Justin Cutroni wrote a great column on what custom reports are and how you can construct your own to suit your needs. To illustrate how useful this (these) dimensions are, I will walk you through an example here.
Let's pretend you are an SEO today and you've been tasked by your manager to give a report and presentation on how the company's been doing in search. So you log into Google Analytics and head over to the Organic Search reports, stretch your
timeline back one year, take a screenshot and show your boss in a PowerPoint deck. Let's also say that in the past year, there were 20K+ keywords that brought new and existing readers to your site. So you export that as a CSV, so a bit of Excel magic and present that too.
What do you think your boss will say? He will probably say 'thanks' and wack you across the head and tell you to come back with something better!
So why might this not work?
- It takes too much time; everytime you need a report like this you need to navigate to the organic search report, configure your dates and take screenshots that are deemed useless when it comes to reporting
- Can't scale it; continuing down this path will not only be time consuming, but the process doesn't make sense if you know exactly what you want and there are other solutions to get it done quicker
- Be a creative thinker ('like a boss'); your boss probably hired you to do this because he say something in you. Maybe he knew you can do something but also wanted you to go beyond a simple screenshot of a trendline
So how might you approach this differently?
Let's use Custom Reports
First, you will want to navigate to the Custom Reporting section of Google Analytics. You can find along the top orange navigation bar. Then, you will wanted click Create Custom Report. Here, you will need to give your report and the report content sections names. Here is what I have:
After you've done that, you'll need to select your Metrics and Dimensions.
The metrics we will choose here will be Visits, Revenue and Transactions because I'm interested in understanding how the volumes of visits from organic search correlate with sales.
For dimensions, we will select Month of Year.
As you can see, Google Analytics allows you to assign specific time dimensions to your custom reports. I believe this is a new feature (correct me if I'm wrong) in Google Analytics and haven't heard it being up at all in the Analytics community. This dimension is extremely powerful because it allows you to aggregate all your visits into buckets (months) and get a nice table showing you how many visits came in each month, how much money was made and how many transactions were processed.
In the past, I've had to use NextAnalytics to generate a report like this. But not anymore!
Finally, the last step is to apply a filter to your report. Because we're interested in visitors who performed a search to come our website, we will include visits where medium is organic, as shown below:
Now you're done! If this was your first custom report ever created, give yourself a pat on the back!
Here is what my report looks like in the end:
Remember, if you are exporting this data, remember to increase your row count because on default it will only export 10 rows (10 months).
I don't think custom reporting is all that difficult. Do you? If you have any thoughts or ideas about my approach above, please share your comments below, would be happy to hear from ya!
Now, get out and have fun with custom reports!