GA Calculated Metrics

How to Create Google Analytics Calculated Metrics to Track Conversions

Do you want to know how to create Google Analytics calculated metrics to track your site’s true conversion rates? Sometimes using the standard reports in Google Analytics to track behavior on your website doesn’t give you a clear picture of what’s actually going on.

In this article, we’ll explain what calculated metrics are, why they’re helpful, and how to create them in Google Analytics so you can better assess your site’s success.

What Are Calculated Metrics in Google Analytics?

Calculated metrics in Google Analytics are custom calculations of existing data used to measure the success of your website.

In other words, you can take data that has already been collected by Google Analytics, combine it using math operators, and get new data as a result.

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This is helpful for a few reasons:

  • Pinpoint specific data by building your own metrics
  • Perform basic calculations within the Google Analytics interface
  • Enjoy flexible reports so you have more data to analyze
  • Improve your overall marketing strategies

The problem with only using the standard Google Analytics reports for your site’s data is that the data is not always calculated the way you want it to be.

For example, your site’s conversion rates are calculated based on the number of sessions it takes for a conversion to happen, not the number of people that have converted.

Take a look at a standard Google Analytics conversion rate:

GA Standard Conversion Reporting - Conversion Rate

Now check out this example to see why all of this matters.

Let’s say 2 site visitors come to your site on 5 separate occasions. In Google Analytics, this will be measured as 10 sessions by 2 users.

10 Sessions

Let’s say one visitor converts during one of these 10 sessions. Your Google Analytics metrics will show a 10% conversion rate because 10% of those 10 sessions resulted in a conversion.

10 Sessions, 1 Conversion

Now, let’s take that same example and instead of calculating the conversion rate based on the number of sessions, let’s calculate it based on the number of users, using a calculated metric.

Let’s say those same 2 users visit your site a total of 10 times, and 1 user converts during 1 of the 10 sessions. Based on your calculated metric, Google Analytics now shows a 50% conversion rate.

2 Users, 1 Conversion

That’s a big difference. It’s also a more accurate view of what is actually happening on your website.

You can help prevent this problem, and lower the number of sessions counted if you use the MonsterInsights Google AMP addon. This is because the Google AMP addon stops double tracking users who switch devices when visiting your website.

It also stops counting multiple sessions by 1 user, which is the main reason you conversion rate might seem so low.

For more details, check out our step-by-step guide on how to get started with the Google AMP addon for MonsterInsights.

Now, let’s take a look at how to create a calculated metric in Google Analytics to track your own conversions.

Create a Calculated Metric in Google Analytics

Before you start, you’ll need to make sure you have a goal set up in your Google Analytics account. This way Google Analytics has data to pull from when you create your calculated metric.

Check out our guide on how to create a goal in Google Analytics to track conversions if you need help.

Next navigate to Admin and click on Calculated Metrics under the View column.

View, Calculated Metrics

Then, click on the red +New Calculated Metric button.

New Calculated Metric

You’ll see a screen with 4 attributes:

  1. Name
  2. External Name
  3. Formatting Type
  4. Formula

Calculated Metric Attributes

Give your calculated metric a name. We’ll name ours User Conversion Rate since we want to track conversions based on the number of users, not sessions.

When you enter a name, the external name auto-fills for you.

Calculated Metric Name

Next, you’ll need to choose the formatting type:

  • Float. This is a number with 2 decimal places.
  • Integer. This is a whole number, without decimal places.
  • Currency. This will show as a dollar amount.
  • Time. This formats the data into hours, minutes, and seconds.
  • Percent. This shows the data as a percentage

In our example, since we are measuring conversion rate, we’ll choose Percent.

Calculated Metrics Formatting Type

Now you’ll need to enter the formula that’ll be used to calculate your new Google Analytics metric. Start typing something like Goal Completions into the field to see a dropdown of pre-defined metrics.

Goal Completions Formula

Since we are looking to calculate our conversion rate based on the number of users, rather than the number of sessions, we’ll use the division math operator and type in Users.

Your final calculated metric will look like this:

Goal Completions Formula Operator - Final

Click Save.

And that’s it! You’ve created a calculated metric. Now let’s see how to find the data this calculated metric collects for you.

View Your Calculated Metric

Now that you’ve created a calculated metric in Google Analytics, it’s time to see the data. Since Google Analytics doesn’t report this kind of data for you in the standard reports, you’ll need to create a custom report.

To do this, navigate to Customization in the left hand panel and select Custom Reports.

Create Custom Report

Click on +New Custom Report.

New Custom Report

Next, give your report a name. We’ll name ours User Conversion Report.

Now, click Add Metric and search for your calculated metric using the name you gave it earlier. Remember, we named ours User Conversion Rate. It’s helpful to know it’ll be under the Other category.

Custom Report Metric

Now, you’ll click on +add dimension. We’ll choose Default Channel Grouping so we can see the different channels sending traffic to our website.

Custom Report Dimension

Click Save.

Now you can see your new custom report in Google Analytics. Notice the conversion rate for our website is now reading as 11.69%. Before, in our standard Google Analytics report, it was reading as 8.11%.

Custom Report Results

In the future, when you want to access your custom report to see your calculated metric, all you have to do is go to Customization » Custom Reports and select the report you want to view.

And that’s all there is to it! You now have a way to create your own Google Analytics calculated metrics for a more accurate look at what is really happening on your site.

If you want to learn more about how to boost your site’s conversion rate, check out our article on A/B testing ideas that you can use to boost conversions.

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more helpful Google Analytics tips.

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