2013 is shaping up as a big year for Google Analytics.
The Google Analytics Annual Summit in October 2012 announced the launch of Universal Analytics, attribution modeling, cost data import, and the expansion of Google Analytics Premium into another eight countries. Surely Australia can’t be too far behind.
The two tools we’ve been enjoying recently at webqem are Dashboards and Shortcuts.
Dashboards have been around for a while, allowing you to create personalised dashboards to summarise the information that matters to you the most. Each Analytics profile comes with a default dashboard that can be easily modified, or you can create up to 20 additional dashboards, each with up to 12 widgets.
The default dashboard includes widgets for new visits, unique visitors, browsers, geography, duration, bounce rate, goal completions and revenue. However once you’ve defined your site objectives and analytics goals, you’re likely to add widgets that summarise your goals, conversion rate and best performing traffic sources. There are instructions at http://support.google.com/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1068218&topic=1068215&ctx=topic
Google has an excellent gallery of pre-designed dashboards at http://www.google.com/analytics/learn/solutions-gallery.html. As dashboards are tied to your user account, you’ll need to save the dashboard to your chosen profile. Our favourites are the Social Media Dashboard, Mobile eCommerce Dashboard and the Site Performance Dashboard.
However there are limitations to the widgets you can add to your dashboard. Although you can create a widget that shows the top ten results for your metric, and filter the content, you can’t sort the results. And you may want the widget to click through to an existing Google Analytics report, again sorted by a particular column, filtered by particular content and with a particular secondary dimension.
That leads us into Google Analytics shortcuts.
Shortcuts were a long overdue feature for Google Analytics.
Previously everytime you wanted to customise your report with segments, secondary dimensions, sort order, date range, date granularity, active tab and number of results, you had to manually apply them each time you logged in. Now you can customise your report – including custom reports – with the settings you prefer, and create a shortcut you can access with one click from the side menu.
They’re easy to create. Simply customise almost any report (excluding funnel visualisations) with your favourite settings, and click Shortcut. A popup will let you name the shortcut.
A hint – once you start creating shortcuts, it’s hard to stop. So choose a consistent naming standard and stick to it. That way when you’re creating widgets on your dashboard and you want the widget to link to a custom shortcut, you’ll be able to easily find it.