How to Create a Google Analytics Report In Minutes
Google Analytics is one of the most useful tools in any marketer's arsenal. Unfortunately, it can be a bit confusing to use for complete beginners to the platform, and we're here to help today.
Table of Contents
Google Analytics is a completely free tool that provides insights into what’s going on on your website. This includes digital marketing metrics such as your traffic and engagement levels and your campaign performance. However, the data gathered by Google Analytics is immense. Sometimes, it can get overwhelming.
In today’s article, we’ll show you how to create your own custom reports in Google Analytics. Note that we're talking about Google Analytics 4. It's worth looking into Google's Universal Analytics, as it will soon be the standard format for this tool.
We’ll also cover data points to include and divert attention to. This will allow you, your clients, or executives to view up-to-date metrics on your marketing strategy. Once you create custom reports, following your progress and improving efficiency becomes even easier.
Top metrics to use in Google Analytics custom reports
One of the beauties of this tool is that you can track thousands of data points to see if your marketing efforts are paying off. However, that's also the scary part as there is so much choice when creating a new custom report. Here are the key metrics you want to keep in mind when creating marketing reports from your Google Analytics account.
- Sessions: is the total number of visits to your website;
- Session duration: how much time people spend on your website on average per page;
- Users: unique individuals that have made their way to your website;
- Pageviews: the number of pages viewed by a single user during a visit;
- Average page time: the amount of time a user spends on your website (on average);
- Bounce rate: percentage of sessions that result in a user leaving the website without any further interaction; I.e. these are the people that visit just one page and leave immediately without taking any other action.
- Entrances: points of entry (i.e., your homepage, price page, etc.) from which users access your website.
- Source: where the traffic originates from - organic traffic, referral traffic, PPC, social media and others.
- Exit rate: the rate at which visitors leave a specific page on your website.
To reveal more comprehensive insights into your website’s success, make sure to combine these metrics with dimensions. The type of report will ultimately depend on what you're trying to achieve.
Why would these insights matter?
Google Analytics metrics give insights across the funnel into visitor habits. However, our findings suggest that most Google Analytics users look at top-of-the-funnel metrics.
Typically, marketers choose other methods to make downstream metrics more apparent, such as goal conversions, transactions, income, etc. You may wish to create a cross-channel report and compare this data against other data sources, like CRM platforms.
Here are some questions that GA is great at answering. Your standard reports will be phenomenal at answering these questions to clients or executives.
- Is my traffic growing?
- Which source is driving the most traffic to my website?
- Of the people who visit my website, what proportion of them are new visitors?
- Is my website converting visitors?
- What is my typical conversion rate?
- What do individuals do on my website?
- How long do visitors linger on my website?
- How many pages are they viewing?
Of course, you can super granular insights, but these are some of the basics that should be included in every Google Analytics report, be it for an eCommerce store performance or for an SEO report update.
Sections of your report
Google Analytics report that you’re about to create needs to revolve around structure and storytelling. Each section of a report needs to work well with forthcoming sections - provide continuity and additional segments on the bigger portions of Google Analytics data.
Let’s begin with the report creation process. The report should begin with something called ‘Acquisition Overview.’ This section gives a great summary of your overall website health. Having this section at the very top of your Google Analytics report relays aggregated performance metrics at a quick glance.
Here’s an example of what the first portion of your report should look like. Now, it may look like a lot of data and metrics to conceptualize. If Google Analytics is proving hard to use and visualize data with, you can try using Whatagraph instead.
You have all of the essentials for gauging a website’s performance without overburdening anyone with vanity metrics.
When the time comes, anyone in possession of this report can view their own desired date ranges and compare the data to a period of their choice.
- You (or your client - or anyone else viewing the report) can select any date range you wish to view; the data will automatically be updated within seconds.
- You can compare the desired metrics to any previous date. These metrics are automatically updated, so you’ll see the percentage of changes in a specified time period, as well as the changes in graphs.
As you can see, the report changes once you enable the date comparison. You’ll see the comparison across the entire report, not just the General Acquisition Overview.
User behavior overview
The second portion of your report will cover the basic user behavior once they land on your site. It will contain the following metrics:
- Average time on a page
- Bounce rate
- Exit rate
- Pageviews per session
Assessing user behavior helps you understand the general consensus of how the audience perceives your content.
Again, this is all about disclosing the performance of your web content in aggregate. Audience behavior can answer the following questions:
- Is the content engaging enough?
- Are we meeting the expectations of our audience?
- Is browsing the website easy to do?
As you already know, all of this can also be compared to any previous time period. Any improvements – or website issues – and their impact on audience behavior will be shown here once you enable the date comparison.
Page bounce rates and conversions
As a marketer, you hope that visitors read an article or visit a landing page, browse through the website, and then convert. Sadly, that’s not always the case – many visitors check out one page, spend some time there and never click through further.
This can be really frustrating because the chances are, the first page they visit is likely not the one where they would convert. If not for conversion, you can at least expect other pages from the site to be viewed by users.
Fortunately for these pages, not everything is lost – you can still lower your bounce rate and increase your conversions.
But you need to find the pages causing issues first.
Knowing which traffic sources convert and generate revenue is vital. For example, you may have a feeling that some pages are driving results, while in reality, most of your conversions come from a single page.
Audience overview – who are they, where do they come from?
If you’re working for a specific company or with a client, chances are, they may have a demographic they’re looking to target. Well, anyone from anywhere in the world can access a website, so you better get familiar with who those people are
Including a comprehensive audience overview section within your web analytics report is essential. It allows you to see if the desired audience is showing interest in your website and engaging with it.
With this data, you can actually see if the desired audience is showing interest in your website and engaging with it.
Here you can see the countries where your audience is located. You can also see the traffic source that is leading them to your website, such as organic traffic or PPC.
Viewing traffic sources and showcasing this in the report is pertinent. This gives you a great overview of how the traffic from each of these sources affects your goals.
Goal completion is measured based on the goals you’ve set for yourself within your Google Analytics dashboard.
Quick reminder: goal tracking can be adjusted to the expectations you or a client might have. Anything can be a conversion, from signing up for a product demo to clicking on a button. It's up to you to decide what moves the needle in terms of revenue.
Finally - assessing particular pages and search queries
Google Analytics allows you to gauge the performance of particular web pages and even search queries. We're including this portion at the very end because it’s very granular data that is usually trumped by the big-picture metrics we went through earlier.
If you want to do some content marketing or search engine optimization work, this is a part of Google Analytics you're the most interested in. Combining this with data from Google Search Console or a tool like Ahrefs can give you an even better overview of what's driving traffic and how search engines are showing your website.
Looking for something even better than Google Analytics for your reports?
We’ve concluded the report creation walkthrough – your Google Analytics report is ready to be delivered! About that: feel free to use our pre-built Google Analytics template, which includes all the vital website KPIs. We’ll automatically pull the performance data and turn it into a visual representation.
And the best part of all – it’s free: so sign up for your trial today!
Published on Jan 18 2021
WRITTEN BYMindaugas Skurvydas
Mindaugas is the SEO specialist at Whatagraph with experience in driving organic traffic and improving SERP visibility for industries like B2B martech, B2B and B2C finance. He loves to be at the edge of new developments by maintaining numerous contacts with other publishers in the SaaS niche. When he’s not writing he’s pushing our technical SEO strategies into implementation.
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