My favorite Google Analytics tool: Dimensions vs. Metrics Reference

powerful toolGoogle has recently bolstered their support section by introducing dynamic reference guides. One of my (new) favorite tools is the Dimensions & Metrics Reference guide. If you are new to Google Analytics, this guide will (at the very least) help you keep straight which is which.* While the guide divides each dimension and metric by feature (such as visit, session, etc.), there’s also a nifty search mechanism that allows you to search for a specific dimension or metric by name. Once you click on a name, you can learn more about the values that the dimension or metric can return. For example, I used it to search on “social” and noticed that Google Analytics provides a dimension called socialEngagementType that reports whether a visitor is socially engaged or not.

Also, when a dimensions and metrics is selected, the guide will filter out which additional dimensions or metrics can be combined in a valid query. I haven’t take full advantage of this advanced feature yet.

How have you used the Dimensions vs. Metrics reference? What other helpful Google Analytics tools have you used?

*In case you are looking for a simple definition of dimensions and metrics, look no further than Avinash Kaushik’s explanation of these two:

  • Dimensions are an attribute of a visitor. For example, new visitors and returning visitors are analytics dimension.
  • Metrics are numbers (aka, these can be manipulated with arithmetic). For examples, the number of visitors are analytics metrics.