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3.7 Customization tab: An Overview

What is the customization tab in Google Analytics?


Under the Customization tab you can create custom reports, access custom reports you’ve previously created (if any) and, if you have a Premium account, access unsampled reports.

Custom reports are those you create to track something Google Analytics doesn’t already track or to present data in a specific way. You pick the dimensions (City and Browser, for example) and metrics (such as Visits, Pageviews and Bounce Rate), and decide how they should be displayed.

How to create a custom report in Google Analytics

1. Create custom report

Click “+New Custom Report” at the top of the table under the Customization tab (if this doesn’t appear, first click Overview under Custom Reports in the navigation sidebar).

2. Set title and number of report tabs

Enter a title, then optionally click “+add a report tab” if you want the report to have more than one. Note you’ll need to repeat the following steps in turn for all the other tabs you create.


3. Select a report type

Choose between: Explorer (the usual Analytics report, with a line graph and data table), Flat Table (just the data table) or Map Overlay.

4. Define your dimensions and metrics

See the main text, below.

5. Add an optional filter

If you want to display only a subset of the dimensions – for example, if Browser is a dimension, you could choose to display only data relating to certain specified browsers – then define a filter for it.

6. Restrict views

You can also optionally select whether this report should appear only in selected Views or in all Views associated with this Account. Finally, click Save.


To build a custom report, you’ll need to specify at least one dimension and one metric. Dimensions are characteristics or attributes that describe something, such as Visitor Type (new or returning), Source (the name of a referring website or search engine), Product name or code, and so on. Metrics are individual elements of a dimension that can be measured as a sum or a ratio – so as a rule of thumb, things you count.

For example: “There were 350 Pageviews and 15 Transactions from new visitors, and 967 Pageviews and 40 Transactions from returning visitors.”

Pageviews and Transactions are the metrics and Visitor Type (new or returning) is the dimension.

Note that some metrics and dimensions can’t be paired in a custom report, and Google has a guide to Valid Dimension-Metric Combinations.

How to create a custom dimension

It’s possible to create a custom dimension not available in Analytics by default. To do this, click Admin, select the appropriate Account if you have more than one, and select the relevant Property. Click “Custom Definitions” in the Property column, then choose “Custom Dimensions”. If the dimension you want is not already in the list, click “New Custom Dimension”. You might wish to do this, for example, to integrate a third-party app with Analytics to import data from it[1], but note that defining the dimension might require some technical understanding.

Once you’ve created custom reports, you can access these under the Customization tab – they’ll be listed under Custom Reports in the navigation sidebar on the left. (If they don’t appear, first click Overview under Custom Reports.) Click a report name to view it; while you’re viewing it, you can click Edit in the menu bar to make changes to it. To delete an existing custom report or organize them into groups, click Overview and select the option you want from the Actions drop-down menu.

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