Google Analytics Glossary of Terms

Google Analytics Glossary of TermsWe have developed a quick guide of Google Analytics Glossary of Term, below are the definitions and outlined main list of terms that we use with our clients for KPI (Key Performance Indicators) reports on a monthly basis.

Abandonment: In Google Analytics, abandonment rate specifically represents the percentage of sessions in which the user entered your specified goal funnel but did not follow through to the goal destination.

Abandonment rate and bounce rate are not directly related as metrics.

Bounce: Bounce is commonly defined as a single-page visit. A somewhat better definition would be a single-hit session, since 1) a single pageview followed by a single tracked event would not be considered a bounce*, and 2) session is not used instead of visit to denote the 30-minute** hit timeout.

Campaign: If you configure inbound links with the utm_medium, utm_source, and utm_campaign parameters (also referred to as campaign tags) as in the example below, clickthroughs will appear in the Campaigns reports and will also be classified in the Channels report according to the medium and source value that you provide. No other configuration is required for campaigns.

Channel: Channels are high-level groupings of traffic based on the medium and source values that Google Analytics records for each session.

Conversion: A conversion is a completion of any goal that you have set up in Google Analytics, and the conversion rate represents the percentage of sessions during which the conversion occurred. Note the emphasis on sessions: conversion rate is based on sessions and therefore appears lower than if it were based on users.

Dimension: Each Google Analytics hit (such as a pageview or an event) is recorded with multiple descriptors, or dimensions, relating to the user (e.g., new or returning), session (e.g., source and medium), and action (e.g., page name or event category).

In each Google Analytics table, metrics are reported against the values that appear in left column as the primary dimension. Different dimensions can serve as primary dimensions in different reports, such as page title in the Pages report and screen resolution in the Browser & OS report.

Event: Events can represent a wide range of user actions – such as scrolling, clicking an offsite link, or playing a video – that do not cause a page load and do not therefore generate a Google Analytics hit by default. For any event data to appear in your Google Analytics reports, you must explicitly code or configure events as part of your Google Analytics implementation. You can also use events in app tracking as a supplement to screen views.

To record an event, you must specify an event category and an event action as parameters. Event label is not obligatory but used frequently in event generation. It is not required that the event category, action, and label correspond with actual categories, actions, and labels in a strict sense. Instead, you can think of category, action, and label as a general-to-specific hierarchy for describing your events.

Filter: The default table filter field allows you to filter by primary dimension value. The advanced filter option allows you to filter by primary dimension, secondary dimension, or metric. Click here to learn how to filter spam referral traffic.

Funnel: As part of a destination goal, you can configure a funnel to identify drop-off points in the designed conversion path.

Goal: A goal is a specific user action or a level of user engagement that you define as indicating a successful session. No goals are configured by default; a Google Analytics user with Edit rights to the view must configure at least one goal for Google Analytics to be able to calculate metrics such as conversion rate and goal completions.

Most goals are defined as a pageview at the end of a specific process as below, but you can also set up goals based on event completion, session duration, or pages/screens per session. The latter two goal types are referred to as engagement goals, as they signify a threshold of user engagement rather than a specific action.

Hit: When the Google Analytics tracking code executes as a page loads, it records dimension values not only about the page itself, but also about the environment (e.g., browser language setting) and the session (e.g., session count). This entire packet of dimensions values is referred to a hit.

Medium: Medium is the most general data dimension related to traffic source attribution that Google Analytics records. The three default values for medium are organic for search engine traffic, referral for non-search engine clickthroughs, and (none) for direct access. By default, the source dimension value recorded for each session is more specific than the medium value.

Profile: Profile is the previous name for view.

Property: The property is level of the Google Analytics account structure into which raw tracking data flows. There can be one or more property in each account, and one or more views for each property.

Each property is associated with a specific property ID and usually corresponds to a single website or app. A single property can have one or more corresponding views.

Referral: Google Analytics records the medium value of referral for clickthroughs from all other websites unless:

Google Analytics recognizes the referring site as an organic search engine, or
the inbound link contains campaign parameters that override the default medium and source capture

Segment: Segments allow Google Analytics users to dynamically segment reports based on session characteristics (such as device, browser type, geography, or source) or behavior (such as a pageview or an event).

All Google Analytics users, including those with only Read & Analyze rights, can create and apply segments. Unlike view filters, segments do not permanently alter underlying view data.

Session: A session represents a series of hits for a single user with no interruptions longer than 30 minutes. A Google Analytics user can change the session timeout. A longer session timeout, for example, might be more suitable for a site that offers long-duration videos.

Source: The source dimension represents the referring website or the utm_source campaign parameter included in an inbound link. For direct traffic, source is recorded as (direct).

Source is more specific than medium. For instance, an organic clickthrough from Google and Bing would be recorded respectively with google and bing as source but both with organic as medium.

Tracking Code: The basic Google Analytics tracking code in the property admin screen. To generate pageview data, you include this tracking code on all pages of your website. If you’re using a tag management system, you deploy an equivalent Google Analytics tag in place of this native Google Analytics tracking code.

UA Number: Also referred to as property ID or tracking ID, the UA number is unique identifier for each Google Analytics property. It is contained in the tracking code and sent to Google Analytics with each hit.

Unique Visitor: Unique visitor is the previous name for user.

User: A user is a unique individual who accesses website or app one or more times. For a website, an individual user is defined by the presence of the _ga cookie in the browser. Because one user can access a website or app multiple times in within the reporting period, the user count is lower than the session count in virtually all reporting.

View: A view represents the raw property data after any view filters ,view settings, goals, Ecommerce tracking, content groups, and custom channel groupings have been applied during processing. All Google Analytics reports are accessed at the view level.

Virtual Pageview: Virtual pageviews are akin to events, in that you can use them to capture user actions that do not cause a page load and would therefore not execute the default tracking code or generate any data.

Visit: Visit is the previous name for session. The term session is more accurate than visit because a single physical visit can generate multiple sessions in Google Analytics if hits are spaced more than 30 minutes apart. (In practice, session and visit are used somewhat interchangeably.)

Visitor: To avoid ambiguity, visitor is not used in the Google Analytics interface, since this term could be interpreted to mean either session or user.