Custom Dimensions is an amazing feature in Google Analytics that enables you to track & analyze custom information about your website visitors. Although, Google Analytics is a great tool for web analytics that allows you to track and analyze web traffic and conversion rates, what do you do if you need to track more data than what Google Analytics already does? That’s where custom dimensions come in. Here’s the complete guide to Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics that you can use to customize your Google Analytics.
What are custom dimensions?
Custom Dimensions provide a powerful way to send custom data to Google Analytics. Typically, when you install Google Analytics on your site or app, it tracks a set of pre-defined dimensions such as country, traffic source, etc. Custom Dimensions allow you to track extra dimensions such as page author, game levels or any business data that you want Google Analytics to track, in addition to the general analytics data that it’s already tracking for you.
Custom Dimensions allow you to customize your Google Analytics as per your business requirements. For example, if you track custom dimensions for author, category and post type, then you can see how much traffic you get for each author, category or post type.
Setting up Custom Dimensions
Setting up custom dimensions can be painful because it requires you to change your Google Analytics Code every time you need to track a new custom dimension, or edit the existing custom dimensions. So you need a web developer to add custom dimensions for your Google Analytics Installation. Here’s the Google documentation to add Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics.
If you use Google Tag Manager, then it’s a lot easier to add custom dimensions to Google Analytics. Here’s how you can add custom dimensions with Google Tag Manager.
If you use WordPress, there are plenty of plugins such as Monster Insights that implement Custom Dimensions.
How to view Custom Reports in Google Analytics?
You’ll be able to access reports for custom dimensions by clicking Custom Report option under Customization Menu on the left sidebar.
This will bring up the list of custom reports you’ve created in your account. Please note that unlike the standard general reports, Google Analytics does not automatically create custom reports for you. You need to create & save custom report by selecting the metric you want to measure (e.g pageviews) and selecting the dimension (e.g author) you want to measure it for. You can optionally add a filter, in case you don’t want to see all the data. Now when you click on a custom report title, google analytics will generate the report for you.
Here’s a short video of how to create custom report in Google Analytics
These are the steps you need to take to create each new custom report for each custom dimension that you want to view. I understand, it is tedious and not at all user-friendly. That’s why google created Google Tag Manager.
Bonus Read : 10 Best Free Google Analytics Tools to extend the functionality of Google Analytics
Custom Dimensions is a great way to customize your Google Analytics and track additional custom data based on your business requirements. However, as you can see, it heavily depends on developers to modify google analytics code to track custom dimensions for your website. Even after all the effort, Google Analytics doesn’t automatically generate custom reports for you, the way it does for standard reporting. You have to manually configure each custom report that you need.
This makes it unusable for most marketers, unless they’re working in a large agency or organization who can spare developers for marketing tasks. That’s why Google has created Google Tag Manager that allows marketers to send custom data to Google Analytics via Tags. With Google Tag Manager, you just need to a add a few lines of code to your website, during installation (like Google Analytics), and thereafter, you can make all the changes directly from the Google Tag Manager website.
Check out our list of Best Web Analytics Tools to understand visitor behavior and grow your business.
What do you think? Do you use Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics? Please share your experience as comments.