How to Leverage Dashboards in Google Analytics

The Google Analytics dashboard is a powerful tool. It is very helpful, especially if you have cross-functional teams within your organization. Let’s explore how you can leverage the dashboard in Google Analytics.

What is a dashboard and how do I access it?

The Google Analytics dashboard is a place where you can quickly reference the most relevant summary information about your website. When you view a profile in Google Analytics the first screen that you see is the dashboard screen. Take a look the following screenshot; you can see what a dashboard looks like.  As highlighted below, notice that a dashboard in Google Analytics has a fixed portion and a variable portion.

Google Analytics Dashboard Screen
Google Analytics Dashboard Screen

How do I make use of the dashboard in Google Analytics?

Consider the following points to understand the power of the Google Analytics dashboard:

  • The dashboard is completely customizable. You are allowed to add a maximum of 12 reports to the dashboard.
  • The dashboard is profile specific, which means you can create different dashboards for each team member. For example, you can create a dashboard for your webmaster, one for your marketing team, and another for your CFO. The list can go on and on.
  • The dashboard modules are interactive. They provide a direct link to the actual report in Google Analytics. There is no need to navigate through the report interface.
  • If you customize a standard report in Google Analytics to meet your specific needs, then the dashboard modules will maintain that formatting.

An Example of a Powerful Dashboard in Google Analytics:

Take a look at the following screenshot. It shows a customized dashboard created for marketing managers. The modules in the screenshot are customized. The dashboard provides important information for your marketing team without requiring in-depth use of Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Dashboard
Customized Dashboard in Google Analytics (Click to Enlarge)

Now your marketing team just needs to log-in using their Google Account and…. boom….they see the powerful dashboard that you have created for them!

Let’s analyze some of the modules shown in the above screenshot starting from the top left corner.

New vs. Returning Report

This module is a customized version of a standard report available in Google Analytics. This module is showing the top five countries that are sending traffic to your website and the type of visitors coming from each of these countries.  This module is powerful enough to convey that most of the traffic (including new and returning visitors) comes from the United States. For some reason, this website is not able to attract enough returning visitors from countries like India, the United Kingdom and Canada. A marketing manager can obtain this important insight without knowing where to find this report in Google Analytics and without any knowledge of segmenting data in Google Analytics.

Keywords Report

This module shows a list of the top five organic keywords and the search engine associated with each keyword. For a marketing manager, this module shows the combination of keywords and search engines that are sending organic traffic to your website.

Top Landing Pages Report

This module shows the top five landing pages and the respective keywords that were responsible for bringing traffic to these  webpages.

Content By Title Report

This module shows webpages related only to Cisco Training and also shows which sources (e.g. Google, Bing, etc.) brought traffic to these webpages.

This is just one example of how you can leverage dashboards in Google Analytics. You can create powerful dashboards for different departments within your organization.  In order to effectively use the dashboard feature as shown in the above example, you need to understand how to customize standard reports, create appropriate profiles for each department, and then add customized modules to your dashboard. You will learn these and many other techniques in our Google Analytics Training program.

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