Using Google Analytics Dashboards to Drive Business

Using the custom reports feature in Google Analytics is a great way to examine data specific to your site and business. However, an in depth analysis is not always necessary or time-effective. This is where dashboards are incredibly useful.

Dashboards play a very important role in informing actions based on real time site data. They allow you to view key metrics at a glance and tailor the reporting to your needs. As a result, decisions can be made quicker, which may mean the difference in capitalizing on a trend or missing it completely.

The key to creating a great dashboard is to include only the information you need for its purpose. Clients will almost always ask for as much data as we can provide. The problem with that approach is that when you have too much data, analysis gets exponentially more difficult and the data becomes less actionable. A perfectly constructed dashboard is more meaningful in its simplest form.

To construct a simple, yet informative dashboard, follow the steps below.

1. Determine the purpose of the dashboard. Remember, dashboards are best used to report on a specific aspect of site performance. Possible focal points include mobile traffic, SEO, email marketing, blog performance, etc. Keeping the focus narrow will help you set filters for each widget on your dashboard. For example, if you’re making a blog performance dashboard, all widgets should have filters only showing visits to blog pages.

2. Establish your macro goal. If you have an ecommerce website, this will likely be revenue. If you are B2B, it may be filling out a contact form. No matter your site’s purpose, this is ultimately how effectiveness will be measured. One widget on the dashboard should be dedicated to measuring goal completions.

3. Consider the three parts of a user journey: attract, engage, and convert. In other words, how are users arriving to your site? Is the content incentivizing them to stay? Are they ultimately turning into customers or leads? There should be one or two widgets dedicated to each part of the user journey.

4. Automate. Once your dashboard is finished, set recurring emails so the data can be sent to you on a regular basis.

If you’ve closely followed the steps above, you will have a simple dashboard that focuses on only the most important data and allows you to quickly derive insights that move your business forward.

To see how these concepts were applied to measure the effectiveness of blogs, check out the blog post on using Google Analytics dashboards to measure blog performance

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