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Are unique screen views split by custom dimensions are not recorded properly?

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# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I created a custom report with metrics screen views and unique screen views split by two custom dimensions. These custom dimensions' scope is set to hit level.

The resulting report includes rows with several screen views but no or hardly any unique screen views. Any ideas why that is?

 

Custom Report with screen views and custom dimensionsCustom Report with screen views and custom dimensions

 

1 Expert replyverified_user

Are unique screen views split by custom dimensions are not recorded properly?

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star

Hey David,

 

You're mixing dimensions and metrics of different levels.  Unique screen views is tied to the number of times a particular screen is viewed uniquely in session and you don't seem to have a screen name dimension.

 

Best,

 

Theo Bennett

Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn

Are unique screen views split by custom dimensions are not recorded properly?

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

The problem persists if I add screen name as a dimension. Are unique scren views tied to the first retrieval of a screen name just like sessions are tied to the first screen / page? Having x > 0 screen views but 0 unique screen views doesn't make sense to me at all. I thought unique screen views were supposed to bridge the gap between hit- and session-based metrics.

Can someone provide me with an example elaborating the use of unique screen views and custom dimensions? Official doucmentation is rather poor.

 

From a different perspective, it make sense to question my setup:

I established these custom dimensions to distinguish between publications a user can choose from.

The screen names themselves do not differ between different publications. The screen names, however, tell me if a user is reading an issue, browsing a catalouge, etc.

So, by using unique screen views divided by publication and filtered by the screen name that relates to reading an issue I could compare how often different publications are read. 

Are unique screen views split by custom dimensions are not recorded properly?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Anyone? Do I need to elaborate on my question?

Are unique screen views split by custom dimensions are not recorded properly?

Rising Star
# 5
Rising Star

Hey David,

 

Can you post your results here with Screen name as primary dimension?

 

In theory (analogous to page and page title), you should be fine with the screen name dimension and then your hit level cdims.  These are all being sent at the same time?

 

Best,

 

Theo

Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn

Re: Are unique screen views split by custom dimensions are not recorded properly?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Can you post your results here with Screen name as primary dimension?

Custom Report with Screen Name and two Custom DimenionsCustom Report with Screen Name and two Custom Dimenions

I also used a filter to make sure only screens, which actually set the custom dimension are included.

In theory (analogous to page and page title), you should be fine with the screen name dimension and then your hit level cdims. These are all being sent at the same time?

App Tracking is implemented by a service provider, who claims custom dimensions are set properly before any hit is send. Unfortunately, I can't take a look at the code myself. However, there is also a white label web application I have access to (which basically provides the same thing). Judging by the information from sent collect.gif in Chrome Dev Tools custom dimensions seem to be set properly. Still, there are some (although rare) occasions with 0 unique pageviews:

Custom Report with Page and two Custom DimensionsCustom Report with Page and two Custom Dimensions

 

Are unique screen views split by custom dimensions are not recorded properly?

Rising Star
# 7
Rising Star

David,

 

Last question ( I hope), how does the report look without the custom dimensions?  That is do you get normal data for unique views, etc?

 

If they are not setting the custom dimension WITH the screen name hit, it could be causing an issue.   That is the screen push and the pageview should happen either after the cd is set (for pageviews) or simultaneously with the page or screen view.  You should not see 0 for unique pageviews when you have pageviews.

 

It sounds like they may have "set" the custom dimension for all hits from the screen or page which is why you could see zeros; that is, your report is pulling in the hits where the custom dimension is set.

 

It looks strange because unique views is a session level metric so you're getting the hits after the initial view when the value for that session is in fact 0.  That is, they've already seen that screen in session.  

 

Your report is probably still usable if you filter for where the unique views does not match 0 you should get your unique's and compare to your screen views.

 

Best,

 

Theo

Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn

Re: Are unique screen views split by custom dimensions are not recorded properly?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Last question ( I hope), how does the report look without the custom dimensions?  That is do you get normal data for unique views, etc?

 

A simple report with screen name as a dimension and screen views and unique screen views as metrics reports no rows with 0 unique screen views.

 

If they are not setting the custom dimension WITH the screen name hit, it could be causing an issue.   That is the screen push and the pageview should happen either after the cd is set (for pageviews) or simultaneously with the page or screen view.  You should not see 0 for unique pageviews when you have pageviews.

Since they implemented it correctly for web analytics I expect them to get this right for app tracking as well. Documentation is also quiet clear about this in my opinion. I'll ask them anyways just to be sure.

 

It sounds like they may have "set" the custom dimension for all hits from the screen or page which is why you could see zeros; that is, your report is pulling in the hits where the custom dimension is set.

I'm sorry, I don't get this. Could you elaborate a bit more?

 

It looks strange because unique views is a session level metric so you're getting the hits after the initial view when the value for that session is in fact 0.  That is, they've already seen that screen in session.

I find Google's documentation to be very unclear about this:

"A unique pageview, as seen in the Content Overview report, aggregates pageviews that are generated by the same user during the same session. A unique pageview represents the number of sessions during which that page was viewed one or more times."

 

This would simply mean a unique page / screen view is equal to a session except that unqiue views are tied to pages / screens (hence are hit level-based) whereas sessions are always incremented no matter what pages / screens are seen.

From this I deduce that if a user visits a domain and browses from

example.com/home to example.com/category1 Google Analytics would report the following:

  • Metric: Session, dimension: Page --> 1 session for /home, 0 sessions for /category1
  • Metric: unique page view, dimension: Page --> 1 unique page view for /home, 1 unique page view for /cateogory1

The same logic should apply to any hit-based dimension then, custom dimensions included. Given the results from my reports this doesn't seem to be the case though.

 

Your report is probably still usable if you filter for where the unique views does not match 0 you should get your unique's and compare to your screen views.

Unfortunately, this would omit a notable amount of my relevant screens. Also, even rows with more than 0 unique screen views show an odd ratio between screen views and unique screen views.