Unique Dimension Combinations (UDC) to Replace Deprecated “Unique Events” Metric

nique Events Metric DeprecatedIf you’ve been creating custom reports with the Unique Events metric you may have been surprised by the recent appearance of a yellow triangle, with the message “WARNING: This Metric is Deprecated”.

Actually, it’s the name, and not the actual metric, that’s deprecated and will be going away.

The current Unique Events metric is being renamed.  It’s new name is Unique Dimension Combinations, and a brand new metric Unique Events (New) had been added.

Confusing?  We’ll explain the reasons for these changes below.

But first.

Why do you need to pay attention now?  Here are three reasons:

  1. For a limited transition deprecation period, both the deprecated Unique Events metric and the Unique Dimension Combinations metric will co-exist.
    • After the deprecation period, all reports that still have the current Unique Events metric will automatically assume the new name Unique Dimension Combination.
    • So, take the time to understand now what the differences are, so that you’re not stopped in your tracks one day when you open your report and you see Unique Dimension Combinations when you were expecting to see Unique Events.
  2. During the deprecation period, the new Unique Events (New) metrics will have the “(New)” label.
    • After the deprecation period, the “(New)” will be dropped from the name.
    • You need to understand how the current and new Unique Events metrics differ.
  3. Unique Events (New) is a different metric than UDC, the current Unique Events.
    • If you regularly populate offline reports and have to compare to previous data, compare UDC to older Unique Events data.

If you are using events and segments in your segments and custom reports, you have lots of constant reminders that you are in a transition deprecation period when you select the current non-new Unique Events

Unique Events Deprecationand when you try to save, such as this:

Unique Events Deprecation Notice

 

What’s the difference between UDC and Unique Events (New)?

We’re going to use a few examples to illustrate this.

Events have sub-dimensions of Category, Action and Label.

Example 1:  Let’s say we have two videos called Pilot and Finale, and each is played just once.  Total Events are therefore 2 (no confusion there)

The triggered events’ hit data is as follows:

  • Pilot Video
    • Category: Video
    • Action: Play
    • Label: Pilot
  • Finale Video
    • Category: Video
    • Action: Play
    • Label: Finale

Data Generated will be as follows:

  • Category+Action+Label: UDC 2, Unique Events (New) 2
    • Video+Play+Pilot
    • Video+Play+Finale
  • Category+Action: UDC 1, Unique Events (New) 2
    • Video+Play
  • Category+Label: UDC 2, Unique Events (New) 2
    • Video+Pilot
    • Video+Finale
  • Action+Label: UDC 2, Unique Events (New) 2
    • Play+Pilot
    • Play+Finale

You can see the confusion caused by the current Unique Events/UDC metric by looking at the Category+Action combination.  If you’re thinking “Unique Events”, you would expect 2 and not 1.

By renaming the current Unique Events as a unique “Combination”, which it truly is, and introducing a new metric that behaves as you would expect Unique Events metric to behave, this has been fixed.

You can see a few more examples in Google’s Help Center article.

Custom Report Template Shell

To help you better understand these metrics using your own data, we’ve created a custom report template and posted it in the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery.  Login and download (import) the template into your own Google Analytics Account.

We’ve used this report for the following example.

Example with Real Live Data

If you don’t have enough events in your own GA account, use the template with Google Analytics Demo Account data.  If you don’t already have access, read this blog post about the Demo account and how to get access to Google’s Google Analytics’ Demo account.

For Example 2, we’re going to use the Enhanced Ecommerce events for Google’s Online Merchandise store GA Demo account.  In the Demo account:

  1. Select the “Master Data View”.
  2. Import this custom report template from the GA solutions gallery (login needed).
  3. Set the date range to Sept 1-17, 2016 to replicate the data in the images below.
    You should see the following.

Unique Custom Dimensions - Category

When you click on the second tab “Category & Action”, you should see this:

Unique Dimension Combinations UDC - Category and Event

Note the red boxed areas, where the UDC and Unique Event (New) are the same, in the next image, you’ll see why.

And if you click on the third tab “Category, Action & Label, you should see this:

Unique Dimension Combinations UDC - Category Event LabelBecause “Quickview Click” action maps to more than one label but the other 4 actions do not, at the Category+Action level, Quickview Click UDC and Unique Events (New) are not the same, while for the other 4 actions, UDC and Unique Events (New) are the same.

The UDC metric is not wrong, just not what one would expect Unique Events to be.  At long last, the Unique Events (New) metric works as expected, and the UDC can still be used for aggregated analysis.

We hope this helps.  If you have questions, do ask below in comments.

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