How to Use Secondary Dimensions in Google Analytics

Google Analytics has a large depth of information from a website that allows us to gain understanding on how people use the site. However, the biggest hurdle when using this program is understanding how to organize that data to get relevant and timely information about your website. One of the most effective ways to organize information in Google Analytics is using secondary dimensions to isolate and gain insight into areas that would otherwise be lumped into larger chunks of unnoticeable numbers. The secondary dimensions option is available in any table of metrics and is located in the top left-hand corner of the table next to the plot rows button.

Secondary Dimensions 1


Secondary dimensions allow us to see data that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to see with the standard views of metrics. There are a wide variety of options to choose from when selecting secondary information, but to simplify this explanation I’ll use a couple of relevant examples I think we could all use with the Google mobile update just around the corner. These combination of dimensions can be particularly useful to gather information on mobile visits and how those are changing over the coming months.

Source / Medium with secondary dimension of Device Category

We know that the majority of the traffic the mobile update is going to effect will be mobile organic traffic from Google. To isolate this, you can go to the source medium tab and click “google / organic”. Then select a secondary dimension of “Device Category”, which will allow you to see your Google organic traffic segmented by each device type. By isolating this, we can get direct numbers on the impact the update is having on a site, such as changes in sessions or revenue from each channel. Having this type of information allows you to create a justified and actionable plan to adapt to the changes in the environment.

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Device Category with secondary dimension of Landing Page

This is another great set up that allows you to diagnose how effective individual web pages are performing on each device category. With mobile becoming an increasing part of every website, user experience on those pages across each medium will also become increasingly important. This setup will allow you to analyze engagement, transactions or goal conversions, and overall effectiveness of a specific page across each device category. This information can be particularly useful if you are trying to decide whether or not to do a mobile/responsive redesign or is what you currently have is performing well.

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As you can see, the type of information that you can get from these more granular views using the secondary engagement will help you to move confidently into the future. There are many other great secondary dimensions for you to explore as well and if you have favorite combination please share them below!

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