Google Analytics is hugely under-utilized though it has very useful features. One of these is the ability to create custom reports that display only the data that you or your customers want to see.
Custom reports let you filter your metrics based on a number of factors, as well as your own chosen settings. They are created by combining metrics, which are the information itself, and the various dimensions they are categorized by.
Metrics measure many site statistics, such as number of visitors, sources of traffic, landing page success, and conversion rates. When it comes to custom reporting, metrics come in five categories – Content, Site Usage, E-Commerce, Goals, and Advertising.
Dimensions organize your metrics. If you want to see how well your flowers are selling as a result of multiple online marketing campaigns, for example, you can organize your page views and conversion rate metrics by traffic source. This will help you determine the relative effectiveness of your campaigns, helping you progress towards conversion optimization.
Creating the Custom Report
To create a custom report, simply click the ‘Custom Reporting’ tab, and then click ‘Overview’. Next, click the ‘+ New Custom Report’ button and enter a name for the report. Then you will need to choose the type of data table you would like, either Explorer or Flat. These will be explained below.
Next, you will have the option to set a filter if you wish. To do so, choose a dimension, select ‘Include’ or ‘Exclude,’ and choose whether you want an ‘Exact’ or ‘Regex’ match. (Regex stands for regular expressions, which include special characters to capture certain pieces of information). Then enter the value you would like to filter by.
Add any additional profiles you would like this report to be available to, and then click ‘Save.’
Explorer Table and Flat Tables
The Explorer Table consists of a series of hierarchically-organized, hyperlinked data tables. This allows you to compare several different groups of metrics along the same dimensions.
To create an Explorer Table, input a name for the first group of metrics and click the ‘+ add metric’ button to add each desired metric. When you are finished, click ‘+ add metric group’ and repeat the process to add another group of metrics. Click the ‘+ add dimension’ button to add your dimensions.
A Flat Table consists simply of a table with up to two dimensions and up to 25 metrics. Input the information in a similar manner to Explorer tables.
Custom reports are a very powerful way to analyze your online marketing success, but they must be created in the correct way. You cannot match up just any dimensions with any metrics, as they are not all compatible with each other.
For an extremely useful table of all the valid dimension/metric combinations, see the Google Analytics Dimensions & Metrics Reference site.