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How to Create a Custom Report in Google Analytics in Just 4 Steps

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Would you like to know how to make a custom report in Google Analytics? Custom reports of the data collected in Google Analytics for your website can help your business grow by providing  insights that generate business leads, convert more potential customers, and improve your website business.  

I’ll show you in four  steps below how to create a custom report in Google Analytics so that only  the information you want is at your fingertips. 

The steps below assume that you have Google Analytics installed on your website and that you can log in to the appropriate Google Analytics view. If you don’t have Google Analytics tags installed on your site yet, you’ll have to do that first.

Step 1: Create a New Google Analytics Custom Report

Log in to your Google Analytics account and choose the appropriate view.

In the navigation on the left side of the screen choose Customization -> Custom Reports. Here is where to find that in the Google Analytics navigation:

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This is the best time to give your new custom report a great title. Whether you use this report once, or repeatedly, giving it a title will help you remember why you initially created this custom report. This also lets others know what the custom report is about in case you share it because this title always appears at the top of the report when it runs.

A good naming convention might be to use the question that you’re trying to answer as the name. Let’s say for example that we're trying to figure out which state or region spends the most time on our site in which case we might name our custom report “Which state spends most time?"

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Next, I’ll show you how to decide which type of report is most appropriate. 

Step 2: Select the Custom Report Type

Although the Custom Report interface allows you to look at the same data from different angles with Tabs, for now, let’s just start with one tab and keep the name to the default for simplicity.

There are three different types of reports. In most cases the default of Explorer works fine but here are what the other custom report Types are good for:

  1. Explorer. This is the default for any new Google Analytics custom report. It has a graph of the data over time and secondary dimensions. This is great for drilling down into data. 
  2. Flat Table. This custom report is most like a spreadsheet with data in rows and columns. You can sort it, but you can’t click on a dimension to drill down into it. 
  3. Map Overlay: This report type is appropriate when looking at dimensions of the country, region/state, Metro/DMA or City. 

In our example, let’s use the default report type of Explorer.


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Step 3: Define the Metrics for the Custom Report. 

Regardless of the report type you picked in step 2, the metrics you choose now will be included in your custom report.

In our example, we’re trying to find out which state spends the most time on our site. Appropriate metrics in Google Analytics might be average time on page, total time on page, and average session duration. 

Metrics are the numbers on the report or the data that can be multiplied and divided. To add metrics, just click the blue “+ add metric” button, and scroll through the metrics dropdown to find the one you need. You can type a part of any metric name to speed this up. 

 

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Dimensions are the words in the report or the data that you can’t multiply and divide . 

Since we can drill down into data using the Explore type, we might want to choose Country as our first dimension, Region (state) for the second dimension, and then Metro (DMA) as the third dimension. To do this, click the “+ add dimension” button and select Country, Region, and Metro.

 

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Step 4: Create a Filter:

Sometimes looking at everything at once is overwhelming. Filters let you select just certain aspects of the data to pay attention to. 

Filters are applied to the entire custom report, no matter what dimensions and metrics are used in the Tabs. Although we could have multiple “tabs” each with a different type and metric , the filter applies to all of them. 

In our example where we’re trying to understand what State spends time on our site, so let’s say we want to just look at mobile traffic. 

We add a filter by clicking the “+ add filter” button, then choose  “Include” and a dimension of “Device Category” and then typing “mobile” in the Exact match field.

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You’re done once you click the “Save” button to save this report and see the results for the first time. If you want to tweak it, just click the Edit button in the upper right and you can revise it.

To find this report again in the future, just go under Customization -> Custom Reports and click the name of the report you want to view.

 

Here are some examples of questions you can answer with your own Custom Report:

 

  • What website has a bad URL that is sending new visitors to a “404 Page not Found” error page? ( Metric:Entrances Dimension: Referrer, Filter: Include “Page Title” Contains “Page not found”)
  • What Hour of the day do most mobile users visit? (Metric:Pageviews, Dimension: Hour, Filter: Include Device Category: Mobile)
  • How many users did I get from the email newsletter campaign? (Metric: Sessions, Dimension: Campaign, Filter: Include: Medium “email”)

Google Analytics was created to help website owners understand if the money they spend on advertising is providing value.  Swift Local Solutions which can help connect more of the right people to your site with local and targeted advertising. Click the link to find out more information about connecting to our audience.

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