What Is The Metadata API - Overview

This document provides a high level overview of the Google Analytics Metadata API. For a detailed reference of the API, read the API Reference.


The Metadata API returns the list and attributes of columns (i.e. dimensions and metrics) exposed in the Google Analytics reporting APIs. Attributes returned include UI name, description, segments support, and more.

You can use the Metadata API to:

  • Automatically discover new columns
  • Access all dimensions and metrics attributes for Google Analytics reporting APIs

Check out a live Metadata API response and learn how you can use this by reading the Dev Guide.

Conceptual Overview

The fundamental concepts underlying the Metadata API are:


A Column resource in the Metadata API represents a single dimension or metric and contains information such as the Id and other attributes for that column. A collection of Column resources represents all of the dimensions and metrics for a reporting API.

Working with the API

When querying the API you specify the report type for which you're interested in retrieving metadata. The response from the API will include a collection of all the columns (i.e. dimensions and metrics) available for that report type. Read the Metadata API Reference Guide for more information about the API response and code examples, and the Metadata API Dev Guide for details on working with the API.

API Access

The Metadata API doesn't require authentication and authorization. Instead, the only requirement is that your application identify itself every time it sends a request to the Analytics API. For details on how to do this see the API Access section of the Dev Guide.

Quota and Deprecation Policies

The Metadata API handles millions of operations. To protect the system from receiving more operations than it can handle, and to ensure an equitable distribution of system resources, it is necessary to employ a quota system. Read the Limits and Quota guide for more details.

For details on how changes to reporting API columns (i.e. dimensions and metrics) are handled, read the Data Deprecation Policy. To learn how the Metadata API can be used to check for deprecated columns, see the Metadata API Dev Guide.