Custom Google Analytics Reports That Save Time

Custom Google Analytics reports that save time
Custom Google Analytics reports that save time | Source

Google Analytics is arguably the best way to get data about the visitors to your website or blog. The information Google Analytics serves up is second to none: it ties AdSense data to your stats, shows where your traffic is coming from, and is a powerful tool for driving more traffic to your site.

The big problem a lot of website administrators face with Google Analytics is that there can be a huge learning curve to it. However, custom reports can take the headache out of digging around in the guts of Google Analytics.

Why Custom Reports Are Amazing

The big problem a lot of website administrators face with Google Analytics is that there can be a huge learning curve to it. However, custom reports can take the headache out of digging around in the guts of Google Analytics.

Google recently made major changes in infrastructure and navigation for Analytics. I was fortunate in that I created some pretty powerful and easy-to-use custom reports before the design change. These reports gave me information I wanted RIGHT AWAY while I was able to slowly immerse myself into the rest of the new & improved Google Analytics.

Custom reports aren't just for dipping your toe into Analytics, they're also super awesome for getting the exact information you want, right away. Custom Google Analytics reports are great because once you add one to your account, it stays there (unless you delete it.) You don't need to create a new one every time you want to check out some very specific stats.

How to Create a Custom Report in Google Analytics

Creating a custom report is easy. Just head on over to the Google Analytics account for your website and hit the "Customization" button at the top.

Then, just hit “+ New Custom Report” (as shown in the image above.)

From here, you can add all the info you want to “know” in a report. Let’s get started with the report I use the most!

Page to Source Report

I call this one "Page to Source" because the first page of the report shows all my pages in order by the amount of traffic and the last page of the report shows where the traffic came from.

This is an incredibly simple report, but it's great for when I have a post that's getting a sudden boost in traffic. The first thing I want to know is where that traffic is coming from. This does that for me.

Another nice thing about this report is that if you click on Google or any other search engine, you can see the keywords that are bringing you traffic.

You can use the following settings to create your own report or just click to add Melanie's Page to Source report to your Analytics account.

Here are the settings for this report:

"Page to Source" Report Settings

Page to Source settings
Page to Source settings | Source

Top Converting Pages

Another report I love is the top converting pages report. This is perfect for AdSense users because it quickly gives a ton of information on the number of ads viewed on pages, the number of AdSense ads clicked, and overall traffic to pages.

When you click a page in this report, it will show you whether your ad clicks are from organic traffic (search engines) or referral traffic (social media, blog posts, etc.)

"Top Converting Pages" Report Settings

Settings for the "Top Converting Pages Report"
Settings for the "Top Converting Pages Report" | Source

Popular Per City

I use my Popular Per City report frequently. A lot of articles I write are geared toward people living in certain locations, such as my Michigan Accent article. Because of this, I get surges of traffic from different locations and it’s really handy to see if I'm able to drive traffic from the locales I'm targeting.

It’s also fun to be able to quickly check, “Which of my blog posts is the most popular in New York City?” or “What are they reading in France?” You might not believe it, but this report has turned out to be really helpful!

"Popular Per City" Report Settings


Region to Source

This report is the best buddy to the Popular Per City report. If you’ve found that you’re getting a ton of traffic from California, you may want to know how your newfound Californian friends found out about your site. The Region to Source report will show you the regions ’round the world where your stuff is popular and let you see how these folks learn about your content.

"Region to Source" Report Settings


Bounce Rate & Time on Page

The Bounce Rate & Time on Page report lets me quickly see which pages need major help with engaging readers. When a bounce rate is really high (into the 90s), this means people are leaving your site before spending any time surfing around, reading other posts, or really enjoying the stuff you have to offer. High bounce rates can hurt your ranking on Google SERPs.

The bounce rate report will help you figure out which pages need the most help. It has columns for pages, page views, how much time readers stay on the page, and bounce rate and you can sort by any one of those things. I use this information to add things to posts to make users want to stay: nicer images, better formatting, and other little bits and pieces that might engage my audience.

"Bounce Rate & Time on Page" Report Settings


Hourly Metrics

What time of day does your site get the most traffic? The least? The Hourly Metrics report is a quick and easy way to see which time of the day your site gets the most traffic. Be sure to toggle the date, because if you leave it defaulted at a month of data, the data is for the month.

This report is great for finding the best time to make a new post or the best time to take your site down for a quick update.

"Hourly Metrics" Report Settings

How to use custom reports

In order to use your custom reports, just head on over to your Customization tab, click on the report you want to see and voilà, everything you want to know if right at your fingertips.

Hit the edit button to add more metric groups and dimension drilldowns to your report. Sounds like a bunch of industry speak, eh? Play with a custom report to learn about all the things you can do and don't be afraid to seriously mess up a report. You can always delete it and come back here to download a fresh one. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be making awesome reports of your own.

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1 comment

Anna C Taylor profile image

Anna C Taylor 13 months ago from Around the World

Thanks for this! As someone trying to learn Google Analytics I really appreciate when it's broken up like this!

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