Saturday 6 December 2008

Don't get lost in Google Analytics - here's the map

It should be pretty obvious that we think Google Analytics is neat. Neat as in essential to your business! It qualifies as one of those technologies that is clever, cool and seriously useful. The inherent risk using clever, cool and useful tech is that one can get awfully lost in the clever and cool without gaining any value.

For example, I have been guilty of spending many an interesting hour building and rebuilding custom reports - a great new feature in the GA beta interface. I had to catch myself though - were these reports relevant? Were they useful? Were they aligned with our clients' Key Performance Indicators?

I undertook an exercise to rationalise the custom segments and custom reports we had available to our GA account.

The general profiles and filters that we set up in the last blog post are exactly that - general. Sufficiently generic so as to be useful to 90% of GA users...probably. Anyway - custom reports and custom segments should be developed so as to be aligned with business Key Performance Indicators.

Think about it: Why would a board member be so interested in the bounce rate on the website broken down by OS, browser type and browser version? Would a developer really be 'bovvered' by relative marketing campaign keyword performance? Probably not. So, as we created profiles to capture filtered data, we can also create profiles to present data.

Let's say we created a developer specific profile - this doesn't mean to say other users can't view the data but it is a profile focused on the preserntation of data that a developer would want to see. Any report - even a custom report can be added to the dashboard for the profile that you are currently viewing:

And here is the report added at the bottom of the dashboard:

Remove the 'clutter' from the report for the given profile by hitting the X in the top right of each report overview in the dash board.

Now you can have a dashboard for each business function tuned to specific needs, custom segments and reports that are relevant and useful!