Understanding Google Analytics: Build your own Custom Dashboard

21 September 2015

Create a Google Analytics Custom DashboardIn a previous post we shared some of the basics of using Google Analytics, and explored some of the key metrics. Even with the basics under your belt, it can be tricky at times to navigate your data, and obtain the information you’re really looking for.

Enter the Google Analytics custom dashboard. This is one of the tricks in the marketing trade.

A custom dashboard allows you to house a variety of useful widgets of information in the one place. Visit Analytics, and then go straight to your custom dash for the results that really matter to you like views per page, and keywords per page. It’s also handy to set up reporting, and get this emailed out to interested parties.

This post is a real treat and we share how to set it up to display 6 key pieces of data. It may take approximately 1 hour of your time, but the results are well worth it. Follow along and impress your team… impress your boss!

How to Build a Google Analytics Custom Dashboard

Note before: To begin with, you’ll need to have a Google Analytics login, and have Analytics connected to every page of your website (as your web developer if unsure).

1. To create your custom dashboard; look at the right hand side and click into ‘Dashboards’
2. Next select ‘+ New Dashboard’
3. We recommend that you then select ‘Blank Canvas’ in place of the ‘Starter Dashboard’
4. Next name your dashboard e.g. Make it Happen_Analytics Data
5. Next you need to select the layout for your data – this is up to you, you can revisit once you’ve selected all your widgets of information

Note after: You can also display the data any way you like by selecting pie, chart etc.

Top 6 Widgets We Recommend (and how to set them up)

Google Analytics Custom DashboardSite Visits

You’ll definitely want to include this! A key indicator to show how many users have visited your website across the prescribed time period.

1. Underneath your dashboard title you can now see +Widget – click on this
2. Give the widget a title ‘Site Visits’
3. Select ‘2.1 Metric’
4. In the ‘Show the following Metric’ dropdown select ‘Sessions’
5. Click ‘Save’ down the bottom left
6. The widget will now display

Visits Google Analytics Custom DashboardPage Views

Preparing this widget gives you the opportunity to break down which of your pages are receiving the most traffic. This is great for identifying what people are searching for, and how successful any campaigns might be.

1. Select +Widget
2. Give the widget a title ‘Page Views’
3. Select ‘Table’
4. In the ‘Add a dimension’ dropdown, select: ‘Page’
5. Then to the right of this select from the dropdown ’Page Views’
6. ‘Show a table with’ and select ’10 rows’
7. Click ‘Save’ down the bottom left
8. The widget will now display

Bounce Rate Google Analytics Custom DashboardBounce Rate

1. Select +Widget
2. Give the widget a title ‘Bounce Rate’
3. Select ‘2.1 Metric’
4. In the ‘Show the following Metric’ dropdown select ‘Bounce Rate’
5. Click ‘Save’ down the bottom left
6. The widget will now display

Google Analytics Custom DashboardDevices

This is valuable information, especially as the business case to go mobile strengthens. The data here indicates sessions x device type, as well as the average duration for each session.

1. Select +Widget
2. Give the widget a title ‘Devices’
3. Select ‘Table’
4. In the ‘Add a dimension’ dropdown, select: ‘Device Category’
5. Then to the right of this ’Add a metric’ and select from the dropdown ‘Sessions’
6. ‘Add a metric’ again, and select ‘Av. Session Duration’
7. Click ‘Save’ down the bottom left
8. The widget will now display

Search type Google Analytics Custom DashboardSearch Type

Equally as valuable, you will want to see how many people visit your site direct (as a result of typing your exact email address); by Google ‘organic search’ (i.e. using keywords to locate your site such as your company name) and finally by means of referral (i.e. directories, links from other websites, blogs and media).

1. Select +Widget
2. Give the widget a title ‘Search Type’
3. Select ‘Pie’
4. In the ‘Create a pie chart showing’ dropdown select: ‘Sessions’
5. Then underneath this ‘Grouped by’ and select from the dropdown ‘Traffic type’
6. ‘Show up to’ again, and select ‘5 sessions’ from the dropdown
7. Click ‘Save’ down the bottom left
8. The widget will now display

Active Google Analytics Custom DashboardBonus: Active Use

This widget is more fun than particularly useful. It looks pretty great though if you mind yourself giving a presentation. It lets you see in real time how many using are on your site.

1. Select +Widget
2. Give the widget a title ‘Active Use’
3. Select from ‘Real time’, ’2.1 Counter’
4. Select from ‘Show the following metric:’ dropdown ‘Active Users’
5. Click ‘Save’ down the bottom left
6. The widget will now display

Set up Weekly Reporting

Once you have created your Custom Dashboard, you can now configure settings to allow this to be sent to yourself and other interested parties, once a week, once a month.. as you like!

1. Underneath your Custom Dashboard title you can select ‘Email’
2. Then all you need to do is schedule the details for the Custom Dashboard to be sent to you as a PDF, and select the frequency of reporting.
3. You can add in a note if you are sending this to management, clients or business owners.

Voila! This is well worth taking the time to setup, and we do hope you’ve found this useful. Make the most of your data and use these insights for the best results!





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