Misunderstood Metrics: Custom Dimensions

If you’ve made the leap into custom dimensions with Google Analytics, you’ve probably also tried to make a custom report to segment your traffic with the new dimension. You add the new dimension and suddenly the numbers don’t look right! What gives???

adding-a-custom-dimension-to-a-report

Like several other special dimensions in Google Analytics, the Custom Dimensions do not have a an empty ‘(not set)’ value. If you include the dimension in a report, there is no catch-all row to total up all the sessions that didn’t have a value to display. Instead, the report simply drops all that extra data.  Make sure you check the fine print (light grey text under the column aggregate numbers) where you’ll see a comparison to the website totals.

If you are building a custom report or dashboard, it will be important to keep this context when you start segmenting by your new dimension. e.g. Of the 24% of sessions that had a custom dimension value…

Discover The Entire Google Analytics Misunderstood Metrics Series:
Next Page Path,  Sessions for Pages,  Events,  Unique Events,  Custom Dimensions,  Count of Sessions, Time on Page/Session Duration

Comments: (moderated, no spam)

  1. Juan Manuel Cosceri

    Hi Team, Good Afternoon.

    I am using the Analytics Edge for free and i couldnt find the category “Custom Dimensions”.

    Could you please tell us if it is a AE bug or if it is about permissions?

    Regards

    Reply
    1. mike_sullivan

      The Custom Dimensions are listed under the grouping Custom Variables or Columns (Google’s label, not mine).

      Reply

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