Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book

Calculated Metrics

In the world of web analytics, KPIs (success events) are great, but ratios are better. For example, if you manage a lead generation website and your form completions are increasing by five percent each week, you’d probably be pretty happy. However, what if I then told you that in the same time frame visits to your website increased ten percent each week? Would you still feel great about your five percent lift in form completions? Using ratios, you can normalize data and get a better perspective. In many cases, the only reason you create the success events you just learned about is to create a website conversion metric. In SiteCatalyst, these conversion metrics are created using calculated metrics. In this section, I’ll review SiteCatalyst calculated metrics so you understand how they’re created and used.

What Are Calculated Metrics?

Calculated metrics are SiteCatalyst metrics that are derived from existing metrics within your report suite. Using common operators, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, you can create new metrics from existing metrics for use in your web analyses. In fact, most of my calculated metrics are ratios using division as I divide two existing metrics to create a third metric. There are several ways to create calculated metrics, but the most common way is to create them by using the Add Metrics link within a report. When you click this link, you can select the Metric Type drop-down box and choose Calculated to see a list of all existing calculated metrics (Figure 4.8).

Figure 4.8

Figure 4.8. Selecting calculated metrics in the Add Metrics window.

If you don’t see the metric you desire in the list, you may have to create a new calculated metric. To do this, click the multicolored icon with the plus (+) sign ch4inline_graphic.jpg, which will take you to the Calculated Metrics Manager (Figure 4.9). In the Calculated Metrics Manager, click the Define New Metric button to access the calculated metric formula builder (Figure 4.10).

Figure 4.9

Figure 4.9. Calculated Metrics Manager.

Figure 4.10

Figure 4.10. Calculated metric formula builder.

On this screen, you can name the calculated metric, choose its type, and specify the formula to be used. In Figure 4.10, I’ve created a metric to determine how many Orders take place per Visit as a percentage. When you save this metric, you’ll be taken back to the previous screen, and the newly created calculated metric will appear in the list of available metrics. Note that from this screen, if you have administrator rights, you can make a calculated metric “global,” so it is visible to all SiteCatalyst users. This is an easy way to standardize your organization on common metric definitions.

Creating and Using Calculated Metrics

After you’ve created a new calculated metric, you can use it in many ways. To begin with, you can add it to a report as a metric as you would any other metric. For example, if you had a Visit Number Conversion Variable report, you could add the newly created Orders/Visit calculated metric (Figure 4.11).

Figure 4.11

Figure 4.11. Sample report using a calculated metric.

As you can see in Figure 4.11, because there was data for the two components of the calculated metric, SiteCatalyst can display the ratio for each of the conversion variable values. In this case, it looks like the website is converting slightly better with each incremental visit to the website.

Note that you can use calculated metrics in conversion and traffic reports. However, as you’ll recall, there are certain metrics that are available in traffic variable reports (traffic metrics) and others that are available in conversion reports (success events). Therefore, depending on whether you are viewing the list of available calculated metrics in a traffic or conversion variable report, you’ll see only those metrics that use underlying metrics that are valid in that report.

In addition to using calculated metrics in traffic and conversion reports to see ratios for each report value, you can also view the overall calculated metric for the entire report suite. This type of metric report is identical to what you would see when you’re looking at the raw data of a SiteCatalyst success event. You open this report by choosing Favorites > Calculated Metrics in the SiteCatalyst toolbar and selecting the metric you want to see (Figure 4.12).

Figure 4.12

Figure 4.12. Opening calculated metric reports.

The resulting report will show you the calculated metric data in a similar format to a success event metric (Figure 4.13).

Figure 4.13

Figure 4.13. Sample calculated metric report.

If you instead have administrator rights for your SiteCatalyst implementation, in addition to creating or editing calculated metrics from within the Add Metrics window, you can also access and modify them from within the administration console, as shown in Figure 4.14. The administration console can also be used to replicate the same calculated metric to multiple report suites, provided that each report suite contains the metrics used in the calculated metric.

Figure 4.14

Figure 4.14. Accessing global calculated metrics via the administration console.

Total metrics

While creating the new Orders/Visit calculated metric earlier (Figure 4.10), you may have noticed that each metric available to add to the formula was shown as a standard metric and on the right side as a Total metric. Most of the time you’ll choose the standard metric on the left side of the screen. Those standard metrics are your raw traffic or success event metrics. The Total metrics on the right represent the sum total of the selected metric for the specified reporting period. For example, let’s say you create a new calculated metric using the formula Orders divided by Total Orders (Figure 4.15).

Figure 4.15

Figure 4.15. Calculated metric formula using a Total metric.

Once this is created, if you add it to a report, you’ll see that for each row it divides the numerator (Orders in this case) by the Total metric selected (also Orders in this case) to provide a report like the one in Figure 4.16. In this case, the calculated metric demonstrates that the new metric using the Total Orders metric will match the percentage of row items for total Orders, so you’ve basically re-created these row percentages using a Total metric.

Figure 4.16

Figure 4.16. A SiteCatalyst report showing a calculated metric using a Total metric.

I don’t use these Total metrics very often, but at times they can be useful. For example, let’s say you have a report of your products and you are curious to see if some products make up a large percentage of orders but not as much of a percentage of revenue, or vice versa. One way to do this is to create two calculated metrics that use Total metrics: One would be Orders divided by Total Orders, and the other would be Revenue divided by Total Revenue. Then you could add these metrics to the Products Conversion report and see a report like the one in Figure 4.17.

Figure 4.17

Figure 4.17. A SiteCatalyst report showing two calculated metrics using Total metrics.

In this report, you can see that the first two products have a similar percentage of Orders and Revenue, the next two products have a higher percentage of Orders than Revenue, and the last product shown has a higher Revenue percentage than Orders. This type of report allows you to dig deeper into your Orders and Revenue data to see if there are any underlying issues that need to be addressed.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020