The C-Level Guide To Google Analytics Dashboards

Jun 23rd 2016

The C-Level Guide To Google Analytics Dashboards

 

Any smart business person knows that you can’t judge success without measuring performance. Nowhere is that more true than on your website – and the gold standard of online performance measurement is Google Analytics. Unfortunately, not everyone finds it easy to use.

 

While you may know what you’re looking for, you might not know where it is. Or if you do, you need to compare it to several other metrics that are in different locations.

 

That’s where dashboards come in: They are a simple, consolidated platform that allows a client or a superior to judge performance at a glance without having to open endless segments and dimensions.

 

A fully built dashboard won’t tell you everything that’s going on, but it should provide a good window into what’s happening.

 

How To Set Up A Custom Google Analytics Dashboard

 

The first thing that you need to do is go to dashboards and create a new one. You’ll be given the option to use a starter dashboard or a blank canvas. I would recommend using the blank canvas but if you want to use a starter dashboard, that will give you something built, just not tailored for you and your business. After opening the new dashboard you’ll need to add your widgets to it. Each widget will round out the picture you’re creating for your overview of the business.

 

When you add all of your widgets it will typically look something like this:

 

Google Analytics Dashboard

 

Of course, what your dashboard looks like is heavily reliant on your key performance indicators. Ecommerce businesses are interested in different results than a lead generation business, which is different than a branding website. It’s impossible to go over every metric your company could possibly need to look at, instead I’ll walk through the different options for your widgets and provide some general ideas of what might be helpful to have on your dashboard.

 

First, when you create a new dashboard it will ask you to create new widgets, so you’ll be looking at a menu like this:

 

Dashboard menu

 

The standard charts for the most part are far more valuable than real time because while it can be interesting to see how many users are currently on your site or where they are, historical data gives a much more balanced and averaged account of site behavior.

Under the standard charts you have six options:

 

Metric

 

Metric

 

Timeline

 

Timeline

 

Geomap

 

Geomap

 

Table

 

Table

 

Pie

 

Pie

Bar

 

Bar

 

 

Each of these are fairly self explanatory but it’s helpful to remember what you want to measure in order to choose the correct chart.

 

For example if you’re looking at ecommerce conversion rate vs date, timeline and bar graph both seem like reasonable methods to display that information, but you end up with something like this:
timeline and graph

 

The basic charts that should be an obvious choice would be timelines and geomaps, which will provide basic information of where and when your users are engaging with your site. On top of that it’s helpful to use different dimensions to see that while Texas might have the highest number of conversions generated, Alabama and Montana have the highest conversion rate.

 

Any sort of lead generation or ecommerce site will most likely use conversions as the bottom line KPI. Looking at conversion rates over time as well as source medium and comparing them to total conversions or revenue give a pretty good idea of what’s producing and where it’s coming from. Specifically, if you’re evaluating paid traffic, it’s helpful to add another segment and select paid traffic. Or if you’re looking for in depth performance on campaigns, you can set campaign as a dimension and filter for source mediums containing “cpc”.
Settings

 

setting graphs

 

 

There are, however, instances where a site may not have conversion tracking or the purpose of the site is solely branding. In these cases, the best way to measure performance would be to assess engagement on the site, your key metrics being bounce rate, pages per session and average session duration. These should be set up in a similar fashion to what was previously described for conversions, but it will most likely result in a larger dashboard overall because of the number of KPIs that need to be accounted for.

 

There are endless different combinations of widgets you can create in analytics, so it’s best not to go crazy on the number that you make. The whole point of the dashboard is to consolidate your information and distill it down for a glance. Remember that when you’re creating a dashboard for a non PPC or SEO professional, keep it simple.

 

Hopefully this guide will assist you in creating simple, easy dashboards to explain your website performance at a glance! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below, and feel free to contact us!

 

 

 

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What Our Clients Think

Quote image

The team at Iterate has helped us get off the ground during our first year in business. We went from 1 location and 5 employees to now 3 locations and a few dozen employees ( and counting! ). We were getting about 6 leads each week when we started and through the work Iterate has done, we are nearing 100 leads through our website each week.

Mike Horey

COO and Co-Founder of Active Recovery TMS

The new website is gorgeous! We love the design and Iterate turned it around quickly. We have appreciated working with Iterate over the years because they are accessible, data and results-oriented and overall just so easy to work with.

Kari McKinley

Business Manager - Blue Oak Dental Group

Iterate is a great company and we couldn't be happier to how professionally they manage our marketing and website. Thank you Iterate!

Jon Bonk

Marketing Manager - Centrifuge Chicago

Iterate Marketing has revolutionized our company. We have a modern, fresh look now that is far more optimized than ever before. We can’t thank the Iterate team enough for the work they’ve done for us so far and look forward to many more years in the future!

Laura Hall

CIO - Community Management Inc.

Iterate Marketing did a great job for us... we saw a conversion bump of 100%, and a traffic increase of 81%. Furthermore, our Cost Per Conversion dropped, saving us 17%. ..they delivered the increases we needed.

John Yoder

CEO - Funny Business

Great company to work with. Very flexible and attentive to our needs. Always trying to help us improve our business practices without being overly push or giving the typical "salesperson" impression.

Renee Kitchen

Marketing Manager - Hamilton Marine

Vibrant yet professional and great for my budget as the Marketing Campaign Manager of a medium-sized SaaS company. Experts in AdWords management and content promotion. Love their blog too!

Heather Blackwell

Marketing Campaign Manager

Super easy company to work with. Extremely knowledgeable. A great fit for my small but growing business. Highly recommend.

Dominick Farina

CEO - Trashcans Unlimited

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