If you have been in Google Analytics lately, then you’ve noticed that the dashboard is a little different. Google updated the layout starting in April 2017, slowly rolling it out to accounts. The first item that you’ll notice is the new “Home” button at the top of your screen. That’s, however, not the only changes.
Why They Did It
Google is always trying to make their tools more relevant to their users. Now, as soon as you log into your account, you have report that displays all your key metrics – without you ever having to do anything. For example, let’s say you’re an ecommerce site, and you have goals set up for purchases. The new Home dashboard will automatically add the ecommerce data to your dashboard. This is now your new landing page when you log into platform.
The goal of the dashboard is to provide a snapshot of major information as soon as you log into the platform. Why is this important? Many people don’t have time to dig into their analytics on a daily basis. Creating reports from scratch take time. The new Home screen provides you with important data that you can use for high-level reports, and it’s constantly updated. If you’re running late to a meeting and require some stats, you can easily pull up the dashboard. It’s also a great snapshot for clients if they have Google Analytics access.
What It Showcases
You’ll first notice that the reports are more visual than in the past. You’ll still see numbers, but you’ll also notice graphs and charts that better illustrate your data.
Second, you’ll notice that your data is broken out differently. The first section is pretty standard. It shows engagement and conversion information like users, sessions, conversion rate, revenue, bounce rate and session duration. You’ll also see some real-time data, including users on your site right now, pageviews per minute and most visited pages. Beyond this, you can now see headlines that are questions, including:
- When do your users visit? – Breaks out the week and times of day when users come to your site.
- How do you acquire users? – From what source are they coming: paid search, social, organic, direct, etc.
- Where are your users? – Shows from what countries your users are visiting.
- What are your top devices? – Provides percentages of people using mobile, desktop and tablet.
- How well do you retain users? – A cohort analysis report based on acquisition date, which provides info on how users fall off after their first visit.
- How are your active users trending over time? – How many active users do you have on a daily, weekly or monthly time frame.
- What pages do your users visit? – Pages with the highest pageviews. This section includes both the page and the total pageviews for the time period.
- How are you performing against goals? – Includes goal completions, goal value and goal conversion rate.
- How are your AdWords campaigns performing? – Delivers data on paid search campaign clicks, revenue, top campaigns, cost and AdWords revenue.
- What are your top selling products? – Includes data on the product name, revenue and number of unique purchases.
How to Customize Reports
Every date range on the Home screen is customizable. There are default presets – for most reports it’s seven days unless they’re trend reports. You can, however, change this. You can adjust the date ranges to:
- Last 7 days
- Last 28 days
- Last 30 days
- Last 90 days
- Quarter to date
- Last 12 months
- This year
- Last year
- Custom (select your own dates)
To adjust the date ranges, simply click on the date filter below the widget, and select the preset that you want to use or create your own with a custom date range. To see all the date ranges available, click on “More preset ranges”.
The dashboard makes it extremely easy to pull reports. If you need more information, you simply hover your mouse over the widget, or click into the report for additional detail. The data is also more visual, letting you quickly pull charts and graphs without having to make them from scratch. The widgets also let you effortlessly see key insights. Plus, it’s the first item that shows up when you log into your account. No need to try to hunt for it on the left-hand side of the screen.
Further, you don’t have to do anything. It’s all set up for you. You simply need to log into your account. If you still, however, want to see the Audience Overview Report, which was the default landing page, simply go to “Audience” and “Overview”.
The layout is a little clunky to navigate at first, especially if you’re used to the old view. While having pertinent data loaded first is important, the major drawback is that you need to remember that the date filters are now located below the widgets as opposed to on the top right-hand side as before. You also need to change each date filter individually in the new Home section. On the other tabs, you can change the date filter range, and it will be applied to all the data in the all the tabs, except the Home dashboard.
While not a major drawback, it can be frustrating for first-time users of the new dashboard. Another issue is that you are limited on some of the options. For example, on the cohort analysis report you can only sort by acquisition date.
You also can’t currently change the layout of the Home screen, or add or delete widgets.
Don’t expect this to be the end of the updates. As we’ve seen in AdWords’ new layout, Google has been adjusting all their platforms to be more useful to its users. In fact, Google has even begun releasing natural search queries that allow you to ask questions of their platform like “How many users did I have yesterday” via voice controls. It’s part of their Analytics Intelligence, which seeks to give users more in-depth understanding of their Google Analytics metrics.
Marketers can use these insights to create stronger, more visual reports that are more relevant to their stakeholders and clients. While it might take some time to get used to the new layout, you should find it beneficial. Despite some drawbacks, it is a very good tool for reporting.