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Creating Google Analytics reports the way you like them

One of the biggest wastes in web marketing is the incredible data provided free by Google Analytics but never accessed by its owners. In my experience, 90% of businesses using Google Analytics never use anything other than the standard reports offered in the sidebar, yet there’s so much more. The key option to select is “Custom Reports”.

Here’s an example of one such report: a look at the time of day people visit your site. It really is just an example though, to give you an idea of the elements you could put together to create a report which shows the information you really need.

Go to Customization > Custom Reports > +New Custom Report. Title the report “Time of Day” or whatever you want, and click “Flat Table”. This just gives us the data, without graphs or other embellishments. Click “+add dimension” and type in “hour”, then click “Hour”. This adds the hour of day as the ‘dimension’ you want to examine. Click “+metric”, start typing “sessions” and click “Sessions” when it appears. That’s the ‘metric’ you want shown for your ‘dimension’. Click ‘Save’ and you’ve got your table. You may want to mess around with the date range; and if you want the report to be ordered by hour rather than sessions, click “Hour” (twice if you want it lowest to highest!). Also, change “Show rows” to 25.

If you want to export the data to a spreadsheet, there’s an ‘Export’ button; if you want it to run every day, week or month and be emailed to you, click “Share”. If you might want to use it again, click “Save”, and you’ll be able to come back to it under “Saved Reports”.

There, wasn’t that simple? Now create another report and look at all the items available under ‘dimension’ and ‘metric’. You can select more than one to create more complex reports. There’s so much available, and a whole world of data to explore.