7 Calculated Metrics for Nonprofits

Google Analytics, like a parent sending their child off to college, is learning to let go. And they’re doing it with calculated metrics. Like a wide-eyed college freshman during our first week away – we’re finally calling our own (Google Analytics) shots!
Google Analytics loosens the reigns and lets us do our own thing with Calculated Metrics: Click To Tweet
What are calculated metrics you ask? Calculated metrics are user-defined – meaning we get to decide what we want to measure. Using basic arithmetic, you combine existing metrics (ie: goals you have set up, sessions, users, etc) to create a new metric (you even get to name it!) that drives more relevant analysis for your organization.  
Where to Find Calculated Metrics

Where?! What?! How?! I know – I’m just as excited as you are. You can find the link to create a calculated metric in the “View” Section under the “Admin” Tab in Google Analytics. Once there, you can decide what format you want your calculated metric to be in: Float, Integer, Currency, Time, or Percent. To get you thinking, we’ve come up with 7 calculated metrics that might work for your organization. Keep in mind, you will need to tracking many of these actions as a goal in Google Analytics before you can create the calculated metric.
Calculated Metric Example

1.  Donation Rate from Multiple Donation Forms

(Form #1 Donations + Form #2 Donations) / Users

Format Type: Percent
Many organizations use multiple donation forms or have different donation campaigns running at the same time. If you set up these donations as separate goals in Google Analytics, the platform will automatically give you the donation rate for the individual goals, but not an aggregated donation rate. Google Analytics also calculates rates using sessions instead of users – and as we know – users can visit your website more than once – so using sessions to calculate a rate will under report your org’s true donation rate. Setting up a calculated metric by adding the donations from each form or campaign and dividing that numbers by total users to your website will show you the true aggregated donation rate for your organization.

2.  Overall True Conversion Rate

Total Conversions /  Users

Format Type: Percent
Speaking of Google Analytics using sessions to calculate conversion rates – let’s fix that with a calculated metric! This one is pretty simple – dividing total conversions by total users will show you your organization’s true overall conversion rate (for all goals you are currently tracking).

3.  Total Program or Campaign Conversions

(Program Goal #1 + Program Goal #2 + Program Goal #3)

Format Type: Integer
Many nonprofits have multiple important actions within a program a user can take online to indicate “success” or impact. If you are already tracking each of these actions as goals in Google Analytics, let’s combine them using a calculated metric and see the total number of important actions that were taken for a particular program or campaign.
You can calculate total campaign conversions with Calculated Metrics in Google Analytics: Click To Tweet

4.  Total Program or Campaign Conversion Rate

(Program Goal #1 + Program Goal #2 + Program Goal #3) / Users

Format Type: Percent
This one is similar to calculating your org’s overall donation rate. Add up those program or campaign specific goals you are already tracking in Google Analytics and divide them by users. Is this is a good time to remind you of the importance of parenthesis? If you don’t use them, the Google Analytics calculator will divide Program Goal #3 by users then add Program Goal #1 and Program Goal #2 to that number and that’s just… wrong. 

5.  Completion Rate (process started vs process completed)

Applications Completed / Applications Started

Format Type: Percent
Using a calculated metric to see completion rate will let you know how well your nonprofit is doing at retaining a user through a specific process. This could work for email signups if a user has to confirm a second time via their inbox, program applications (# of applications started vs # of applications completed), or even an action in an app, like how our friends at Charity Miles are using calculated metrics (# of workouts started vs # of workouts completed).

6.  Average # of Sessions per User

Sessions / Users

Format Type: Integer
Google Analytics automatically calculates average number of pages per session, but what about average number of sessions per user? We can have Google automatically calculate that now! This will tell you on average how often users visit your website in given period of time. This might be especially useful for organizations that have program participants regularly logging in and accessing information on your website. If that is the case, hopefully you’re using a specific User ID view in Google Analytics.

7.  Average Time on Site per User  

Session Duration / Users

Format Type: Time
This calculated metric is useful if your nonprofit has information pages that you use to spread awareness and teach people about why adopting kittens (or whatever your cause space is) is important. Sooo… pretty much every nonprofit ever (hopefully). Using a custom report or dashboard, you can set this calculated metric for those specific pages and see the average time a user spends absorbing that useful information.

Hints, Tips, & Tricks:

  • You can use your calculated metrics in custom reports, dashboards, or other widgets.
  • Calculated metrics are currently in beta & are limited 5 per view.
  • These are meant to get you thinking. Calculated metrics are created to drive more relevant analysis for your nonprofit. There are no rules here – you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT! What other calculated metrics would be most beneficial for your organization?

Have any other ideas? Is your nonprofit using a calculated metric that’s not on this list? Let us know on Twitter or at [email protected]. We’d love to know how your nonprofit is using this new Google Analytics feature!