Google Analytics Knowledge Base

Google Analytics Data Attributes and Segmentations

This article covers:

The building blocks and data processing methods of Google Analytics, such as:

  • Scope
  • Segments
  • Filters
  • Dimensions
  • Metrics


Scope defines the way how data is collected. As it’s clearly define in Google Analytics, Scope has 4 types:

  • User data
  • Session data
  • Hit data
  • Product Data

A hit is single action users perform on a website such as a pageview or an event. It can contain User and Product data, but a hit doesn’t not contain Session data because Sessions are defined after hit data is collected, by looking into the time stamps associated with each hit. Remember: a session duration is 30 minutes.

Users vs Sessions

Some Google Analytics users might still remember a few years back, Session were introduced after User in Google Analytics reporting. This is inevitable because Google Analytics collects data by placing a cookie in a user’s browser, therefore session dose not associate with the person who uses the browser, but rather the browsing activity. To make it simple: one user who visit the same website with two different web browsers within a 30 min duration, are considered as two sessions.

Segments vs Filters

Both Segments and Filters can help us to get a subset of Google Analytics data, but the differences are:

  • Segments operate at user or session level, while Filters operate at hit level.
  • Segments can be applied on a view level, with influence on historical and current data, so they are non-destructive.
  • Filters can be applied to both account and view level, with influence only on future data, in other words it’s destructive which means the data excluded by filter (during the enabled period) are not recoverable.
  • Segments are used way more often than filters as segmentation tools to get a specific subset data from Google Analytics.
  • At an account level, Filters are often used to exclude traffic that has no significance, such as internal or spam/bot traffic; or at view level report a specific traffic source such as marketing campaigns.

Dimensions vs Metrics

It’s much easier to understand the two if you’ve already had a good understanding of attribute and attribute values from an eCommerce point of view. Likewise, Dimensions are Google Analytics data attributes – names of groups of data collections; whilst Metrics are the actual data attribute values – the measurements.

By Ethan

To many, a business is a lifetime commitment. It's easy to start one yet difficult to make it successful. Attitude, skills, experiences and dedication help hone the craft along the way, but it's often the great vision and resilience to remain focused wins the game. Read more about me here