Building a custom Google Analytics report can allow you to learn more about your customers, your marketing habits and your business's relevance online. The goal of using Google Analytics is to learn more about the people visiting your website. Things like viewer behavior and demographic are important factors for determining how to better establish and reach a target audience. Analytics provides a lot of reports and attribution models for you to do this. But if you're looking to get more out of Analytics and design your own reports with your own attributes and dimensions, creating a custom report is an ideal way to start that process.
First, make sure you've explored all the reports Google already provides. Also, establish a clear-cut plan for what kind of data you want to collect and analyze. A good way to start is to iron out important questions you and your colleagues have about your website and its viewers. At its base, Analytics is a tool for answering questions about your business's online presence.
[Related: How to Use Google Analytics]
Types of custom reports
Creating a custom report isn't difficult. Once you've created the report, you can access it at any time in the Custom Reports tab on your Analytics Dashboard. There are four types of reports: explorer, flat table, map overlay and funnel reports.
- Explorer – The explorer report takes the same format as a standard analytics report: A line graph and data table detail different elements about your audience and your website's relevance. The explorer format allows business owners to use the same Analytics format while exploring different metrics, elements and dimensions specific to their business.
- Flat table – The flat table is a basic data table. There are no accompanying graphs, but these tables can be useful in representing certain types of information.
- Map overlay – This format is great for businesses looking to represent customer location or demographic in a quick, easily digestible way. Business owners can lay data over a map of the world or country and see where traffic and engagement is the highest. Darker regions indicate increased traffic or engagement.
- Funnel – The funnel format is set according to your own company's conversion funnel. Funnels allow you to track and analyze data on customers as they travel through your conversion funnel.
Creating a custom report
Start by clicking Customization on the left side of your Analytics dashboard. This will open a dropdown menu where you will find Dashboards, Custom Reports, Saved Reports and Custom Alerts. Click Custom Reports to start building your own analytics report.
This will open the custom reports dashboard, where you can create a custom report, build a new category or browse analytics from a gallery run by Google. This gallery is a good place to find Analytics packages tailored toward specific types of business.
To create a custom report, click New Custom Report.
From here, you'll want to fill out the form with your business's information. You can select the report type, add metric groups or enter dimensions. You can also build in filters. Filters help to sift through data and deliver the exact metrics you're looking for. Filters are ranked in categories like Behavior, Advertising and Ecommerce. Filters can add value to your custom report by making it easily readable.
The final screen will be your actual custom dashboard. This can be accessed at any time in the Custom Reports tab. You can also save specific time periods to the Saved Reports tab; export the file as a PDF, CSV or Google Sheets file; or share it. The share option also allows you to set a recurrence so people in your company receive this report daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly.
Knowing a few terms will make using Google Analytics – and creating custom reports – easier. Dimensions are the attributes of your data. Google provides the example of dimension cities. This dimension denotes where traffic is coming from – New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.
Once the dimensions are set, the actual value rendered is known as a metric. So, if you're trying to find out how many people are viewing your website from New York City, the dimension would be New York City. The metric would be the final number of page views from the city – say, 1,000 page views.
Google provides users with the ability to create custom metrics and dimensions so business owners can hone in on the exact type of data they need.
Creating a custom analytics report is the best way to figure out how to improve your business's online engagement. By researching and understanding which metrics and dimensions are most vital to your company, you can take important steps to better the business. Custom reports are an effective way to collect and analyze data beyond normal analytics reports.