XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> 3 Essential Google Analytics Reports

3 Essential Google Analytics Reports

Posted on 19. Apr, 2010 by .

Lots of people use Google Analytics as their web analytics software but most of them don’t understand what it can do for them, what kind of information it can provide you with.

Generally you can say that metrics alone, such as Bounce Rate, Visits or Pages/Visit, aren’t really helpful. As with most information you have to seem them within the context. Think about it, what does a pages/visit metric of 1.8 tell me about my blog? Just that on average 1.8 pages are visited by people. It isn’t really meaningful without context.

What if you compare it to other Pages/Visit metrics from blogs that are in your niche? Then the metric can because a useful indication as to whether your blog is performing as it’s supposed to.

So that’s why we are going to look at some Google Analytics reports that are going to help you understand Google Analytics a little bit better.

Map Overlay

Google Analytics Map Report

Map Overlay: Useful indicator as to where your visitors are coming from.

The map overlay report can be useful. Just don’t spend too much time looking on it. If you go to your Google Analytics Dashboard and scroll down you should be able to see the map overlay report. Just click on View Report and you should be able to see the full report.
Now the interesting thing about this report is where people are coming from. For example if you are using lots of Amazon.com affiliate links on your blogĀ  and 1/3 of your visitors come from the U.K. then you might need to think about also implementing an Amazon.co.uk affiliate link since otherwise you will miss out on a lot of opportunities to make sales.

Also if most of your visitors come from a non-English speaking country such as Germany you might need to consider also offering your content in German.

Usually though most of your visitors will come from countries that speak the same language you use on your blog.

Site Overlay

I can highly recommend using the site overlay report to see on what your visitors are actually clicking on your web site. It will give you an insight into what people are interested in and what not.

To view your site overlay report click on Content in the left sidebar. Then scroll down the new page and in the right corner you should be able to find something that says Site Overlay.

Sometimes when you click on the Site overlay it won’t show up for some reason. Then just try it on another day.

The most useful insight you will get from a site overlay is what people are interested in and what they find interesting. Just take a look at the different click percentages of all the links. It will be a good indication as to what your visitors are interested in.

Custom Reports

It is actually pretty easy to create your own custom reports. It’s useful to create these reports when the standard Google Analytics reports are not enough for you or if they don’t cover what you wanted to see.
If you are in the Google Analytics Dashboard then look in the left sidebar and click on Custom Reporting. There you will be able to manage your custom reports.
Now we will want to improve our standard keyword report (Traffic Sources -> Keywords). For example we want to see not only the bounce rate but also the % Exits to make the report more meaningful. And we also want to add another dimension to the report so that when we click on a keyword we will get the page that the visitors were sent to.
Now let’s go about creating a new report. Click on Custom Reporting which is in sidebar to the left. Then in the top right there should be some text saying Create new custom report. Go ahead and click on it and you will be lead to a new page.

Now the metrics give additional information for the dimension (in our case keywords). For example if you would like to know how many visits you get through keywords you would have to add the metric Visits to the report.

Google Analytics Custom Report

Drag and drop all the metrics and dimensions in the right place. Just follow my example here.

In our case we are going to get additional information for all the keywords through the different metrics such as Visits, Bounce Rate and % Exit. Now you can also add dimensions to your report here. All I basically did above was to tell Analytics that when someone clicks on a keyword then the next thing (or the next dimension) that should show up are all the page titles that were viewed by people searching for the keyword.

Google Analytics Custom Report Feature

Final Result from creating a Custom Report

If you have done all of that then you need to take a closer look at the report itself. Take a look at the keywords and compare them to each other. For example I had one keyword that had a low bounce and exit rate. The other one was way higher. That tells me that the keyword with the low bounce and exit rate is leading to the right content because people aren’t instantly leaving my page, they consume the content.

On the other hand, from looking at the report, I can see that the information I offered on the one page wasn’t exactly what people were looking for. So after taking a look at this report you might have to update your pages that are not performing as well as they should. Of course this doesn’t mean that you should completely change it.

Also be sure to enable site search for your blog so that you can gather interesting information about your visitors search pattern.

Was this useful to you? Did you already know about all of these aspects of Google Analytics?

7 Responses to “3 Essential Google Analytics Reports”

  1. Paul

    20. Apr, 2010


    Very useful, Google Analytics has always been a mystery to me. I’ll have to return and work through the post again alongside my Google Analytics. I’m a visual learner in these situations so a video would be a great idea.

    A great post and thanks for sharing your knowledge.


    Reply to this comment
    • jules

      20. Apr, 2010

      Thanks Paul. I am glad this has been useful. What kind of information would you like me to cover more concerning Google Analytics?

      And yes you are right I should use videos they are great and so easy to create but I haven’t gotten around to using them.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Deluxe Blog Tips

    22. Apr, 2010

    Actually, I don’t use the Map Overlay report too much. The reason is I’ve already chose the target country in Google WebMaster Tools, so I know exactly which part in the map is bold :D

    I love the custom report as you wrote above. It’s really nice and I can quickly view what I concern.

    Reply to this comment
    • jules

      22. Apr, 2010

      Yeah I don’t use it either too much. You just have to look at it once but it’s also good to check it out from time to time to make sure you get traffic from the countries you are aiming to get traffic from.
      And yes custom reports are really nice. I love them. Thanks for the comment!

      Reply to this comment
  3. matt

    06. Jul, 2010

    Hi Jules

    Great article, and you maybe able to help me as you seem so brainy.

    Is there a way of knowing what Keywords we searched within the countries you show up on. i.e.

    Germany found you by searching for Boots, or Jumpers?

    Just a thought, as I can’t seem to find the answer.



    Reply to this comment
  4. Raj

    03. Nov, 2010

    How to find out clicks on particular button?

    Reply to this comment
  5. Aurora Anderson

    07. Jan, 2011

    I can’t “view report” in my analytics account even though it shows I have traffic. When I click “view report” the next screen that comes up says: “An Error Has Been Detected”.

    I have been all over the Google forums and it sounds like a lot of people are having trouble w/ this. But no fix. Do you have any suggestions how to solve this?

    Reply to this comment

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