Dependent on the goals of your website, the digital marketing services you employ, and how aggressive you are about monitoring and understanding your data, Google Analytics can serve a lot of purposes. Having around 30 digital marketing clients myself, I utilize it to many different ends. However, there are some aspects of Google Analytics—tools if you will—that offer delicious customization value across the board.
Today we are going to talk about one such tool—Custom Reports—which Google Analytics (GA) adventurers should be aware of. Note, much of the below info has been contributed by one of my digitally savvy colleagues who prefers to remain nameless. He is a strong pillar of Google Analytics know-how and I encourage you to dive into this Custom Reports GA lesson as he always encourages others to do.
Custom reports are especially useful if you’re trying to get really granular with data and the default reports aren’t providing you with what you need. The concept is the same as with Dashboards, but this will be in the form of a Report. Follow the below steps for quick and easy implementation.
- Under “Customization,” click “Custom Reports”
- Click “+ New Custom Report”
- Create a Title and Report Tab name!
Note: there are three report types you can choose from. Explorer is the standard format you see in most Analytics reports. You can click into the dimensions to break it down further. Flat Table is, well, a flat table. You can’t click into dimensions here. It’s just a table. Meanwhile, Map Overlay works like the Geographic reports.
- For the sake of this training example, let’s select “Explorer” because we think the website in question is really slow and we want to see what’s causing that.
- Metric Group will separate the metrics at the top tabs, but we don’t have to worry about that right now. For the meantime let’s select “+ add metric” and find “Avg. Page Load Time (sec)”.
- Note: there are many other metrics that can diagnose a slow site. You can hover over the “?” to learn what the metric is measuring.
- For the next metric select “Bounce Rate” and “Sessions”. Bounce rate is measured in percentage, so make sure you understand the statistical relevancy of your result.
- Next let’s add some dimensions. Two dimensions that can affect load times, thus impacting a slower site, are “Device Category” and “Browser”. Add a filter if you want, but no need to in this use case. Note*** the second dimension “Browser” will show up once you click into the first dimension in the report.
- Now we have a fancy report! From here you can start analyzing your results. Look at this example below. One takeaway that becomes apparent is that the higher the page load time the higher the bounce rate.
- From here we can click into the “mobile” section because that has a higher page load time so we can investigate further. Now we’ll be able to see if the slowness is a result of a problem with a browser. Browsers all interpret HTML differently.
- Well, nothing suspicious going on with the browsers in this case. But anyway, that’s how you’d find out if bounce rate affects page load times.
Customization Is Key
When it comes to getting the most value out of your data, customization is key because it tailors your results to give you the types of understandings you desire. Customization tools like Custom Reports allow your Google Analytics account to serve you to the best of its ability based on your specific needs. Come back to this blog soon to learn more about Google Analytics and expand your data managing knowledge.