Ah, Google Analytics — a digital marketer’s best friend and worst enemy, depending on the day. While there’s no tips or tricks for improving the data you’ve been dealt, there are ways to make life easier when working across multiple Google Analytics accounts, playing with different time frames, or inspecting the metrics that matter most to you.
If that sounds right up your alley, then here’s three Google Analytics features you should be using:
The ability to create custom segments, channel groupings, goals, reports, and more within a specific Google Analytics account and view is obviously pretty awesome. What’s less awesome is when another user logs in to the account and doesn’t see the same thing as you because those assets only exist on a user / view level. Or better yet, you’re configuring several accounts and want to be consistent across the board, but the idea of manually creating all those assets repeatedly has you feeling less than jazzed about the task at hand. Well, thankfully there is a better way.
In the admin section of Google Analytics, at the bottom of the View column, under the Personal Tools & Assets section you’ll find “Share Assets.” With the simple click of a button you do just that. Check off the assets you want to share, click on the red “SHARE” button, and then select a method for sharing. It’s really that easy.
Ever change the date range for traffic to look back at the site’s past performance just to find yourself flummoxed by a wild fluctuation in traffic? Yeah, we’ve all been there. You know how to best avoid the headache of wondering what happened? Use annotations.
Rather than relying on memory or hoping someone else will recall information you cannot, click the “+Create new annotation” link available on the right-hand side of the dropdown on any screen with a line graph of traffic.
Add notes for any big changes to your website like when a redesign happens or if the server was down for any extended period of time. It also doesn’t hurt to notate major adjustments in marketing efforts like ramped up PPC or stopped sending out mailers. External forces that impact your business are also worth jotting down like natural disasters or product recalls.
One of my favorite metrics to look at in Google Analytics is the top Landing Pages from Organic traffic. I can click on Behavior, then Site Content, then Landing Pages and then select the Organic Traffic segment every time I want to see these numbers, or… I can go there one time and click on the floppy disc icon and save it to the Saved Reports section of Google Analytics.
Saved Reports, found under the Customization chunk of the Google Analytics left-hand sidebar, are essentially shortcuts that will save you a ton of time in the long run, especially if you, like me, tend to add segments or secondary dimensions to the standard reporting screens. Besides making it easier to see the metrics displayed the way you want them to be, they are still completely customizable from that screen.
Just because you saved it one way doesn’t mean you can’t change the date range or slap a different segment on it. The default report will always remain unless you choose to delete or save an updated version of it. I recommend making saved reports for all of your go-to metrics; whenever you can, take the time saving method.
Rather than getting bogged down in tedious and time-consuming tasks, take advantage of Shared Assets, Annotations, and Saved Reports. Google Analytics has a lot of nifty features, it’s just a matter of knowing where to find them and how to use them, and now you know how to use three more of them.