3 Ways to Customize Your Google Analytics Experience

Google Analytics Customizations

Google Analytics got a facelift early this year. After previously allowing users to work in the old version for a few months, Google has now made the new layout mandatory for all analytics accounts. Personally, I like the latest iteration, but some users have had trouble navigating the new interface.

If you are one of the many users who still doesn't feel 100% at home in the new interface, these tips should help you find several important features and options.

1. Customized Dashboard

Google has created a default dashboard for each segmented profile under each Google Analytics account. Click on the website profile that needs to be customized, and then click on the 'Home' tab. Here, you can edit the existing widgets, which include Visits, Average Visit Duration, and Goal Conversion Rate, by clicking on the cog symbol next to the title of each box. In the pop-up, you can delete the widget or edit it to display a new metric:

Google Analytics customized dashboards

When you click to edit an existing widget, the current settings will be displayed. The 4 types of data displays offered are:

  • Metrics: statistics or data, such as Exit % or Unique Visitors.
  • Pie: metrics grouped by a dimension, which is a unit of measurement, such as Hour, Keyword, or Landing Page (e.g. a pie chart could show the percentage of new visits, grouped by keyword). 6 slices is the maximum.
  • Timeline: comparing 2 metrics against one another, which can then be filtered by dimension that can contain certain search variables, such as an exact match or containing.
  • Table: organize 2 metrics by dimension, up to 10 rows. Data can also be filtered as mentioned in the timeline widget type.
  • These widgets can also be linked to a certain report or URL, which can be selected by searching for the URL or report name in the Widget Settings box. Once this is set, if you click on the Widget title bar, it will take you to this URL inside Google Analytics or the report selected.

    Once the custom dashboard has been set up properly, it can be exported as a PDF and scheduled to be emailed once, daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly to any email address specified.

    Note: You can also create new dashboards if needed.

    2. Creating Custom Reports

    Compared to navigating the dashboard widgets, creating custom reports is much easier. In a profile, click on 'Custom Reporting', then 'New Custom Report'. You can then add separate tabs with metrics, dimensions, and filters. You can also add additional profiles that are within that account.

    Note: You can also customize existing standard reports.

    Google Analytics custom reports

    Once the report is saved, it will display the new custom report. You can then email it in a variety of formats and schedule it in the same intervals as the dashboard report. For a thorough explanation on Custom Reports, check this article.

    Note: To go back to the main Custom Reporting screen, you cannot click on 'Custom Reporting' in the orange header. You have to click on Overview under Custom Reports in the left hand sidebar.

    3. Creating Combined Scheduled Reports

    This may be the most confusing feature to regular Google Analytics users. The old interface made it easy to run several default reports at the same time and have them appear in one PDF in an email. The new interface can still send multiple reports in one email, but it takes some ingenuity and attention to detail.

    First, if you don't have any emails scheduled, go to your first report that you want to be sent. Click on 'Email' in the main screen of the report under the title. The pop-up will allow you to choose your recipients and schedule, just as mentioned previously.

    Next, go to the next report you want to add to your scheduled email. Click on the Email link, and then in the pop-up, look for 'Add to an existing email' in the bottom right hand corner:

    Google Analytics email scheduling

    After clicking on that link, it will take you to a drop-down menu full of already scheduled reports, organized by intervals. Select your chosen interval from when you scheduled your first report, and click the check box.

    Note: To delete a scheduled email, go to the profile, click 'Admin' in the orange navigation bar, then click 'Scheduled Emails' under 'Assets'. There, you can Extend or Delete any scheduled emails.

    Closing Thoughts

    To get more familiar with the parameters that Google Analytics offers in its reporting, go through all the metrics, dimensions, and filters to see what types of options are available. If these parameters aren't what you are looking for, try to create a new advanced segments under Admin > Assets > Advanced Segment. You can also add customized goals and conversions to reports as well, once they are created.

    Google's standard reporting covers the main points of interest that most basic-level analytics users are interested in, but advanced users, including those using conversions, funnels, goals, and actions, will be much more interested in all of the levels of customization that the new Analytics platform has to offer.

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