It’s amazing to take a step back and look at the plethora of different people that are using analytics solutions such as Google Analytics. They cover all kinds of roles and backgrounds: IT, marketing, creative. Many organizations are only just realizing the importance of online (and now offline) measurement, which often means that they don’t yet recognize the need for a dedicated analyst. Because of this, those IT, marketing, and creative professionals pick up the analytics reins and lead the charge for their company. Perhaps this all sounds familiar. Maybe you’ve been asked or even took it upon yourself to start measuring your website and marketing tactics.
Every analytics solution comes with its own warehouse of terminology that may sound foreign to most. Many of the metrics and dimensions that tools like Google Analytics report on can easily be confused with each other. A common area of confusion that I’ve seen with non-analysts centers specifically around Visitors, Visits, Pageviews, Entrances, and Clicks. They throw these terms around interchangeably.
Don’t feel bad if you’re one of them - several of these sound similar, and all are related to each other in some way. We’ve all been there at one point. That’s why we need to look out for each other! Don’t have time to dig around Google’s documentation to keep these definitions straight? No problem; go ahead and use the handy dandy little cheat sheet below:
Dimension or Metric?
The above terms fall into one of two main classifications: Dimensions and Metrics. A Dimension essentially provides context or meaning to data. In Google Analytics, some examples of Dimensions include:
Metrics are units of measurement that can be measured as a sum or a ratio. Examples of Metrics in Google Analytics include:
You already have other responsibilities outside of analytics, so sometimes it can be difficult to stay up on these definitions. Though it requires a bit of a time investment, Google offers some great training resources for Google Analytics including a complete certification program so you can add to your bragging rights.