How to create custom reports in Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the most usable tools to track and analyze site visitors’ statistics. It has many inbuilt reports categorized by Audience, Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions (goals reached). Fortunately Google Analytics allows you to build your own reports using your desired metrics dimensions with custom data breakdown. And that’s what I would like to share with you.
First of all navigate to Customization tab in Google Analytics. You can find it on the very top of the page. Next thing you need to do to start creating new report is to click on button “+ New Custom Report”.
Now we can specify what the report should look like and in what format it will be showing data. This is the point where you should already have an idea what is important for you to see in the report.
General Information section has only one field – title. This is the name of the report that will appear in Google Analytics in the left part of the screen.
Report Content section is the main part of the report.
First we decide how many tabs our report should have. Every tab is actually a separate report and it is useful to have several tabs if you want to view your data through different dimensions.
Name field stands here for the tab name, it would be a good idea to name each tab with the primary dimension that corresponds to it. It would be more convenient later to understand what data is represented in each tab.
Next setting we should pay attention to in this section is Type. Here we can select from three options – Explorer, Flat Table and Map Overlay.
If you select Explorer type of layout, all selected Dimensions of the report will be represented as a drilldown. For instance, if you have two Dimensions set for this report tab - User Type and Landing Page, report will first show the number of New Visitors vs Returning Visitors, and if you click on either of the user types, the report will show you only landing pages that belong to the selected option, not the whole set of data.
Flat Table type actually speaks for itself. The report just puts all metrics and dimensions in one table and shows them as columns. It’s is useful for exporting data and post filtering, but not very convenient for analyzing data from browser view, in case you have multiple columns.
The last here is Map Overlay. It shows you selected dimension on world map, highlighting countries depending on the selected metric. It is a good visualization but not very informative.
Next goes the section with Metric Groups. Metric in Google Analytics is everything that shows you numbers – quantity of visitors/sessions, percentage of returns/bounces etc., everything that answers to the question “how many?”. Here you decide what metrics will be shown in report columns. Most common metrics that we use are Sessions, Time on Page, Bounces. You can add multiple dimensions here, but think carefully so that you are not overflowed with unnecessary data.
Dimensions are the next thing you should think of. These are all the things that you would like to measure in your report. We frequently use such dimensions as Country, Landing Page, User Type, Keyword etc. If you selected Explorer type of data representation, all the dimensions here will show data as a drilldown.
Another useful section here is Filters. It allows you to exclude selected dimension values to be accounted in the report. For instance you can easily exclude visitors from selected countries from the data shown in the report.
Last on this page is Views. This is just telling your report where to take data from in case you have multiple sites connected to your Google Analytics.
When you custom report is ready, you can easily edit, copy, share or delete it. Sharing allows you to share your report template with other Google Analytics users, not necessarily from your company. It just generates the link to the template and one can add it to own Google Analytics account with one click. No sensitive data is shared here, just a template. You can do that from Actions menu in Custom Reports tab of Google Analytics.
That’s all for basics. Enjoy!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am an expert in computer technology and software. Currently working for Hitech Service LLC, an international software development company.