GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Metrics Tutorial with Free Google Analytics 4 Ebook

Last Updated: June 29, 2022

GA4 usually displays data in its reports in the form of a data table. Each row of the table represents the value of a dimension and each column represents the value of a metric.

metrics in GA4

A metric is a number that is used to measure one of the characteristics of a dimension.

A dimension can have one or more characteristics. For example, the following are the characteristics of the dimension called ‘Session source/medium’:

  1. Users
  2. Sessions
  3. Engaged sessions
  4. Average engagement time per session
  5. Engaged sessions per user
characteristics of the dimension called ‘Session Source Medium

Here ‘Users‘, ‘Sessions‘, ‘Engaged sessions‘, ‘Average engagement time per session‘, ‘Engaged sessions per user‘, etc are all reported as metrics in GA4 because they are the characteristics of the dimension called ‘Session source/medium‘.

Consider another example:

characteristics of the dimension called Item name

Here ‘Item Views‘, ‘Add-to-carts‘, ‘cart-to-view rate‘, ‘Ecommerce purchases‘, ‘purchase-to-view rate‘, etc are all reported as metrics in GA4 because they are the characteristics of the dimension called ‘Item name‘.

Key difference between dimensions and metrics in GA4

Following are the key differences between dimensions and metrics in GA4:

#1. A dimension provides context to a metric. Consequently, a standalone metric is meaningless to analyze and report. For example, the metric ‘Users’ is meaningless on its own and makes sense only when used together with a dimension like ‘Session source/medium’, ‘Session default channel grouping’, etc.

#2. In GA4, a metric can have only one scope and that is the ‘event’ scope. Whereas, a dimension can have either ‘event’ scope or ‘user’ scope. 

#3. The value of a dimension is (and should be) of type ‘text’. Whereas, the value of a metric is (and should be) of type ‘integer’. 

#4. While creating a custom dimension, you cannot specify a unit of measurement. But while creating a custom metric, you are required to specify a unit of measurement:

unit of measurement custom metrics ga4

The following are the various unit of measurements for a custom metric in GA4:

  • Standard
  • Currency
  • Feet
  • Miles
  • Meters
  • Kilometres
  • Milliseconds
  • Seconds
  • Minutes
  • Hours

Note: A custom metric can have only one unit of measurement at a time. So for example, if you create a custom metric from the automatically collected event parameter ‘video_duration’ with ‘seconds’ as a unit of measurement then you can not create another custom metric from the same event parameter ‘video_duration’ but with ‘minutes’ as a unit of measurement.

Types of metrics in GA4

The metrics in GA4 can be broadly classified into two categories:

  1. Default metrics
  2. Custom metrics

The default metrics can be further categorized into the following sub-categories:

  1. Acquisition metrics
  2. Engagement metrics
  3. Monetization metrics
  4. Retention metrics
  5. Demographics metrics
  6. Tech metrics

Introduction to default metrics in GA4

The default metrics are the metrics that are already available in GA4 reports. They are ready to use metrics.

The following are examples of the default metrics:

  • Average session duration
  • Conversions
  • Engagement rate
  • Engaged sessions
  • Event count
  • Lifetime value
  • Total revenue

Following are the various subcategories of default metrics: 

  1. Acquisition metrics
  2. Engagement metrics
  3. Monetization metrics
  4. Retention metrics
  5. Demographics metrics
  6. Tech metrics

Acquisition metrics

The acquisition metrics are the metrics that are used to measure the characteristics of an acquisition dimension.

Following are the examples of various acquisition metrics:

examples of various acquisition metrics ga4

#1 New users – Total number of users who interacted with your website/app for the first time.

#2 Engaged sessions – Total number of GA4 sessions that lasted at least ten seconds or had at least one conversion event or at least two page views.

#3 Engagement rate – It is the percentage of engaging sessions. It is calculated as engaged sessions/sessions.

#4 Engaged sessions per user – It is the average number of engaged sessions per user. It is calculated as engaged sessions/users.

#5 Average engagement time – It is the average length of time that the website/app had focused in the browser.

#6 Event count – It is the total number of times an event(s) was triggered.

Check out this help documentation to see the complete list of acquisition metrics: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9143382?#zippy=%2Cacquisition 

You can see the acquisition metrics in the following GA4 reports:

  1. Acquisition overview report
  2. User acquisition report
  3. Traffic acquisition report
Acquisition metrics

Engagement metrics

The engagement metrics are the metrics that are used to measure the characteristics of an engagement dimension.

Following are the examples of various engagement metrics:

examples of various engagement metrics in ga4

#1 Views – The total number of times a webpage or an app screen was viewed by users. This metric does not report on unique views. This metric is calculated by adding screen_view events and page_view events. 

#2 Users – The total number of unique users who interacted with your website/app for any non-zero amount of time. This metric is calculated as: Count distinct users where engagement_time_msec parameter > 0

#3 New users –  The total number of users who interacted with your website/app for the first time. This metric is calculated as Count distinct users where event name = first_open or first_visit

#4 Views per user – It is the average number of screens viewed by each user. This metric is calculated as engaged sessions/users. 

#5 Average engagement time – It is the average length of time that the website/app had focused in the browser.

Check out this help documentation to see the complete list of engagement metrics:

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9143382#zippy=%2Cengagement

You can see the engagement metrics in the following GA4 reports:

  1. Engagement overview report
  2. Engagement events report
  3. Engagement conversions report
  4. Pages and screens report
engagement metrics

Monetization metrics

The monetization metrics are the metrics that are used to measure the characteristics of a monetization dimension.

Following are examples of various monetization metrics:

examples of various monetization metrics in ga4

#1 Item views – It is the total number of times the item list was viewed.

#2 Add to carts – It is the total number of times users added items to their shopping carts.

#3 Cart-to-view rate – It is the ratio of ‘add to carts’ to ‘product views’.

#4 Ecommerce purchases– It is the total number of times users completed a purchase.

#5 Purchase-to-view rate – It is the ratio of ‘ecommerce purchases’ to ‘item views’.

Check out this help documentation to see the complete list of monetization metrics: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9143382#zippy=%2Cmonetization 

You can see the monetization metrics in the following GA4 reports:

  1. Monetization overview report
  2. Ecommerce purchases report
  3. In-app purchases report
  4. Publisher ads report
monitization metrics

Retention metrics

The retention metrics give insight related to user retention from the perspective of new and returning users, user retention by cohort, user engagement by cohort and lifetime value.

Following are examples of various retention metrics:

examples of various retention metrics in ga4

#1 New users – The total number of users who interacted with your website/app for the first time.

#2 Returning users – The total number of users who have started at least one previous session.

#3 User retention by cohort – It is the percentage of the new-user cohort on charted date who return each day.

Check out this help documentation to see the complete list of retention metrics: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9143382#zippy=%2Cretention 

You can see the retention metrics in the following GA4 report:

  1. Retention overview report
retention metrics

Demographics metrics

The demographics metrics are the metrics that are used to measure the characteristics of a demographics dimension.

Following are the examples of various demographics metrics:

examples of various demographics metrics in ga4

Check out this help documentation to see the complete list of demographics metrics: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9143382#zippy=%2Cdemographics 

You can see the demographics metrics in the following GA4 reports:

  1. Demographics overview report
  2. Demographic details report
Demographics metrics

Tech metrics

The tech metrics are the metrics that are used to measure the characteristics of a tech dimension.

Following are the examples of various tech metrics:

examples of various tech metrics in ga4

Check out this help documentation to see the complete list of the tech metrics: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9143382#zippy=%2Ctech 

You can see the tech metrics in the following GA4 reports:

  1. Tech overview report
  2. Tech details report
Tech metrics

Custom metrics in GA4

Create Custom metrics ga4

Custom metrics are user-defined metrics. If you want to measure the characteristics of a GA4 dimension that cannot be measured by any default metric, then create and use the custom metric. You can create up to 50 custom metrics per property.

To learn more about GA4 Custom metrics, check out this article: GA4 Custom Metrics Tutorial

#1 Google Analytics 4 Intro

  1. What is GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – The Apps + Web Property?
  2. Key Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Setup GA4 – Upgrade to GA4 – Implementation Tutorial
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics – What is the difference?
  5. Google Signals GA4 – See demographics (gender, age) in Google Analytics 4
  6. Understanding Google Analytics Measurement ID (GA4)
  7. Google Analytics 4 training & tutorial with FREE GA4 ebook
  8. Using the GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Test Property
  9. Google Analytics 4 Sub Properties Tutorial
  10. Google Analytics Account Hierarchy (Structure Explained)
  11. Roll up Property in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – Tutorial
  12. GA4 vs GA4 360 – Pricing, Limits, Billing and More

#2 Google Analytics 4 Integrations

  1. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Data Studio
  2. How to link GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Ads
  3. How to link Google Search Console to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. How to Install Google Analytics 4 on Shopify
  5. GA4 Firebase Integration – Correctly Add App Data Streams to GA4 Property

#3 Google Analytics 4 Events

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Event Tracking Setup Tutorial
  2. Understanding Event Parameters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Recommended events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Enhanced measurement events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Automatically collected events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. How to set up GA4 Custom Events via Google Tag Manager
  7. Events Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  8. How to rename events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  9. How to use Google Analytics 4 Event Builder

#4 Google Analytics 4 Conversions

  1. Google Analytics 4 Conversion Tracking Guide – GA4 Goals
  2. How to import conversions from GA4 property to your Google Ads account

#5 Google Analytics 4 Dimensions

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Dimensions Tutorial
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Dimensions Tutorial
  3. GA4 User Properties (User Scoped Custom Dimensions) – Tutorial
  4. Event Scoped Custom Dimensions in GA4 – Tutorial

#6 Google Analytics 4 Metrics

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Metrics Tutorial with Free Google Analytics 4 Ebook
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Metrics Tutorial
  3. What are predictive metrics in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#7 Google Analytics 4 Ecommerce

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Ecommerce Tracking via GTM – Tutorial

#8 Google Analytics 4 Specialized Tracking

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Enhanced Measurement Tracking Tutorial
  2. Cross Domain Tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Setup Guide
  3. GA4 Site Search – Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics 4
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Scroll Tracking Tutorial
  5. Self-referral Google Analytics 4 – Referral exclusion GA4
  6. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Data Import Tutorial
  7. Google Analytics 4 Content Grouping – Create Content Groups in GA4
  8. How to track single page apps in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#9 Google Analytics 4 filters

  1. GA4 filters – Understanding data filters in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to create and test filters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
  3. Exclude internal traffic in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) via IP filter

#10 Google Analytics 4 Explorations

  1. Free Form Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Exploration Report
  2. How to use the user lifetime report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to use Path exploration report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Path analysis
  4. How to use Segment Overlap Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. How to use the Funnel Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Funnel Analysis
  6. Cohort Exploration Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  7. How to Create Landing Pages Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#11 Google Analytics 4 Advanced

  1. Understanding Google Analytics 4 Sessions
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Measurement Protocol Tutorial
  3. How to build comparisons (advanced segments) in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Understanding Automated Insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Understanding Channel Groupings in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. Understanding Data Sampling in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#12 Google Analytics 4 Reporting

  1. How to create custom insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  2. How to use Debug View report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#13 Google Analytics 4 Attribution

  1. Guide to Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  2. How to Change Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)?
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Conversion Paths Report in Attribution
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Model comparison report in Attribution
  5. Advertising Snapshot in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Attribution

#14 Google Analytics 4 Audiences

  1. GA4 Audiences – Creating custom audience in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to create a remarketing audience in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Understanding Audience Triggers in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Predictive Audiences – Tutorial

#15 Google Analytics 4 BigQuery

  1. GA4 BigQuery – Connect Google Analytics 4 with BigQuery
  2. How to connect and export data from GA4 to BigQuery
  3. events_ & events_intraday_ tables in BigQuery for GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

Frequently asked questions about Understanding Metrics in Google Analytics 4

What are metrics in Google Analytics 4?

A metric is a number that is used to measure one of the characteristics of a dimension. In other words, metrics are quantitative measurements.

What is the difference between dimensions and metrics in GA4?

Following are the differences between dimensions and metrics in GA4:
1. A dimension provides context to a metric. Consequently, a standalone metric is meaningless to analyze and report. For example, the metric ‘Users’ is meaningless on its own and makes sense only when used together with a dimension like ‘Session source/medium’, ‘Session default channel grouping’, etc.
2. In GA4, a metric can have only one scope and that is the ‘event’ scope. Whereas, a dimension can have either ‘event’ scope or ‘user’ scope.
3. The value of a dimension is (and should be) of type ‘text’. Whereas, the value of a metric is (and should be) of type ‘integer’.

What are custom metrics in GA4?

Custom metrics are user-defined metrics, you can create and use custom metrics when you want to measure the characteristics of a dimension (whether default or custom dimension) that cannot be measured by any default metric.
For example, if you have defined the keywords which resulted in a phone call as a custom dimension in GA4 then one of the characteristics of this dimension could be ‘number of phone calls generated by each keyword’.

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