Should I use a Metric, Multi-Metric, or Report to visualize my data?

This article describes how to select the appropriate type of element to visualize your data.  An overview is provided for the typical use-case scenarios as well as the advantages and key constraints for the 3 primary types of elements supported by Metric Insights:

  1. Metrics
  2. Multi-Metrics
  3. Reports

1. When should I create a Metric?

A metric is the right element type to use when you want to chart a key measure across time. A metric may include a dimension and is limited to a single measure and must show trends over-time.

Key Requirements for a Metric

  • Time must be the X-axis in the chart
  • A Metric Chart can only include a single Measure

Advantages of Metrics

  • Moving Average Lines can be automatically created in the Сhart
  • A comparison line can be defined to visually compare values to a prior period (e.g. 'Same time last year')
  • Statistical and Stoplight views can be automatically created
  • External events can be overlaid on the chart
  • Targets can be associated to the metric with variances displayed in the chart
  • Alerts are easily generated for metrics by regular users

The above example illustrates a metric that charts the Sales measure using a dimension drop-down for Product Subcategory (1).  A parent Category (2) value is also included as a drop-down in the chart.

2. When should I create a Multi-Metric?

A Multi-Metric is used when you want to combine more than one Metric together in the same chart.    

Key Requirements for a Multi-Metric

  • Metrics must first be defined individually before they can be included in a Multi-Metric chart
  • Multi-Metrics support only Bar and Line visualizations (use a Report for other types of visualizations)

Advantages of Multi-Metrics

  • Metrics from different data sources can be easily included in the same Multi-Metric Chart
  • Different dimension values for a Metric can be compared in a Multi-Metric (e.g. Sales for the US can be compared to Sales for Europe for a metric dimensioned by geography)

The above example illustrates a Multi-Metric that charts a Sales metric together with a Daily Visitors Metric. See below for example of second advantage.

2.1.  Example of how all dimensions of a single metric can be displayed on one chart using a Multi-Metric.

  1. Add each dimension as a separate Metric
  2. Example of a Multi-Metric Chart for all dimensions of Sales for all Countries Metric

3. When should I create a Report?

When should I create a Report?

A Report can be used to visualize any data set using a wide array of visualization options.   Reports also allow you to pivot a data set before it is included in a chart.   Additional information about how reports are created can be found here

Advantages of Reports

  • Any arbitrary data set can be charted - no restrictions on number of measures or dimensions included in data set
  • Multiple charts and pivot tables can be included in a report as long as they are all based on the same underlying data set
  • If Report history is maintained, KPI and Report alerts can be easily generated by Admin or Power User

The above example shows an example where data was pivoted and charted as a stacked bar chart.