What Is A Secondary Dimension In Google Analytics

Google is now more than a search engine, offering a number of tools and services that enable you to monitor, maintain, and collect data from your business’s online presence all within the Google Suite, every business owner’s one-stop-shop.

what is a secondary dimension in google analytics

You can collect important data and statistics to see how your engagement is and also use Google tools to benefit marketing your business. In this guide, we look at what Google Analytics is and what the secondary dimension in Google Analytics is. 

What Is Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that offers web analysis which then provides statistics and additional basic analytical tools for marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

Google Analytics is offered as a part of the Google Marketing Platform and if you have a Google account you can access it for free.

By collecting visitor insights Google Analytics can track a website’s performance. The service enables businesses to:

  • Discover patterns and trends within user engagement
  • Obtain user information
  • Determine what sources on the website bring the most traffic
  • Gauge how successful marketing campaigns and other activities are
  • Track goal completions, such as a purchase or the addition of products to a cart

The service is often used by small to medium-sized retail websites that would benefit from obtaining customer behavior analytics to analyze what works best for them.

This information is then used to plan and strategize marketing campaigns to increase website traffic and retain visitors on site. 

How Google Analytics Works 

Using page tags Google Analytics gets user data from each visitor on a specific website.

There is a JavaScript page tag placed into the code of every page of a website and this runs in the web browser of every visitor, acquiring data which is then sent back to one of Google’s many data collection servers. 

Once the data is received by a server it is then transformed into a customizable report through Google Analytics to track and visualize specific gathered data.

This data could include the number of users that visited a page, bounce rates, how long a user stayed on a page, and more.

The page tag is similar to a web bug that crawls around collecting important data but this bug works alongside cookies and so if a user has disabled cookies no data can be collected from their time and actions on a website. 

Businesses that use Google Analytics have the unique ability to identify patterns and trends in how visitors to their site engage with the site. Other beneficial features that businesses have access to through Google Analytics are:

  • Data collection application program interfaces (APIs)
  • Email-based sharing and communication
  • Predictive analytics for forecasting future sales through intelligence and anomaly detection
  • Data visualization and monitoring tools
  • Data filtering to focus on specific aspects of the website
  • Integration with many other Google products, including Google Ad Manager, Google Data Studio, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and many more

Within one Google Analytics dashboard, users can have profiles for several websites. You can view the dashboard through the Google Analytics site.

There is also the possibility to have a Customized Google Analytics dashboard which is accessible through independent vendors. 

Secondary Dimension In Google Analytics

Within Google Analytics there are metrics and dimensions. Metrics is the representation of the numerical value of the collected data and so they are displayed in digits and fractions.

Dimensions are the representation of the descriptive side of the collected data and so you will see the dimensions portrayed as capital letters, user types, devices, and other verbal data depictions.

what is a secondary dimension in google analytics

Examples of common dimensions seen on Google Analytics include:

  • Browser type
  • City and country
  • Language
  • Models of Devices used
  • User age groups

All of this data would be concerning who and how a user is accessing a specific website. The secondary dimension of course is a part of the dimensions.

This dimension is a second verbal filter that can be applied to collected data and is used when more data is needed, for example, what type of browser was used by a viewer and other more detailed information.

How To Add A Secondary Dimension In Google Analytics

Adding a secondary dimension to Google Analytics is a straightforward process. You simply need to choose your target table and turn your focus to the top of the table.

On the far left of the table, you should see the words Primary Dimension. Next, click on Other beside Primary Dimension and select Secondary Dimension from the dropdown menu.

Next, press the down arrow and choose from the dimension categories available and again select Secondary Dimension. Your original table should now say Secondary Dimension on the left and you will have access to more detailed information.

Benefits & Limitations Of Google Analytics

There are both benefits and limitations associated with Google Analytics. Below we look at both.

One reason for Google Analytics’ popularity is the power behind this service and also the fact it is free and user-friendly. There are also the following advantages for users:

  • Beginner-friendly platform
  • Variety of customizable dimensions and variety of metrics enables users to acquire a variety of types of helpful insights
  • There are other fantastic tools within Google Analytics, such as monitoring, reporting, predictive analysis, data visualization, and more

As with all things, there are also some shortcomings associated with Google Analytics, such as:

  • Accuracy of data may be compromised as a result of website users blocking Google Analytics cookies as well as specific browser extensions, ad filtering programs, and privacy networks
  • 500,000 random sessions are sampled when generating a report in an attempt to reduce the server load. This means that the threshold for error are only accounted for the number of visits in these reports and so small pieces of collected data could contain have a higher threshold for error.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide has given you more of an understanding of what secondary dimension is within Google Analytics.

Although it only comprises a small portion of the service, it is extremely useful for many businesses to capture more detailed data.

Justin Shaw
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