GA4 uses machine learning to make predictions about your website visitors’ future behaviors, such as how likely they’ll be to make a purchase or to return to your site seven days later. A key metric is predicted revenue, which is how much revenue Google’s algorithm predicts a user or set of users will drive in the next 28 days, based on recent activity.
Publisher metrics are specific to companies that publish ads on other websites. GA4 provides a report, but you can customize it through filters, dimensions, charts, and more. A key metric is ad revenue, the amount a website earns from published ads over a certain period.
Revenue data aggregates the different ways websites can make money. The most common methods are purchase and ad revenue, but other metrics include in-app purchases and subscriptions.
Google Search Console allows you to look at organic search tied to your website. One useful metric is organic Google search impressions, which shows the number of times your website appeared in search results. To further customize this category, you can add dimensions including landing page, device, and country.
A session is a single visit to your website. Session metrics capture all the actions that can happen within a visit. One key metric is engaged sessions, which looks at the number of visits that lasted 10 seconds or longer, had one or more conversion events, or two or more page views. All of these are indicators of user engagement, the number of times a visitor showed interest in your site’s content.
GA4 measures user metrics in multiple ways, including active users (those who engage with your site), new users, and returning users. This category can measure an individual person based on their user ID.
This set of metrics gives you a full picture of user behavior over the long term, such as a quarter, year, or longer. A key metric is lifetime value (LTV), which measures the average revenue a user generates over the largest possible time frame. It’s useful in understanding how often users repeat this behavior and whether a business needs to invest in acquiring new customers.
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What is a metric in Google Analytics FAQ
What is an example of a metric in Google Analytics?
Sessions, which represent a single visit to your website from a single device, is an example of a Google Analytics metric.
Are metrics quantitative data points?
Yes, metrics are quantitative data points, like how many visitors came to your site over a specific period. You can contrast them with dimensions in Google Analytics, which are qualitative data points associated with metrics. An example of a dimension is the traffic sources (social media platform, organic traffic, direct, etc.) that drive visitors to your website.
Can I track ecommerce metrics using Google Analytics?
Yes, Google Analytics includes options for robust Google Analytics tracking. If you’re on Shopify, you can set this up with the GA4 integration.
Are there benchmark metrics that you should aim for in Google Analytics?
Every website has a different business, audience, and goals, so it is impossible to set benchmarks across all Google Analytics accounts.