Google analytics tip: save time with dashboards

As a Google Analytics user you know your way around reports and the many ways they make your life easier (see Google analytics tip: getting started with custom reports). We know you’re busy so we’re going to help save you time with Google Analytics dashboards.

Google analytics dashboardsGoogle Analytics - dashboard

Conveniently, Google has created a standard dashboard to help you get started. On the left hand side navigate to Dashboards>Private>My Dashboard.

When you look in the main content area you’ll see something similar to the screenshot below.

Google Analytics - dashboards

At a glance you can see your visits, average time on site, and conversion rate information, to name a few. This is definitely useful information, but you’ll probably want to make some modifications to customize it for your business goals. If you are anything like us, you have a set of monthly go-to reports that never change and you want an easy way to access them each time.

Guess what? The Dashboard is about to make your life a whole lot easier. You can quickly get to the numbers you need without reinventing the wheel every time.

Let’s say that seeing your mobile traffic is extremely important to your business because you are looking into creating a mobile application. We’ll walk through the basics of customizing your dashboard by adding a widget (this is what Google calls the reports that show up in the dashboard) to your dashboard. Once you have a better idea of the process you’ll be able to apply it to any reports that are important to your business.

How to

The first step is a repeat of how we viewed the standard dashboard above. Now that you’re familiar with the dashboard format we’ll show you how to modify it to show what percent of visits are from mobile devices.

1. Navigate to Dashboards> My Dashboard on the top left hand side bar

Google Analtyics - dashboard

2. Click on +Add Widget in the top menu bar to bring up the dialog box.

Google Analtyics - dashboard

3. Type in a name for your widget where it says Widget Title. We’ve chosen ‘Mobile Visits’.
4. Select Pie from the Standard row.
5. Select your metric – ‘Unique Visitors’ and your dimension – ‘Mobile (Including Tablet)’.
6. Select the number of slices to show. In our case it is just two since we are just showing visits with mobile traffic vs. without mobile traffic.
7. Click Save

Google Analtyics - dashboard

As you can see there are many other options you can choose to create your dashboard. Experiment and see what returns the best information for your needs.

After you hit save you’ll be taken back to your dashboard and your new report widget appears.

Google Analtyics - dashboard

Inside the dashboard

There are a few things you can do to further customize your dashboard.

Clicking on the report name link in the top bar of each widget will take you to that specific report. To edit or delete a widget, hover over the widget’s top bar. Click on the pencil to edit the widget and the X to delete it.

Google Analtyics - dashboard

To change the number of columns in your dashboard click the Customize Dashboard link in the top right of the page. The screenshot below shows your column options.

Google Analtyics - dashboard

If you want to delete your entire dashboard, the Delete Dashboard link is also in the top right.

Takeaways

You only have so many hours in the day, but you can’t afford not to make time to gather the data that’s crucial for your business. If you find yourself spending too much time pulling the same reports together each month, put ‘create Google Analytics dashboards’ on your to-do list. You will free up time you can spend on other important tasks and not worry about missing out on the information you need.