Dimensions and metrics

Dimensions and metrics

Understand the building blocks of your reports.

Dimensions: Describe data

A dimension is a descriptive attribute or characteristic of an object that can be given different values. For example, a geographic location could have dimensions called Latitude, Longitude, or City Name. Values for the City Name dimension could be San Francisco, Berlin, or Singapore.

Browser, Exit Page, Screens, and Session Duration are all examples of dimensions that appear by default in Google Analytics. Dimensions appear all of your reports, though you might see different ones depending on the specific report. Use them to help organize, segment, and analyze your data. In some reports, you can add and remove dimensions to see different aspects of your data.

Metrics: Measure data

Metrics are individual elements of a dimension that can be measured as a sum or a ratio. For example, the dimension City can be associated with a metric like Population, which would have a sum value of all the residents of the specific city.

Screenviews, Page per Session, and Average Session Duration are examples of metrics in Google Analytics.

Relationship between dimensions and metrics

Although dimensions and metrics can stand alone, they usually are used in conjunction with one another. The values of dimensions and metrics and the relationships between those values is what creates meaning in your data. For the greatest insights, dimensions are often associated with one or more metric.

In this example, the City dimension can be associated with the metrics Population and Area. A ratio metric, like Population Density, could also be created with this data, giving even more insight about each of these cities:

DIMENSION METRIC METRIC
City Area (in sq. miles) Population
San Francisco 231 800,000
Berlin 334 3.5 million
Singapore 224 5.2 million

Dimensions and metrics in standard Analytics reports

All Analytics reports are based on combinations of dimensions and metrics. Some dimensions and metrics appear by default when you open a report. To customize your reports and deepen your analyses, add different dimensions and metrics to data tables and visualizations.

For example, the All Traffic report under Sources in the Traffic Sources reporting category, Source / Medium is the default dimension, and Session, Avg. Session Duration, etc. are the metrics in the data table. Above the column titles in the table, select Secondary dimension to change the dimension. To add a metric to the line graph, click Select a metric to add metrics.

Refer to the Dimensions and Metrics Reference tool on our Developer Site to see a comprehensive list of dimensions and metrics in Google Analytics. Note that not all dimensions and metrics appear in all reports, and that some dimensions and metrics are only available via the Reporting API.

Valid dimension-metrics pairs in custom reports

When you create a custom report, you can create your own dimensions and metrics combinations from the standard Google Analytics dimensions and metrics. For a list of the valid dimension-metric pairs, use the Dimensions and Metrics Reference on our Developer Site.

Search for specific dimensions and metrics, or browse for valid pairs, organized by category.