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Calculated Metrics (Beta) Walkthrough

While it’s still a beta, the Calculated Metrics (beta) in Google Analytics (GA) has the potential to offer brands some useful insights – but probably not many


What is Calculated Metrics (Beta)

A Calculated Metric is a user defined metric (calculated using various existing metrics). Limited to users employing the ‘gtag.js’ and ‘ga.js’, ‘Calculated Metrics’ are created in the ‘Admin’ section of a GA ‘View’, they differ from a ‘custom metric’ in the number of them permitted (5 per view for a ‘Custom Metric’), but also the way it is configured and the way GA processes it.

How to create Calculated Metrics

A Calculated Metric is defined by four areas:

  1. Name: – this should be descriptive and short. While you are only allowed five calculated metrics per view, you will still want to be able differentiate them at a glance – but equally, this auto-populates the external name.
  2. External Name: – the external name is auto-populated by the ‘Name’ field, it must be entirely unique, and will be the name you use to pull figures for this metric using any external APIs.
  3. Formatting Type: – there are five formatting types (which set the output type of the metric). These are:
    • Integer (with customisable places)
    • Currency (decimal)
    • Time (hh:mm:ss)
    • Float (returns numerically with two decimal places)
    • Percentage (again, with customisable decimal place)
  4. Formula: – The formula area accepts your view’s metrics as well as six ‘operators’ – from which to create your formula:
    • Plus (+)
    • Minus (-)
    • Divide (/)
    • Multiply (*)
    • Parenthesis
    • Positive cardinal numbers (0-9), including decimals

calc met options

Uses

The Google support page for Calculated Metrics offers two examples of use – there’s one which returns revenue per user: {{Revenue}} / {{Users}} and one which serves as a currency converter: {{Revenue}} * 1.27.

While these are reasonable, and useful for custom reports, you would probably be better using an XPATH to return an up to date value for conversion if you’re looking at maintaining accuracy for such a variable calculation (for example – it is now 1.15 E to £ conversion).


xpath for currency conversion

The main thing to remember, if you choose to use Calculated Metrics, is to ensure you are only creating metrics you need. As they are limited to five per view, you may find yourself rapidly running out of room if you start generating them for every vanity metric.

Should you use Calculated Metrics (Beta)

The examples that exist presently are simple as a point of necessity – the possible functions are, as things stand, fairly restrictive, arithmetical in nature and, mostly, the results are achievable by other means – especially if you are already running data through Google Sheets and/or Data Studio.

As things stand, it would be a rare account that would benefit greatly from implementing Calculated Metrics – however, if you are relying on Custom Reports or Dashboards for your GA reporting, there is some limited scope to improve your reports using them.


For more walkthroughs, best practices and more – follow our blog, download our resources, or contact us to see what we can do for your brand.



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