Work With Google Analytics – Monitor Metrics and Create Explorations

This article will introduce you to how Google Analytics collects information can tell you.

Google Analytics: Monitor metrics

It all starts with events.

An event causes data collection to occur in Google Analytics.

When a Google Analytics 4 property is initially set up for a website or app, certain events are automatically enabled to collect information. This information includes basic user properties, actions a user takes, and session information. Examples of events that are automatically set up are the first visit when a user first visits a website, and the session starts when a user engages with the website. Other events can be enabled by turning on the enhanced measurement feature. Some of the enhanced metrics are page view, when a page loads, file download, when a user clicks a link to a file, and view search results when a user performs a search on a site.

The final types of events are those that are enabled programmatically for a website by a developer. For example, share, which triggers data collection when a user shares content, add to cart, when a user adds an item to a shopping cart, and purchases, when a user completes a purchase.

To locate events in the Google demo account. Click the configure icon in the navigation panel and select “Events.”

Click on configure icon on left hand side to bring up the menu on the right side. Click on the "Events" to bring up event lists.

The list of events is in alphabetical order and you can see some of the events just described, like add to cart.

Event lists pop up.

Each enabled event has dimensions associated with it. Dimensions are the attributes or characteristics of an event that determine the metrics collected. You can use dimensions to collect how users arrive on a website or app. For example, do they arrive after performing a search or clicking an emailed link?

Dimensions also help collect what devices were used to visit a website. When specialized metrics are collected, custom dimensions are added. An example of when a custom dimension is required is when UTM tags are added to URLs.

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module, named after the Urchin Software Company that first developed the method. A UTM is a text tag added to a URL to help monitor that content. Here’s how it works for an ad campaign. unts/? utm_campaign=clearance-sale

The UTM source above is the source of the traffic to the discount page and the UTM campaign is the name of the campaign. In this case, the UTM tags enable the monitoring of users who click the link to the discount page from Twitter. unts/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=clearance-sale

UTM medium shown above tracks the advertising medium, such as email. You can monitor other mediums by replacing email with another form of advertising, such as a newsletter.

Go to the demo account you can view a list of custom dimensions. Click the configure icon in the navigation panel and select “Custom definitions.” You will be in the custom dimensions tab by default.

Custom definitions dashboard.

Any custom dimensions for UTM tags will be listed here.

If you use Google Analytics to help monitor brand awareness, you would confirm that the share event is enabled to track shared links and that UTM source and UTM campaign tags are added to URLs that can be shared. You would also confirm that custom dimensions for these UTM tags are configured in Google Analytics. Lastly, you confirm that the page view event is enabled to monitor the number of impressions for content marketing pages.

Using Google Analytics to help monitor the conversion rate for an email campaign. Confirm that the purchase event is configured. Confirm that UTM medium and UTM campaign tags have been added to the URL shared in emails. Confirm that custom dimensions for these UTM tags are configured in Google Analytics.

You can view custom campaign information in the traffic acquisition report under acquisition. Using the demo account, scroll down to the lower half of the report and change “Session source per medium” to “Session medium” in the drop-down menu. Email is listed as on medium. Next, locate the “Conversions” column and change “All events” to “Purchase” in the drop-down menu. You can view the number of conversions for an email in the row for email.

Email conversion dashboard in Google Analytics.

To calculate the conversion rate for the email campaign, divide the number of conversions for email by the total number of conversions shown in bold under the conversions header.

That’s how metrics can be collected for social media and email campaigns. With UTM and custom dimensions, it’s possible to track the impact that social media or email has on a campaign when the content is re-posted or forwarded many times.

Keep in mind that individual requirements will vary by campaign and that what you see in Google Analytics will vary based on what you are measuring.

Link to Google Analytic Demo Account, click here.

Google Analytics: Create Explorations

The Explorations feature is a way to create custom reports. Explorations are also a way to perform quick queries on the data to validate something you think could be happening.

Google Analytics provides a template gallery to help people get started. In the gallery, you can find templates for freeform, funnel, path, segment, cohort, or user lifetime explorations. These styles are referred to as techniques.


The Free Form technique uses a table or chart to visualize the data. Funnel exploration visualizes the steps users take toward a conversion. Path exploration visualizes the steps that users take to progress from one stage in the customer journey to the next.

Segment overlap shows how user segments relate to each other. Cohort exploration shows the data for users that have been organized into groupings by their common attributes. Lastly, user lifetime shows customer behavior and value over time.

The quickest way to see how explorations work in the demo account is to open an existing exploration that is demo listed as the owner. Then, make a copy. In your copy, you can then play with the segments, dimensions, and metrics to see what happens to an exploration.

Make a copy of the existing exploration in Google Demo account.

The copy of exploration comes with various variables in place for comparison. On the other hand, creating exploration from scratch requires your variables.

A comparison of a Demo Exploration with Blank Exploration.

Feel free to explore the demo account to get an idea of what is happening and what variables are available for the Google Merchandise store.

Variables and tab settings in Google Analytics Explorations

Variables in Explorations

In an Exploration, a variable refers to the segments, dimensions, and metrics configured in your Google Analytics account. If you use a template to create a new Exploration, a default set of variables is already enabled. You can add additional variables for use if needed.

A segment is a subset of analytics data that features a common characteristic. For example, a user segment might be users from a particular country or city. In addition to user segments, event segments and session segments can also be created. An event segment is a subset of all configured events. For example, an event segment might be just the data collected from users on a particular type of device. A session segment is a subset of all sessions. Typically, a session starts when a user begins to interact with a website or application. For example, a session segment can be created for the sessions that resulted from a particular advertising campaign. You can create up to 10 segments in an exploration.

A dimension is an attribute or characteristic of the data. For example, the City dimension indicates the city which a configured event originated from. You can apply up to 20 dimensions in an Exploration.

A metric is a quantitative measurement, including calculations like an average or ratio. For example, the Event count metric is the number of times an individual event occurs. You can apply up to 20 metrics in an Exploration.

Tab settings in Explorations

The tab settings will change depending on which technique (template) you have chosen. The main tab setting in an Exploration is Technique, which is the same as the type of template being used. As mentioned previously, you can create up to 10 segments in an Exploration. However, only four segments can be applied to a single technique at the same time. Explorations in Google Analytics enable you to create custom views of collected data and metrics. You have full control to choose which variables to work with and the tab settings to be displayed in an Exploration.

For more information: Get started with Explorations

Happy learning and good luck!

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