You set goals for yourself and your business. Maybe you hit them. And maybe you don’t.
But the only way to know for sure whether or not you’re on the right track is to consistent about how you’re tracking those goals.

The best way? By using Google Analytics Dashboards. I’ll not only show you how this handy resource works, but I’ll make it mad-easy to swipe for your own use and reference as well.

WHAT ARE GOOGLE ANALYTICS DASHBOARDS

Google Analytics Dashboards make it easy for you to see the information, reports and metrics you care most about. They allow you to simplify how you monitor people’s behavior on your website and they put your finger on the pulse of how your content is performing and converting over time. Each dashboard will allow you to have 12 widgets, each of which is designed to comment on specific habits and activities. You may save up to 20 dashboards per account.

The 4 dashboards I am sharing with you today provide insight into your ::

–        Website Content Value

–        Social Media Value

–        Subscriber and Revenue Conversion

–        Site Optimization and Visitor Experience

Let’s look at what each of these dashboards communicates. To do so, we will be using the Google Merchandise Store demo account to compile our data sets.

Before we get started, though, a word of caution :: at the top of each dashboard will be its title to the left and the timeline which this data represents to the right. Click on the dropdown menu to change this timeline to reflect whatever you want to see.
#PROTIP :: The default is set to show the last week.

WEBSITE CONTENT VALUE DASHBOARD

Answers questions like :: How are people finding you? Who is linking to you? What are people reading? What topics should you be creating more content around? What is my content worth in subscribers and dollars? …and more.

  • How many people are reading your posts? This is self-explanatory.
  • What search terms did visitors use to find you?  Helps you hone in on keywords people are using and make better decisions about the content you’re publishing, your search engine optimization decisions and your meta tags.
    → Obviously, youtube is a big one for the Google Merchandise Store and it would be a good idea to investigate how and why that pattern is happening.
  • Which pages/posts were most popular? To know where people are hanging out can and should impact your content creation strategy
  • Which pages/posts attracted new visitors? Hone in on any differences between how first-time visitors interact versus return visitors
    → Halfway through this report, we can see a glaring problem with the fact that there is a whole lot of traffic is being sent to “page unavailable”. If this were your account, you would want to investigate what page this is and where the traffic is coming from in order to redirect these visitors to a more helpful resource.

  • Whose links are attracting visitors? To keep your finger on the pulse of your top referrals.
    → The interest in golang gophers is something you would want to capitalize on here, especially since the bounce rate is very low/people are staying on the website when they get there
  • Where did your visitors come from? Because your traffic patterns/sources matter.
    → Not surprising that these referrals are incredibly Google-centric but the fact that youtube is the second largest source of traffic is something you’d want to gain a clearer understanding about
  • Where did most visitors leave (and was it the only page)? It is important to know what is turning people off or away is important, and it can be especially important to know whether they visit other pages/stuck around before they left
    → The bounce rate is higher on the home page as well as the “shop by brand: youtube” page so I would see what I could do about changing the layout of those pages to keep that audience on my site
  • How did new visitors come to your site? Again, there may be difference between the content that first-time visitors want to consume versus returning visitors
  • Where did most new visitors land (and did they stay)? To understand what your Plymouth Rock is for new visitors and explore if they stay on your website after they see what they came for

SOCIAL MEDIA VALUE DASHBOARD

Tells you valuable information about :: Which network brings you the most traffic? Which one attracts the most paying clients? Or the most subscribers? How does each social network impact your online engagement? …and more.

  • How many overall site visits? Because this is your baseline.
  • How many new visitors acquired from social media? When you’re trying to grow your online presence, this new traffic is important to understand
  • How does social media relate to revenue? This comments on the monetary value of your traffic
    → While we saw that almost 90% of our new traffic is coming from social media, you can also see that those aren’t the people spending money ($0.06) compared to those who were not referred by social media ($4.61). That is valuable information if you’re concerned about the return-on-investment to the time and energy you dedicate to social media.
  • What is your social media-sourced website traffic? The percentage of your traffic that comes from social media and how high your bounce rate is
    → While half of the traffic is coming from social media, the quality of this traffic doesn’t look great since the bounce rate is so high/they’re leaving our website right away
  • What is your social traffic, based on device category? And then by device and tablet? This information may be important to the way you are promoting your social media content
  • What the revenue per visitor is by social network? This will provide insight as to whether one platform is worth more to you than another, and by how much
    → Unfortunately, this “(not set)” data isn’t especially useful but personally, I’d be interested in diving into what this Google Groups traffic is and how those work, if that wasn’t already part of my marketing strategy
  • What networks convert into reader and goals? Note that you may have to change your goal set here but the purpose is to know and understand how your social media relates to conversions.
    → While a ton of traffic is coming from YouTube, Google Groups is the only social media traffic that appears to be converting – it appears to be the only return-on-investment this account is getting from social media
  • What social network is your traffic coming from? This breaks down which platforms are attracting the most visitors
    → Helloooooo YouTube!… and although it would seem like that’s what we want to get excited about, it is worth also noting how low the bounce rate is from reddit and LinkedIn traffic because these visitors are obviously motivated to stick around
  • How is your content shared on social media? To view which platforms are redirecting traffic to your site via shared content
    → This lack of social media sharing may encourage me to create a sharing campaign to track whether or not this could be a valuable source of traffic

SUBSCRIBER and REVENUE CONVERSION DASHBOARD

Shows you the need-to-know data around :: How is your online presence converting? What keywords are making you money? What pages are most impacting the growth of your email list? …and more.

  • How many overall site visits?
  • How many unique site visits? The difference between overall and unique is that overall includes all visits while unique visits are those made by returning visitors.
  • How many conversions? Again, you’ll likely want to clone this widget for the number of goals you set/conversions you’re tracking.
  • How does traffic relate to conversions?
    → In this case, we see there is a direct correlation between sessions and purchases. If there were any unusual spikes or dips, you would want to investigate what was happening; I would likely want to look into why sales dipped to 0% for that 2-day period, even though traffic also dipped.
  • What is the source of your conversions? While you may be getting traffic from one source, it is good to make the distinction between “regular” visitors and those who are buying your stuff/signing up for your list to help make better decisions about the content you’re putting out there.
  • Which keywords are converting? Once again, there are “regular” keywords and then there are keywords that make you money/grow your list
  • How many conversions come from social media?
    → As you can see, YouTube may be driving the most social media traffic but the only network that is converting are Google Groups. You would want to make sure your social media strategy is aligned with this data.
  • How many new subscribers? You’ll have to change this goal to reflect the one you’ve set for your new email sign-ups
  • What posts are most popular?
  • Which pages are converting?

SITE OPTIMIZATION and VISITOR EXPERIENCE DASHBOARD

Indicates the red flags you should be paying attention to about :: What devices have the highest bounce rates that your website may not be compatible with? Which browsers or screen resolutions your website may not be responsive with and may potentially be causing you valuable conversions? Whether location factors into why people leave or stay on your site? …and more.

  • How many unique visitors?
  • Which countries/territories are your visitors from? This information can be valuable in instances such as when you are planning a targeted ad campaign.
    → Technically, this site is getting more traffic from India but we can clearly see that the traffic from Canada is potentially equal in value (even it has half the visitors) because it also has half the bounce rate.
  • Which cities are your visitors from? Again, depending on the nature of your business, this location-based information may impact your decision-making.
  • What language settings do your visitors prefer? This will help inform you whether you need to create a multilingual version of your site. For instance, if you see an unusually high bounce rate for one specific location, you may want to consider adjusting your website language setting.
  • What devices are visitors using to view your site? What mobile models are your visitors using? What browsers are your visitors using? What screen resolutions do your visitors use? The reason it would be important to see these numbers isn’t so much about knowing what tech your audience chooses (although that could be relevant, too, depending on your field), but to assess whether your website is performing well on those platforms. Your bounce rates will be the most telling metric here :: let’s say one browser had a bounce rate of 75%, I would look into whether my website was compatible with that browser and make the necessary changes to retain that traffic.


Wanna put your reporting for these dashboards on auto-pilot? Of course you do! You have enough shit to remember, amirite?

Fortunately, it’s easy-breezy to streamline your metrics and reports to be sent straight to your inbox. To do this, click on the EMAIL tab under your dashboard title and a pop-up window will appear. It looks like an email – which is exactly what it is – and you can set the frequency at which you will receive these reports. Click down on ADVANCED OPTIONS to set how long you want these reports to be sent for.

Hopefully this takes the “anal” out of analytics for you. 😉