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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Nenni

Calculated Metrics in Google Analytics

Several weeks ago, I attended advanced Google Analytics (GA) training in West Palm Beach FL, delivered by Brian Pasch of PCG. I initially debated attending the training, as I felt my skills were pretty advanced and allowed me to do my job well. How wrong I was in that both the information I learned from Brian, and the class interaction with other attendees, really ramped-up my knowledge. I came away with techniques to not only deliver deeper analysis to my dealers, but also with increased productivity.

One technique that was only touched on for a few minutes in class was the use of Calculated Metrics. A fellow classmate noticed the new “Beta” feature in the Admin section of GA, and asked Brian to explore. Brian was willing to dive into this new feature, and we all sort of learned together what this new tool could do. Upon getting home and digging into my upcoming February 2018 monthly digital audits for my dealers, I decided to take this new feature for an extended test drive. I was really blown away, and found that the power of this feature is only limited by your imagination. I’ve discovered a number of new ways to build indexes, calculations and compilations of data that I now include on my dealer reports. I’ll touch on one example here, but urge you all to check it out, and hopefully share back any unique applications you find.

Calculated Metrics are used to assemble and calculate new data based on data that is already available in GA. For example, the addition of two or more Goals and variable, or the division of two Goals or variables to deliver an index, or per unit cost. You’ll find this feature in the Admin section of GA.

Google Analytics Calculated Metrics

Once you click on Calculated Metrics and you’ll be taken to the following screen:

Google Analytics Calculated Metrics

You can click to create a new metric, or edit an existing one. You will then be taken to the following screen:

Google Analytics Calculated Metrics

You start by giving the metric a name which will appear on your reporting. Once you’ve named your metric, the “external name” will automatically populate. You then choose a formatting type for how you wish the metric to display, choices include float, integer, currency, time or percent. The next step is the formula, which is the heart of the calculated metric. The formula is much like one you would create in a spreadsheet. You choose your variables, and then add operators to compute the calculation. The variables you choose can be existing Goals you’ve created in GA, other existing pre-defined variables in GA, as well as integers (i.e. Goal/10). You start typing a variable, or goal name, and you’ll see them appear. You will note that GA automatically adds double curly braces around the metrics you enter, leave them in place. You can also use parentheses for more complex calculations. Once you’re finished, click the Save button to complete your work.

In the example above, my goal was to combine the three (3) existing forms of lead conversion for this dealer, into a single combined metric. I had already created GA Goals for email lead forms, chat completions and text completions. I’m also working with the call-tracking vendor for this dealer to get DNI tracking in GA to happen in the near future, and I will then add this to my metric. I took my existing GA goals and used calculated metrics to create one super-goal tracking all leads generated. Keep in mind, once you have the new metric, you won’t be able to use it in standard GA reporting, you can only use them in custom reports or dashboard widgets. When you’re working in your custom reports, just start typing the first few letters of your new calculated metric, and you’ll see it appear in the drop-down. My new combined metric worked perfectly in my custom reports showing dealer their top lead conversion channels, or their top lead producing paid search campaigns and keywords.

If you have any trouble using this new feature, please feel free to reach out to me for help. Also, if you come up with any other slick applications for using calculated metrics in GA, please reach and share those too. This tool is truly only limited by your imagination.

If you are an automotive retailer, I would love to discuss helping you with digital marketing audits, including auditing your paid search traffic. I can help you get more transparency with your digital market investments, saving you wasted spend and improving your return on advertising spending. Details here:

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