Google Analytics: Reports

How to successfully use Google Analytics reports

Google Analytics provides useful reports that help analysing data and understanding the impact on the business. It can be easy to get lost in the huge pile of data available on Google Analytics. It is therefore important for SME’s to focus on the main outcomes that the business wants to achieve and use the appropriate data in order to analyse the business’ performance. Simplicity is the key to successful reports.

Google Analytics already has some pre-installed reports that are available to use. A useful report that can be accessed is the most popular pages report. This report shows the pages on your website that have been visited the most. It can be accessed through Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages. Another very useful report is the landing pages report. It outlines the pages visitors first land on when they enter your website. This can be very useful in analysing how these pages can be modified if there is a high bounce rate or if people do not spend a lot of time on your website. The landing pages report can be found through Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages. It is also useful to understand which keywords have been used to find/ land on your page. This can be found in Acquisition > Campaigns > Keywords; you are then able to select if between paid and organic keywords.

Even though the available reports provide useful insights, it can be beneficial to create customised reports. You will be able to create a more tailored report that is specifically suited to the goals of your business. In order to create a customised report, you need to be aware of the main outcomes you want to get from the analysis of the data. Once this has been established it should be identified which data needs to be included in the report.

Google Analytics uses dimensions and metrics that can be paired together to create a table with valuable data. These dimensions are characteristics of the specific data and metrics are the quantitative measurements or averages. Dimensions and metrics in Google Analytics are grouped into three different scopes; user, session and hits. Only metrics and dimensions from the same scope can be paired to create a report.

To create a custom report you have to start off by selecting the ‘customization’ tap from the top of any page. You are then able to select ‘new custom report’ which will lead to the page where you can create a customised report with your data. You will now have to create a report title. Choose a title that will let you easily identify the meaning of the report. You will now be able to add report tabs. This is an optional feature. Every report comes with at least one tab but you can add more tabs if needed. You are now able to select the report type. Google Analytics offers three types; Explorer, Flat Table or Map Overlay.

  • Explorer: This is the standard Google Analytics report. It includes a line graph and a data table with dynamic elements.
  • Flat Table: This is static, sortable table that displays data in rows.
  • Map Overlay: This shows a map of the world. Different regions and countries are displayed in darker colours to indicate traffic and engagement volume.

Now you will have to define the dimensions and metrics of your report. Remember you can only pair metrics and dimensions from the same scope. Once this step is completed you will be able to create filters for your report if needed. You can also select where this report should appear. Use the dropdown menu to select specific views. If you want your report to be allowed on all views you have access to select ‘All views associated with this account’. The last remaining step is now to save your customised report.

To access your customised reports for future use, select the customisation tab on the top of the page and select ‘Overview’ to see a list of all your customised reports.