Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Customized Google Analytics Reports, Segments and Dashboards for the New Comer

Custom Analytic Reports Take Some Expertise

There is some tremendous power in building custom analytic reports, dashboard and advanced segments in google but lets face it, they can be tricky to setup for a new comer and its difficult to know where to start. Google provides some prebuilt solutions Google recognized the need for prebuilt reports and that not everyone is an analytics wiz or has the resources to hire one. To solve this problem they have created some predefined reports, dashboards and segmentation. http://www.google.com/analytics/learn/solutions-gallery.html

They categorize the prebuilt solutions by:
  • Analytics Solutions – Dashboards, Custom Reports and Advanced Segments
  • Business Objective – Publisher, Ecommerce, Branding, Lead Generation, Support
  • Marketing Function – Social Sharing, SEO, Engagement, PPC, Acquisition, Mobile, Site Optimization

A look at some of the Dashboards and what they do

Dashboards pull together various widgets into a single view and might be tailored around a particular function or activity.

Social Media Dashboard

The Social Media Dashboard provides multiple widgets giving data about impact of social media including: most socially shared pages, On-Site Social Actions, Traffic from Social Networks, Social & Quality from Mobile.
This is a great place to start looking at the return on your social media efforts. The nice thing about all of the prebuilt solutions is that they can also be a starting point and can be tweaked and customized to your needs. To get the most out of your social content you will need to modify tracking code for things like facebook and twitter buttons. Google +1 buttons will automatically track without any needed changes. See https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/gajs/gaTrackingSocial

Site Performance Dashboard

Google describes this dashboard as one that can help identify issues with your pages or servers’ it gives information about the speed of a page load and other metrics related to server and page performance.

A look at some of the Custom Reports

Custom reports allow you to pull and filter the metrics you want to see in a single page. Here are a few from the solutions gallery.

SEO: Referring Pages

This gives you insight into the top referring pages including the source, referral path and the average visit duration. You can see this type of information without a custom report by going to Traffic Sources>Sources>Referrals but then to see the path you must click on one of the domains. The nice thing about the SEO referring pages report is it gives you that information in a single page.

Paid vs. Organic Search Performance

This report is supposed to give you insight into the performance of your organic traffic versus your paid search traffic. When I looked at this report it wasn’t clear to me what was paid traffic and what was organic. I added Source/Medium as a secondary dimension and then was able to quickly see if it was organic or CPC. Again this shows that the predefined solutions can make good jumping off points instead of having to start from scratch.

Advanced Segments

Segments allow you to view data around a specific kind of traffic and look at all the reports for that particular segment or compare to another segment. http://support.google.com/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1033017
After creating a segment you can then go into one of your reports then filter it out according to that segment.

Engaged Traffic

An example of a predefined segment from the Google Analytics Solutions is engaged traffic. This will give you information about those that spend more then 3 minutes on your site and view at least 3 pages.

Good Starting Point

The solutions gallery is a great jumping off point to see how you can segment your users, customize your reports and see all the information you need in a single dashboard. You can see how they setup the customization then begin creating some on your own or modifying what they provide.

Learn More

You can learn more about Google Analytics Solutions Gallery by visiting