Mastering Calculated Metrics in Google Analytics 4


Google Analytics 4 (GA4) recently announced a new feature, known as “Calculated Metrics” that enables users to create metrics by applying mathematical operations to existing metrics. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to create calculated metrics in GA4, address common questions about this feature, and offer practical use cases.

What are Calculated Metrics?

Calculated metrics are, as the name implies, metrics derived from existing metrics or custom metrics. This concept is akin to calculated fields in popular Business Intelligence tools like Looker Studio and Tableau. For those who’ve transitioned from the older version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics or UA), you’ll find the process of creating calculated metrics in GA4 quite similar. Much like UA, GA4 also imposes a limit of 5 calculated metrics per standard property.

How to Create Calculated Metrics in GA4?

Step 1: Login and Navigate to the “Admin” Section

To begin crafting calculated metrics in GA4, log in to your account, and navigate to the “Admin” section.

Step 2: Access Custom Definitions

Under the “Admin” section, locate and click on “Custom Definitions.”

Step 3: Enter Calculated Metrics

In the “Custom Definitions” section, you’ll find a dedicated tab for “Calculated Metrics.” If it’s not visible immediately, be patient – it may take a few weeks for the property to be updated.

Step 4: Begin Creating Your Calculated Metrics

Key Fields to Define:

  • Name: Provide a unique and descriptive name for your metric, as it will be visible in your reports and explorations. While you can’t change this name later, just kidding – you can!
  • API Name: This name is automatically generated based on the metric’s name and cannot be altered post-creation. Choose wisely.
  • Description: Include a brief description to help you recall the metric’s purpose. Even though it might be tempting to skip this, it’s a helpful step.
  • Formula: Define the mathematical formula for your metric using either
    • Predefined metrics or custom metrics. You can find the list of predefined metrics here.
    • Numbers (including decimals)
    • Accepted operators (+, -, *, /). 
  • Unit of Measurement: Select from options like Standard, Currency, Distance, or Time.

Example I – Revenue (NoTax) 

Name: Revenue Without Tax

Description: Revenue without tax

Formula: {Purchase revenue} – {Tax amount}

Formatting Type: Currency

Example II – Blog Views per User

Name: Blog Views Per User

Description: Number of times a blog post was viewed per user 

Formula: {Blog Views} / {Total users} (Assuming you have a custom metric for “Blog Views”)

Formatting Type: Standard

Top 5 Calculated Metrics in GA4

While the specific metrics on this list may vary depending on the nature of the business, for the sake of simplicity, let’s consider an e-commerce enterprise. As a business analyst, these five calculated metrics play a pivotal role in facilitating the decision-making process.

  1. Cart Abandonment Rate – This metric reveals the percentage of users who add products to their cart but don’t complete the purchase. Reducing cart abandonment is crucial for increasing sales.

Formula – (({Add to carts} – {Checkouts}) / {Add to carts}) * 100

  1. Checkout Abandonment Rate – Similar to cart abandonment, this metric measures the percentage of users who start the checkout process but don’t complete it.

Formula – (({Checkouts} – {Purchases}) / {Checkouts}) * 100

  1. Refund Rate – This metric would be crucial to identify products that have the highest refund rate. 

Formula – ({Refunds} / {Purchases}) * 100

  1.  First time Purchase Rate – Helps you measure the percentage of customers who make their first purchase with your website or app during a specific time period. Calculating this rate can provide insights into your ability to convert new visitors into paying customers. Split this by the traffic sources and you will have found the best way to get new purchasing users.

Formula – ({First time purchasers} / {New users}) * 100

  1. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – It is the cost of acquiring a new customer, including marketing and advertising expenses. To calculate this, you’ll need to upload cost data to GA4 if you’re using external marketing platforms like Facebook or TikTok.

Formula – ({Non-Google cost} + {Google Ads cost}) / {First time purchasers}

Difference Between Custom Metrics and Calculated Metrics

Custom metrics involve creating metrics from event parameters or user properties, while calculated metrics use mathematical operations on standard GA4 metrics to generate new metrics.These new metrics often contain business logic, enhancing decision-making in Google Analytics 4.

Calculated metrics can be accessed in various reports, explorations, and via the Google Analytics Data API.

Prerequisites and Limits

To create a calculated metric, you need to be an Administrator or Editor.

You can create up to 5 calculated metrics per standard property and 50 calculated metrics per 360 property.

Calculated metrics can’t reference other calculated metrics in their formulas; they can only use predefined and custom metrics.


Calculated metrics in Google Analytics 4 provide an invaluable tool for tailoring your analytics to your specific business needs. By understanding the process of creating these metrics and the constraints involved, you can make more informed decisions and gather insights that drive your digital strategy. Experiment with calculated metrics to unlock the full potential of GA4. 


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