Why Use Google Analytics
Google Analytics recently released an upgrade to their popular web analytics application. Google analytics competes with the likes of Omniture and Webtrends in the analytics space, but the one main advantage Google has is that their offering is free. With this new update to version 5, Google takes their analytics platform to new levels. While some would say that these competitors offer more features and higher level intelligence, Google has done a great job providing actionable insights to their customers far and wide. Quora tells us that nearly 50% of the top 100,000 websites in the world use Google Analytics, and that as of recently 12,376,541 websites in total are using this free platform.
Google Analytics Dashboard
One of the new features that came out with the new release is something called dashboards. You can have multiple dashboards in one analytics profile. These dashboards consist of user programed widgets that display bits of information in whatever format you want. The reason that these dashboards are so useful is that you may have many different users looking at a specific analytics profile, but they all want to quickly get different metrics. Your marketing and sales departments may want to quickly see how much revenue the company has made on a given marketing campaign. While your search marketing department wants to know how many long tail keywords generated traffic to the site compared to last month. Pre-configured dashboards make this easy and fast. In the example to the right we have setup four separate dashboards.
- Email Marketing
- Organic Search
- Paid Search
On the Ecommerce dashboard we have widgets that show “Product Revenue”, “Conversion Rate”, “Total Purchases”, and “Product Revenue by Traffic Source”. These metrics let your sales or marketing team quickly see that their sales efforts are failing or succeeding. If you select the date picker at the top right, you can even set the dashboard to “Compare to Past” to let you see how the site is doing compared to a previous date range. In the example above, you can see which products are really making the most money and that can help determine which product to offer a special on in the future. You can easily see what sources of traffic are bringing in the most revenue and try to increase that further.
The Email Marketing dashboard shows three widgets in this case that would allow whoever is managing the email campaigns to know exactly how much money has been brought in by their efforts. In this case, we have two recently sent out email campaigns that have resulted in 7 sales on the site for a total of $467.51. Some email marketing services like MailChimp provide Ecommerce tracking in their reporting portal, but if you don’t use such a robust provider, it is nice to have a quick glance tell you how you’re doing.
On the Organic Search dashboard, there are a number of widgets that show the value that free organic traffic, from any search engine, is bringing to the website. In the example shown, it is evident that the result of the organic search campaign is heavily adding to the revenue brought in by the site. The user is able to identify the keywords that have the most impact on the bottom line. This may help the SEO working on the site to write more content about the top performing keywords, or identify some long tail keywords that people are searching for that could be useful in deciding what new content to write. It may even help in the link building process, once it is clear which keywords have the most monetary value to the site or company.
The last dashboard we setup reflects the results of this company’s Pay Per Click campaign in Google Adwords. This is a useful dashboard because within seconds of looking at it, you can see that for whatever reason, it is costing them more for paid search than they are making. In this case they are spending $1,000 more a month than they are generating in revenue. I wonder how many companies are paying for Google Adwords and running into similar results each month. If they only had this simple dashboard setup for them, they would quickly be able to tell what was working and what wasn’t, before spending $12,000 dollars a year for nothing. It is quick, easy to understand metrics like this that shows the amazing power of the Google Analytics new dashboard features.
How to Setup your Google Analytics Dashboard
There are four types of widgets that you can choose from in creating your dashboard. They are:
- Metric – Shows a number and a sparkline for a single metric you choose.
- Pie Chart – Shows a pie chart with up to 6 slices of a metric grouped by dimension.
- Timeline – Displays a timeline of one metric, or one metric compared to another (optional).
- Table – Provides up to 3 column tabular data with up to 10 rows of a dimension and two metrics.
- For example, if you are creating a widget to show you only paid traffic from a Google Adwords campaign, you would want to only show anything that contains the Source/Medium of “google / cpc”.
- If you were looking to only show how well your email campaign is doing, you would use the filter on the widget to only show you results that contain the Source/Medium of “email”.
Use Google Analytics Dashboards to Impress Your Boss!
As you can tell this new feature has the power to make you look like an analysis guru if setup properly. Your boss will love you for giving them what they need without the boring techno babble, and if you are doing client work they too will value your expertise in giving them the ultimate snapshot of how their site is performing. At the moment, all the work you put forth in creating the dashboards can’t be easily transfered to another profile that you are an admin for. That feature we are promised will come in the future. Also, in case you are missing the old home page for GA that showed you all your clients in one nice table with their performance clearly indicated, we have a tip from Josh Knox at Google that this was a mistake when it was removed from the new version and it will be put back very soon. Lets keep hoping.