Getting Started with Google Analytics Dashboards

This February I spoke at LocalUp with my friends from LocalU and the good folks over at Moz. During my visit, we filmed a Whiteboard Friday session where I talked about My Favorite 5 Analytics Dashboards. It was great talking dashboards with people via the comments section of their blog post, talking with friends of mine in the industry, and going over questions people had via email.

But what I didn’t realize was the need to help people get started on their first dashboards. We spent a few sessions going through the specifics of creating dashboards in our Google Analytics for Marketers Class last month. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the insights from our class to help you get started.

class-600-300

1) Determine the Data Important to Measure

Our class contained marketers from a variety of roles. Your dashboards should contain the data that’s important to you in your role. Our class had quite varied dashboard preferences. About half of the class leaned very heavy on the campaign dashboard side of things, a few preferred a social media slant, while the remainder preferred more executive style dashboards.

2) Understand Google Dashboard Widgets

Dashboards are made of widgets. These widgets help visualize data in different ways in your dashboard. It’s important to think about both the data you want on your dashboard and the best way it should be presented.  Here’s a great post from Daniel Waisberg that explains the differences and uses of each widget in the Google Analytics Dashboard.

3) Get Busy Building Dashboards 🙂

There’s nothing like just diving in and getting your hands dirty. Besides, there are plenty of videos to help you along the way.

4) Add Some Shared Dashboards to Your Collection

I didn’t want to tell you this until you got some practice building dashboards 🙂 but yeah, there are some great dashboards out there that people have been kind enough to create and share with you. Here are some of those dashboards as well as really good advice: Google Analytics Solutions Gallery, 10 Ecommerce Dashboards, Dashboard Advice from Avinash Kaushik, Social Media Dashboard from Justin Cutroni, and 8 more Awesome Analytics Dashboards.

5) Actually Use Them!

Yes, you actually have to take a look at your dashboards for them to work. Look for trends, discover problems that need to be fixed, get an idea for a new campaign, stop a campaign that isn’t performing, expand your market, and discover countless insights that can help your business.

I love this Google Analytics in Real-Life video. Unfortunately, it’s funny because we can relate to it all too well. Use dashboards to learn how to sell that loaf of bread!