Google Analytics Dimensions Explained In Great Detail

by Lokendra Sinh - Dec 8, 2020
Google Analytics Dimension

Anyone who has browsed Google Analytics should have come across a lot of variables in the reporting stats.

This report consists of Dimensions and Metrics. These are the building blocks of your reports. And if you want to create a custom report, Google gives you complete freedom on what dimensions and metrics to put in the reports.

But without the knowledge of Dimensions and metrics, you may end up creating a useless report. In this post, I will try to explain everything you need to know about Google Analytics Dimensions.

Dimensions and metrics go hand in hand on Google Analytics while analyzing your website’s data. Also, Bounce Rate is one of the factors that plays a key role in google rankings.

Know about Metrics in Google Analytics, before you start to read dimensions in google analytics.

Table of contents:

  1. What is a Dimension in Google Analytics?
  2. What are the types of Dimensions in Google Analytics?
  3. Default Dimensions and its categories?
  4. What are custom Dimensions?
  5. What are the primary Dimensions?
  6. What are the secondary Dimensions?
  7. Difference between Dimensions and metrics?
  8. How metrics and dimensions are reported in Google Analytics?

What is a Dimension in Google Analytics & its definition?

All the data you see on Google Analytics, all variables, and stats are in the form of dimensions and metrics.

Let’s define dimensions as per Google’s definition:

Dimensions are attributes of your data.

I’m sure you didn’t get that. Well, allow me to define it in simple terms.

Let’s take the e.g of the city name. Here a city is the dimension and city name like Calcutta, Bangalore, etc are the values of this dimension. Let me make this clear by providing more examples.

  • City
  • Device
  • Sources
  • Goals
  • Pages
  • Products

The source/medium from the first column of your report shows the dimensions

google analytics dimension


The report gives you an idea of how other dimensions are and if you want to see the other dimensions then click on the secondary dimension button, as shown below.

google analytics dimensions


You can also add new dimensions as secondary dimensions. For e.g, you can add “page” to your secondary dimensions to check on which page people land on your website.

In short “dimensions in Google analytics” are descriptive and characteristics of a data and when combined with metrics, it serves the meaningful purpose to us.

What are the types of Dimensions in Google Analytics?

There are two categories in which we can broadly divide the dimensions in Google analytics.

  1. Default Dimensions: The dimensions that are by default available in google analytics.
  2. Custom Dimensions: These are some user-defined dimensions.

One thing to remember is both Default and Custom dimensions can be used as primary as well as secondary dimensions in GA reports. We will see what are the primary and secondary dimensions.

Default Dimensions and its categories?

According to Google:

Default Dimensions are the dimensions that are already or by default available in Google analytics.

Some of the default dimensions are listed below:

  • Operating System
  • Device Category
  • Browser
  • Source/Medium
  • Keyword
  • Age
  • City

The following are the further categories of the default Google analytics dimensions.

  1. Session Dimensions: For example, this dimension could include Session Duration, Session Count, etc.
  2. User Dimensions: For example, this dimension could include Days Since Last Visit, User Type, Count Sessions, Customer Lifetime Value, etc.
  3. Goal Conversions Dimensions: This could include Goal Completion Location, Goal Previous Step – 2, Goal Previous Step – 3, etc.
  4. Platform or Device Dimensions: Mobile Device Model, Device Category, Operating System, Browser, etc.
  5. Traffic Source Dimensions: Keyword, Medium, Source, Campaign, etc.
  6. System Dimensions: Flash Version, Java Support, Screen Resolution, etc.
  7. Page Tracking Dimensions: Page, Exit Page, Landing Page, Page Path Level 1, Page Path Level 2, etc.
  8. Internal Search Dimensions: Search Term, Site Search Status, Start Page, Site Search Category, Destination Page, etc.
  9. App Tracking Dimensions: App Name, App ID, Screen Name, Landing Screen, Exit Page, etc.
  10. Event Tracking Dimensions: Event Action, Event Label, Event Category.
  11. E-Commerce Dimensions: Product Category, Shopping Stage, Transaction ID, Product, Product SKU, etc.
  12. Social Interaction Dimensions: Social Action, Social Type, Social Network, etc
  13. Time Dimensions: Hour, Minute, Hour of Day, Month, Date, Year, Month of the Year, Day of the Month, etc.
  14. Audience Dimensions: In-Market Segment, Age, Gender, Affinity Category, etc.
  15. Channel Grouping Dimensions: This could include Default Channel Grouping.
  16. Double Click for Publishers Backfill Dimensions: GAM Line Item Name, GAM Line Item ID, etc.
  17. Doubleclick BID Manager Dimensions: DV360 Insertion Order, DV360 Site ID, DV360 Advertiser, DV360 Exchange, etc.
  18. Double Click Search Dimensions: SA360Advertiser ID, SA360 Agency, SA360 Keyword, SA360 Campaign SA360 AD group, etc.

So these are the categories of default dimensions in Google analytics. You can always view the complete list of all the Google Analytics Dimensions with descriptions and usage.

What are Custom Dimensions?

In simple words, custom dimensions can be defined as the default dimensions except that you create them yourself to collect and analyze the data that analytics does not track or collect automatically.

Custom dimensions are user-defined dimensions.

If you want to measure characteristics of any user that is not measured by default dimensions then you need to create your dimension to measure such characteristics.

There is some data like CRM data, Phone call Data, Logged in Users, which Google Analytics does not automatically collect. Through custom dimensions, you can import these data and also correlate this non-Google analytics data with Google Analytics data.

What are the primary Dimensions?

Just another type of default dimension in Google analytics. Primary Dimension is the type of default dimensions available in Google Analytics reports.

To better understand, just navigate to the Acquisition -> Overview -> All traffic -> Channels. There you can see “Default channel grouping” applied to the primary dimension section in reports.



What are the secondary Dimensions in Google Analytics?

Just below the primary dimension section, you can see the secondary dimension. The secondary dimension you apply to the report section is called the Secondary Dimension in Google Analytics.



You can select any secondary dimension from the drop-down menu.



You can choose to apply any secondary dimension to your reports.

The following reports would look like this if you apply the “country” as a secondary dimension.

google analytics dimensions


Note: In Google Analytics, you can not use custom dimensions as primary dimensions in standard reports.

Difference between Dimensions and metrics?

I’m sure you must have this question and it’s pretty normal to get confused between Metrics and dimensions.

A dimension is an attribute or descriptive label of the website visitors while a metrics is a number or quantitative measurement of data which makes sense as to what to do with the website or what are the changes we can make. Both metrics and dimensions play a huge role in Google Analytics.

For example, we can say that a color is a dimension because it has some value in form of description such as black, white, etc while the price of the product is a metric representing a numeric value.


  • Both metrics and dimensions are different in a way they are: configured, processed, collected, reported, and queried in Google Analytics. This means that we can not use a dimension as a metric or metric as a dimension.
  • Dependency: The second most important difference is that the dimension provides context to a metric. It’s because the metrics are meaningless in itself and make sense only when it is used with dimensions.
  • Categories Difference: Unlike the dimensions, metrics are reported under three categories mentioned below:
  1. Acquisition: how visitors arrive at your website.
  2. Conversions: how visitors interacted with your website.
  3. Behaviour: how visitors completed conversions on your website.

See the below image for clarification:

Google analytics


  • Scope difference:

A dimension can have the following scopes: ‘Hit’, ‘Session’, ‘User’ or ‘Product’.

Whereas the metrics can have only two scopes that are either ‘Hit’ or ‘Product’.

  • Value Difference:

The value of custom metrics is of type “Integer” whereas the value of the custom dimension is of type “Text”.

How metrics and dimensions are reported in Google Analytics?

Google Analytics(GA) reports consists of two types of data: Metrics and dimensions.

Google Analytics displays its data in the form of a table. Each table contains a row and a column. Each row of the table indicates the value of the dimension and the respective column shows the value of metrics.



So that was all about the “Google Analytics Dimensions” and its detailed explanation.

Any question regarding the topic, you can comment down. We will be more than happy to provide you with the best possible answer.

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