4 ways to customize and optimize insights from Google Analytics

A photo by Dmitrii Vaccinium. unsplash.com/photos/Q47eNv_UvfMPeter Drucker famously once said, “What gets measured, gets managed” and in many ways, this is even truer in the internet era than in the industrial one.  And when it comes to measuring site performance, Google Analytics is the tool that people most often turn to. It is a tool that is not only easy to set up and use but also is customizable for many needs. Today we are going to look at four great ways you can do so, to spend less time fiddling around and more time acting on the insights you get.

Setting Goals


Whether your website is meant to drive sales, or generate leads, setting goals in Google Analytics critical . It enables you to see your conversion reports that include key numbers such as conversion rate, absolute conversions and goal value (if applied). In turn, these numbers can then inform where you focus your energies – are people coming from your social channels more engaged and likely to convert? Maybe you should look into a social media campaign. Is there a steep falloff from your mobile audience, it could be worth checking out if there’s anything UX related you should be fixing on your mobile site. You can even set secondary goals to gauge what types of actions are contributing to your key goal.

Here’s how you set goals in Google Analytics:

  1. Click Admin in the header
  2. Under the Views column, click on Goals
  3. Click on + New Goal
  4. Select from one of the many templates for goals Analytics has available
  5. Choose the success type, whether it’s reaching a certain page, or spending a certain amount of time on the page
  6. Select Value – On to define a value for the action
  7. Select Funnel – On if you have further steps ahead that lead to a conversion
  8. Click Create Goal

It’s that easy!

Annotating events

annotationsAnnotations in Analytics makes referencing a past event a lot easier. Maybe it was when your competitor lowered their prices or a new product was launched. Annotations let you mark the day which something potentially significant happens so that when you look back at the report, the variations in the data might make more sense. In order to create an annotation, click on the arrow just underneath the graph, and there would be an option to create a new annotation.

Automating reporting


When it comes to reporting, many people spend more time creating the reports instead of spending the time to properly analyze it to create course corrections. That can change with a cool Google Analytics Spreadsheets add-on.

With the add-on, you can easily generate a custom report with the things that matter to you just by inputting a bit of basic information. It then goes to your Analytics account to query and automatically populates your report – and even creates visualizations if you so chose!

Motion charts


You can also create a moving chart in order to see how certain metrics change vis-a-vis others over time. This is especially helpful to visualize things like rates of change (for example, Desktop users tend to be a lot more subject to change than tablet users). To try out this feature, just click the icon with the three balls on the top right of most graphs. You can also read more about them here.