The Importance of Creating a Google Analytics Dashboard

Robert Wheat

PPC Strategist

Digital marketers do more than come with up creative ideas. They also need to know how to measure their work.

Which types of channels are most effective? How many leads are being generated? How much revenue is being brought in? By knowing this information, we can make informed decisions that make better use of our resources.

Popular Metrics on Google Analytics

It would be amazing if there was one magic formula that delivered all the information needed, but there’s not. Rather, there are many metrics that digital marketers need to be experienced in. Google Analytics helps us out with this. The metrics we check most often are:

  • Traffic Sessions

  • Average time on site

  • Sessions based on location

  • New vs returning customers

  • Traffic sources

  • Bounce rate

  • Social referrals

  • Top performing content

  • Conversions

To track of all these metrics, a Dashboard comes in handy. With a Google Analytics Dashboard, you can take a series of reports and put them next to each other. This is easy to do, but there is work involved. Your Dashboard must be geared toward the appropriate audience and easy to expand upon.

Let’s start by going over the ways that a Google Analytics Dashboard can make your life easier and the questions to ask when creating a dynamic one of your own.

Making Life Simpler with a Dashboard

The purpose of a Google Analytics Dashboard is to quickly visualize your data. Dashboards are a collection of widgets, and you can have up to 20 Dashboards with 12 widgets each. Create your own or import those that have been made by others. This blog from Kissmetrics tells you how to do this.

Here are the ways that using Dashboards will make your life simpler.

  • Easy Setup. You don’t have to worry about wasting time trying to set up a Dashboard. With widgets, charts and layouts, there's plenty to get you started. If you don’t want to make a custom Dashboard, import one that has already been generated.

  • Save Time. Once your Dashboard is set up, all you need to do is log into Google Analytics and change the timeframe. Your report is ready!

  • Simple Sharing. Another perk to Dashboards is that you can share them with anyone. As long as the user has access to your Google Analytics account, they can view the reports and download them to PDFs.

  • Widget Links. You have the option to link within each widget. To get to the data, all you need to do is click the link.

A Google Analytics Dashboard lets you create visual shortcuts that lead you right back to your data. Dashboards are invaluable tools that you should be taking advantage of. If you’re ready to get started, read the tips below.

10 Questions to Ask When Creating a Dashboard

Google Analytics gives you a wide range of templates and tools to make setting up a Dashboard simple. But there are some things that Google can’t answer for you, so it’s important to ask yourself the right questions. Dashboards are great tools to have, but they aren’t necessary for everything.

Below are ten questions to ask before creating a new Dashboard. For more questions you might want to add to your list, read this HubSpot article.

1. Why is the Dashboard being created? Your Dashboard should have a clear purpose and should be created for the right reasons. If a single report will tell you the information you need, a Dashboard isn’t required.

2. Who is the Dashboard for? Keep your audience in mind when creating your Dashboard. The information presented will be unique depending on who you’re showing it to - the VP of Sales versus your social media team.

3. What questions need to be answered? As you consider your audience, think about the questions they are looking to have answered. The CEO of your company may care more about the big picture rather than the small details.

4. How much time will be spent reviewing the information? If your meeting is only 15 minutes, you don’t need to include that many reports. Focus on the most important metrics only. More in depth meetings will need more detailed reports.

5. How data savvy is your audience? The last thing you want to do is generate a Dashboard that makes no sense to your audience. Think about how fluent your audience is in technology, data and marketing. Do they know what organic search is? Are they familiar with referral traffic?

6. Which information is most important? Google Analytics Dashboards allow a certain number of widgets, so place your most important information at the top. If you can’t find a widget that meets your needs, create your own.

7. What time frame works best? Some numbers are best in real-time. Others are best on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Think about when your audience might ask for these numbers or how often you need to know metrics to run your campaigns.

8. Are there benchmarks to include? It’s not a bad idea to list the goals that you have in mind so that you can determine if your efforts are worthwhile. How close are you to your benchmark? If you’re not, what can you do differently to reach it?

9. Do you need more than one Dashboard? You can create several Dashboards on Google Analytics, which you will want to do if you have different audiences. Your content marketing team might care about one set of reports, while your CEO will care about another.

10. Who can access the Dashboard, and how will it be shared? With Google Analytics, you can easily share your Dashboard with anyone who has access to the account. The Dashboard can also be imported and downloaded to PDF.

Creating a Google Analytics Dashboard is not difficult to do, and it will help you visualize key data. With the templates and tools available, you can create any Dashboard imaginable, which is helpful if you share information with various audiences.

 

About the Author: Robert Wheat

Rob was born and raised in Freehold, NJ and is currently a PPC Strategist at SEMGeeks. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Ramapo College. Rob is experienced across all PPC platforms, including Adwords, Facebook, Amazon, and more. During his free time, Rob can be found on the golf course yelling at his golf ball to cooperate, but it never listens.

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