Periodic Table of Google Analytics

Welcome to the latest edition of the Periodic Table of Google Analytics. Each of the elements is designed to educate you on all of the wonderful things you can do in Google Analytics.

Periodic Table Key

In 2013, I began working on a project to categorize and visually display all of the powerful options available within Google Analytics. It all started in the classroom where my students would be excited about how awesome this analytics tool is, but overwhelmed with the amount of information. I wanted to create something to help them better simplify, organize and visualize the many components of Google Analytics, and how they related to each other.

After dreaming up several display methods, I decided on an idea that has worked well in the past for other areas: the Periodic Table of Google Analytics.

Download the PDF guide:

Periodic Table PDF Image
Category Element Symbol Description
Audience Audience Reports “The who” – learn important more about your visitors
Audience Session Activity that happens within a 30 minute session window on your site
Audience Users The number of uniquely cookied visitors over a given time frame
Audience Session Duration How much time has been spent on your site for a session
Audience Active Users How many visitors were active on your site over a given period of time
Audience Cohort Analysis Use relative dates to understand how groups of users perform
Audience Demographics Get to know your visitors better
Audience Age How does visitor age affect performance?
Audience Gender Are you reaching your target audience?
Audience Interests What are your visitors interested in? Does it match your focus?
Audience Affinity Categories Reach visitors at the top of the funnel, match to AdWords
Audience In-Market Segments Reach visitors actively searching for products and services online
Audience Interest Categories What else can Google tell you about your visitors?
Audience Geo Where in the world?
Audience Language What language is the browser set to?
Audience Location Which cities, states and countries send visitors to your site?
Audience New Users Have we seen this users cookie before?
Audience Frequency & Reach Comparing session count vs. sessions
Audience Engagement Are your visitors 10 second wonders or long haulers?
Audience Technology A web developers best friend
Audience Browser & OS Beware Internet Explorer users
Audience Network Discover ISPs and double check your hostnames for SPAM
Audience Mobile Reports Is 2015 the year mobile surpasses desktop for your site?
Audience Devices Apple vs. Google – who wins?
Audience Cross Device User-ID enabled report exclusive to universal analytics
Audience Device Paths People don’t use one computer to buy anymore
Audience Acquisition Device How did they find you the first time?
Audience Custom How we used to define our audiences before Universal Analytics
Audience Custom Variables In an ancient world (2013), we used these before custom dimensions
Audience User Defined Honestly, Google doesn’t even seem to know what this means
Audience Benchmarking How is your site performing vs. others in your industry?
Audience Channels Are you making the right investments in visitor acquisition?
Audience Locations Get a little closer with your competitor estimates
Audience Benchmarking Devices Are you a mobile leader or laggard?
Audience Users Flow Do users follow the path of least resistance
Acquisition Acquisition Reports “The where?” – learn how people are finding your site
Acquisition Channels An overview the channels driving website visitors, with defaults
Acquisition Source/Medium Who sent you traffic (source) and how did they send it (medium)?
Acquisition Direct Visits Frankly, we don’t know where you came from
Acquisition Referrals Visitors who came to your site from another website
Acquisition Organic Search Traffic driven to your website by natural search engine listings
Acquisition Paid Search Industry calls it PPC, Google Analytcampaignics calls it cpc. Deal with it.
Acquisition Email Traffic Traffic driven to your website through email marketing campaigns
Acquisition AdWords Clicks Report on actual costs to actual revenue for actual ROAS analysis!
Acquisition Cost Source Data imported into your account from Google AdWords
Acquisition UTM Variables Clean up your reports with campaign tagging
Acquisition All Referrals View the full referral path from external websites
Acquisition AdWords Are your paid search efforts returning a positive ROAS?
Acquisition AdWords Campaigns View website performance for AdWords campaigns
Acquisition Treemaps Give your reports a sense of scale
Acquisition Bid Adjustments In depth understanding of mobile bid adjustments
Acquisition Keywords Your AdWords keywords by match type
Acquisition Search Queries The actual query that drove your AdWords visitors
Acquisition Hours of Day Who shops at 3am on a Tuesday anyway?
Acquisition Destination URLs How do your landing pages affect conversion rates?
Acquisition Display Targeting Gain a complete understanding of how you perform on the GDN
Acquisition Video Campaigns Performance of your cat video campaigns
Acquisition Shopping Campaigns Using Google Shopping? Understand your effectiveness here!
Acquisition SEO Reports Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) reports
Acquisition Queries The top 1,000 daily queries for the past 90 days. Very inaccurate
Acquisition Landing Pages The top 1,000 pages receiving search traffic. Accurate for small sites.
Acquisition Geographical Summary Where in the world are people finding you? Web or image search?
Acquisition Social Reports Surface level understanding of social media traffic to your site
Acquisition Netword Referrals Which social networks are driving traffic to your site?
Acquisition Data Hub Activity A once promising roundup of activity on second tier social networks
Acquisition Landing Pages Which pages are hot with social media?
Acquisition Trackbacks Find out which blogs are linking to your content and driving visitors
Acquisition Conversions Are social visitors taking favorable actions?
Acquisition Social Plugins Are those share buttons on your site actually working?
Acquisition Users Flow Do social visitors follow the same path as other visitors?
Acquisition Campaigns Traffic that you drive to your site with proper tagging
Acquisition Paid Keywords Similar to AdWords report, but includes other search engines too
Acquisition Organic Keywords Where your useless (not provided) keyword reports went to die
Acquisition (Not Provided) Still the Bane of SEO Existence
Acquisition Cost Analysis Import your cost data, analyze
Behavior Behavior Reports “The what” – what did visitors do on your site?
Behavior Behavior Flow All roads lead to Rome, but where do your visitors go?
Behavior Site Content Content is queen of the jungle
Behavior Page Value The value of a page of content relative to overall conversion value
Behavior Bounce Rate Who came, puked and left your site?
Behavior Content Drilldown View content grouped by URL patterns
Behavior Landing Pages What is the big draw of your website?
Behavior Exit Pages Are certain pages costing you money?
Behavior Site Speed Is your site more like a Tortoise or Usain Bolt?
Behavior Page Timings For a small subset of pages, how fast did they load?
Behavior Speed Suggestions Tips to optimize site speed, broken down by page
Behavior User Timings Customize categories for your user timings
Behavior Site Search Your search box is a window into your users deepest needs
Behavior Usage What percentage of users are using your search engine?
Behavior Search Terms What do people need help finding?
Behavior Pages Where do users initiate site search?
Behavior Events Beyond a pageview, understand what happens within your pages
Behavior Top Events List frequent event categories, actions and labels for your site
Behavior Pages Which pages have the most events?
Behavior Events Flow What happens before and after your on page events?
Behavior AdSense Reports How much money did your site make and how did you make it?
Behavior AdSense Pages Which pages are bringing in the cash?
Behavior AdSense Referrers Who drove the traffic that made you money?
Behavior Experiments An easy way to split test your pages, complete with statistical
Behavior In-Page Analytics Does enhanced link attribution even work?
Conversions Conversions “The How Much” – What is the purpose of your website?
Conversions Goals Train Google to recognize your key online business objectives
Conversions Goal URLs Which pages on your site are generating goals?
Conversions Reverse Goal Path We know they converted, now let’s trace their journey backwards
Conversions Funnel Visualization Ecommerce site? Set up your funnel and thank me later
Conversions Goal Flow This is now the 5th flow chart available in Google Analytics
Conversions Ecommerce Important reports if you are selling products on your website
Conversions Enhanced Ecommerce Improved reporting suite for ecommerce websites
Conversions Product Performance Which products are selling with the most frequency?
Conversions Sales Performance Sort daily sales figures by a number of secondary dimensions
Conversions Transactions Review details of each order, by unique order idea
Conversions Revenue Money money money from ecommerce transactions
Conversions Time to Purchase How many days from the first visit did it take to purchase?
Conversions Multi Channel Funnels Conversion is a team effort and your traffic sources are the players
Conversions Assisted Conversions Which channel gets the glory, and which ones deserve an assist?
Conversions Top Conversion Path The path to purchase is not always simple, understand the journey
Conversions Time Lag How many days from the first visit did it take to convert?
Conversions Path Length How many times do people visit before a purchase?
Conversions Attribution Modeling Give credit where credit is due, we call this the $150k tool
Settings Account All that is Google Analytics is contained in an account
Settings Account Settings Basic settings for your entire account, includes data sharing
Settings User Management Only certain power users can add users/change permissions
Settings All Filters A list of all of the filters in your account
Settings Change History Who did that? When did they do it?
Settings Web Property Each unique domain name/discrete property in your account
Settings Property Settings Settings that are tied to your unique web property
Settings User Management Manage user permissions for a certain property
Settings Tracking Info Cloud based customization of your Universal Analytics property
Settings Tracking Code Find most up to date version of your analytics.js tracking code
Settings User-ID Track users across devices by setting a common User ID
Settings Session Settings 30 minutes not enough? Adjust your default session timeout here
Settings Organic Search Sources Add new search engines to the default list of organic traffic sources
Settings Referral Exclusion Stop tracking your subdomains and shopping carts as referrals
Settings Search Term Exclusion If you ever need to set search terms to exclude as organic traffic
Settings Product Linking Integrate various Google products with Google Analytics
Settings AdWords Linking Seamlessly link your AdWords data to Google Analytics reports
Settings AdSense Linking Publishers can unlock deeper AdSense reporting and improve results
Settings All Products Integrating Search Console, Doubleclick and BigQuery happens here
Settings Remarketing Looking to re-engage users once they leave? Do it in Google Analytics!
Settings Custom Definitions This is where you can define custom dimensions and metrics
Settings Custom Dimensions Discover a new way of looking at your visitors (think columns of data)
Settings Custom Metrics Find new ways to quantify the value visitors bring to your business
Settings Data Import Import your offline data into Google Analytics
Settings Social Settings View social media activity for your YouTube channel
Settings Views Each web property can have multiple views, keep one unfiltered
Settings View Settings Settings for that specific view of the data, like site search and ecommerce
Settings Goals Configure Google to recognize your key business goals
Settings Content Grouping Group content together by common attributes
Settings Filters Modify and clean your data before it enters your view
Settings Ecommerce Settings Configure settings for traditional and enhanced ecommerce
Settings Personal Assets The assets you have created within each view
Settings Segments Keep track of all of the segments you have created within a view
Settings Custom Attribution Define or import attribution models for specific business needs
Settings Custom Channel Customize channel groupings to match your strategy
Settings Group Create channel groupings that only you can see
Settings Private Channel Group Google will email or text you whenever certain criteria is met
Settings Scheduled Emails Automatically schedule email reports to yourself or customers
Settings Share Assets Share your creations with other GA users
Settings Calculated Metrics Find new ways to quantify the value visitors bring to your business
Interface Dashboards Customize first thing you see when you log in
Interface Automated Intelligence While you were out… this happened
Interface Annotations Make note of traffic spikes/drops and pay it forward to others
Interface Shortcuts Get to that report faster so you can spend more time analyzing
Interface Real-Time Who is visiting your site right now?
Interface Date Range The period of time your reports are representing
Interface Custom Reports The world is your oyster
Product GA Premium Premium version of Google Analytics for high traffic sites
Product Universal Analytics Newest version of Google Analytics tracking code
Product Classic Analytics A funny name given to a product that is barely 3 years old
Product Urchin Analytics Google Analytics before there was Google Analytics
Product Cookies The method of identifying unique visitors by Google Analytics
Product analytics.js The most current version of the Google Analytics code
Product ga.js Legacy Google Analytics code replaced by analytics.js
Product GAIQ Certification exam for individuals in Google Analytics
Product GACP Google Analytics Certified Partners, the best in the business
Product Mobile App Tracking Special SDK for tracking Android and iOS apps
Data Advanced Segments Easily view how specific visitor segments perform on your site
Data Analytics API Programmatically access Google Analytics, create greatness
Data Async Tracking Code JavaScript code that tracks visitors without slowing you down
Data ELA Enhanced Link Attribution, clean up your In-Page Analytics
Data Pii You can’t store Personally Identifiable Information in Google Analytics
Data Integrations Integrate Google Analytics with phone calls, CRM systems and more
Data Measurement Protocol Make Google Analytics talk with your CRM and other systems
Data Client ID A unique identifier for each computer assigned by GA
Data Sampled Data A subset of data from your website traffic used to generate reports
Data Gif Hit Visitor data transmits to Google Analytics via utm.gif image request
Data Data Sharing Share your data between Google products
Data Privacy Something that Google takes very seriously worldwide
Data Google Tag Manager A solution to many of your JavaScript woes

If you want more detailed explanations of each element on this Periodic Table, I’m creating an entire video series on YouTube. You can head over to my YouTube Channel and check that out. I think you might find it helpful, no matter your skill level.

This will be an ever changing and improving document, so if you find anything that is missing or you disagree with something, please contact us.