Google Custom Reports: Delivering value and true business insight

by Vineet Singh, June 29, 2015

 

The first question that comes to mind is – why stretch your time and resources into creating Google Analytics custom reports when there exists approximately 20,000 standard reports in your web analytics tool? – A reasonable question and a good time to rethink the fortunes of your online business. Well, the answer lies within your business itself (or your client’s business). It’s true that Google Analytics has an exhaustive array of metrics that can provide immense value to your business ROI, but it will be a folly to apply the same yardstick (or same set of GA standard reports) to all the businesses.

So, in a nutshell, we, as online business owners and analysts need to embrace the GA custom reports to save time, to deliver better business value and to churn out tailored information for every stakeholder in the project.

So, how do we really set the ball rolling for our GA custom reports? To start with, we need to align the following…

  • Business KPIs (Key performance indicators (Eg.: Sales / Revenue, Traffic, Enquiries, Downloads, subscriptions)
  • Metrics (actual data)
  • Dimension (attributes of the visitors & their visits. Eg., Cities, Browser, Mobile device, Visitor, Source / medium..etc.)

 

I see a lot of you mumbling…we can do this or we have already nailed it…Let’s move on to the GA tech stuff…

  •  What about the complex boxes and drilldowns in the GA custom report segment?
  • Ho w do we select the right values for metrics / dimensions?
  • What are filters and how do we set the right filters for an accurate reporting?

 

Ok, without any further ado, let’s move inside the GA custom report creation process…

 

STEP1:  Click ‘CUSTOMIZATION’ in the top navigation menu à Click ‘OVERVIEW’ in the left navigation à Click +NEW CUSTOM REPORT

 

STEP2:  Enter a Name / Title for the report (abc.com Social traffic) which explains the purpose of the report to a first timer…

 

STEP3: For Type, You can select EXPLORER (nested / clickable rows of data) or FLAT TABLE (a single table that shows all data). We will talk about the MAP OVERLAY (3rd option) in another post.

 

STEP4:   Click +ADD METRIC to add each metric…. Click +ADD METRIC GROUP to add another set of metrics

 

 

STEP5: Click + ADD DIMENSIONS to add dimensions

 

STEP6:  Click +ADD FILTER to create a meaningful subset of your report.

  1. Select a dimension (eg/ Source / medium)
  2. Select Include / Exclude (Include)
  3. Select the type of match: Exact / Regex (Short for Regular Expression) (Exact)
  4. Enter the value for your match (eg. Google / Organic)

 

 

STEP7: If you want the report to be available in additional views, please add her

STEP8:  You are done with your first custom report. Save.

A snapshot of the Custom report creation is given below – Highlighted sections are the major activities to be nailed down for a greater ROI.

 

 

With the basics of a GA custom report under our belt, it’s not a bad idea to lay our eyes on some of the most utilized custom reports in the online ecosystem.

[a] TIME OF DAY REPORT FOR ECOMMERCE: The best performing day and time for Ecommerce sites

Dimensions:  Day of the week & Hour

Metrics: Visits, Page Views, Pages / visit, Bounce rate, Transactions

 

[b] KEYWORD ANALYSIS: This report shows the most profitable / popular keywords

Dimensions:  Page Title & Keyword

Metrics:  Unique visitors, Goal completions, Goal conversion rate, Avg. Page Load time (sec)

 

[c] REFERRING SITE REPORT: This report delivers the best referring site for goal completions / conversions

Dimensions:  Source

Metrics:   Visits, Goal completions, Goal conversion rate

 

 [d] BROWSER REPORT: This report shows ROI from different browsers for your site in terms of visits, revenue, bounce rates and purchases

Dimensions:  Browser

Metrics: Visits, Revenue, Bounce rate, %Exit, Unique purchases

 

[e] NON-BRANDED KEYWORD REPORT: This report shows the conversions / goals achieved for non-branded keywords. Here, you will have to filter out your own branded keywords.

Dimensions:  Keyword

Metrics: Visits, Goal completions, Revenue

 

Data is all around us (no, we are not talking about big data – only online visitor / visit related data) and if we adopt a boiler plate approach to analysis and interpretation for all our projects then it’s high time we shift the gears – the results and success will evade us ultimately. Google Analytics custom reports should be an indispensable part of our thought process.