How to Benefit from Google’s Calculated Metrics
Calculated metrics are the answer to what you didn’t know you were missing in your analysis of Analytics data. Hidden away under the View column in the Admin panel of Analytics, you should see “Calculated Metrics” marked as still in beta.
This feature allows you to construct additional metrics with Google Analytics based on the existing metrics within the platform. This is fantastic for ecommerce businesses, or any business that wants to see trends over time for more specific metrics than just the usual sessions, conversions, revenue. It also allows you to dig into the detail of your data and understand where changes are occurring in audience behaviour.
Calculated metrics can be used in Dashboards or in Custom Reports (but won’t appear in the “normal” Reporting sections).
I’ve gained some great insights from playing with this tool already, and I’ve made a list of some of the most useful metrics that I’ve created:
- Average delivery cost
This is useful for businesses with multiple delivery cost options or a lot of shipping promotions, or who have recently changed shipping costs. It’s calculated simply by dividing delivery revenue by transactions. By creating a custom report for this, you can look at trends such as:
- Day of week delivery cost trends (are your users more likely to pay for next-day delivery on certain days of the week?)
- The long-term effects of flash-free delivery sales – are you harming sales over time with an audience who no longer expect to have to pay for delivery?
- What’s the effect on revenue of any changes in delivery cost?
- Goal groupings
If you have lots of different goals within Analytics, but some are on a similar theme, you can create groupings of goals (this is already possible within the Goals panel if your goals are URL destination-based, but not for event-based goals!). I used this for a client who has two types of lead generation goal as well as lots of download-type goals to keep those separate:
- Group together phone leads and contact form leads into an overall leads goal
- Plus overall conversion rate of all leads-based goals
- Variance from target
This gets pretty exciting. If you have a daily target metric, such as sessions or revenue per day, you can use that integer (solid number) and calculate variance from target. Set it up as a percent metric, and just enter ‘Transactions’ (or whatever your goal name is) divided by your daily target. Now you can set up dashboards or custom reports that break this down by day.
E.g. if you target 500 sales a day:
- True conversion rate
If you’re not an ecommerce business, and the goal of your website is to drive leads or footfall, you can enter your estimated in-store conversion rate. This will allow Analytics to show your true cost per acquisition, and a more genuine picture of conversion vs your marketing efforts.
For example, maybe you’re a service-led business using your website to drive calls, and you convert around 25% of those calls, which Analytics can’t see. You want to see what your actual CPA and channel performance is all the way to conversion to sale, not just on a cost per lead or lead volume basis.
The metric should be set up like this:
Then set up custom reports or dashboards as you need. Obviously this assumes a flat conversion rate for any channel, but it’s still really useful to see.
The tool is still in beta, and can deliver surprising results sometimes. If it’s a bit “buggy”, messing around with the Formatting Type seems to help. These are just a few tips that reveal a whole new layer of insight! Have fun!