Do you have common metrics that you need to report to higher ups or other departments in your company? ‘Dashboards’ in Google Analytics offers a way to filter for commonly retrieved information, and I use it to quickly provide insights that need a lot of filtering or refinement. There is information that you can easily pull out of a dashboard widget that would be difficult to get from the regular GA reports. Instead of describing how to create widgets in a dashboard, I’d encourage you to just try it out. It’s pretty straight forward, and I’d rather describe some common widget setups that can get you started on creating some useful dashboards.
Basic, Goal Oriented Dashboard
In my opinion, the most insightful thing you can get out of Analytics is where your best traffic comes from. It arms you with the knowledge you need to optimize where you spend your marketing time and money. A basic goal oriented dashboard can help show where you’re making headroads and ground heady campaigns that aren’t getting any real traction. They can also be used to stave off the head honchos who want to pour more money into a losing strategy. Nothing cuts through BS like a pie chart. If you have active banner or other advertising campaigns on 3rd party websites, the “referring website performance” widget will be very interesting to you, because it compares apples to apples goal performance as well as visitors.
Topics/Themes of Interest
Once the organic traffic going to your website becomes varied enough, it can be difficult to understand which themes or topics are attracting the most visitors and completing the most goals. This dashboard is useful if you’re interested in results from SEO or content marketing, because you can slice segments of population according to what they searched to arrive at your site. Keep in mind that it’s easy to switch this from organic search keywords to sections of your website if you’re more interested in that. Also keep in mind that because Google Analytics is continuing to show fewer keywords and more traffic coming in as (not provided) or direct, everyone is losing insight into this area. It’s also why the first two widgets in this dashboard pull out the total number of visits and goal completions that we can attribute to tracked keyword visitors. This is so that we can at least make a relative comparison.
Do you have a business blog? Then you need to treat that traffic differently from the rest of your website traffic. Blog visitors are often earlier in the sales process (or not in it at all), and act very different compared with regular website visitors. You can either track visits that started on the blog, or visitors who viewed a page on the blog. Personally, I like tracking effects from visitors who started on the blog because I’m more often interested in the capacity of blogs to attract.