Digging Into Reports

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Digging Into Reports

Digging Into Reports

It is important that you dig deeper into reports by slicing and dicing the data available in the default reports. Looking at a single metric is seldom helpful in deriving reliable business intelligence.

Here are some methods:

  1. Controlling Active Date Range
  2. Comparing Two Metrics
  3. Cross Segmentation Using Sub-dimensions.
  4. Pivot Tables Using Visualization Controls

Playing with Active Date Range

Date range helps in viewing and comparing historical data. Controlling the active date range is helpful for the following reasons:

  1. When you want to identify particular trends/patterns in your data.
  2. When you want to identify effects of business cycles on your website traffic.
  3. When you want to do before and after analysis (e.g., what happened after running an online promotion).

For comparing historical data, first enable the Compare to Past option and then provide a set of valid date ranges.

Here is an example of setting the date range:


Comparing Two Metrics

To begin, choose a 'Web Property' and associated Profile from the Accounts List menu, and then click on any desired report. Then click the Compare Metric link (top right of graph display) and select the secondary metric you'd like to compare. This method is helpful with respect to determining if two metrics share any sort of cause-&-effect relationship. For example, see the screenshot below where we're looking to compare Visits with Unique Visitors.

MultiLine Graph


You can cross-segment your data within a default report by using different sub-dimensions.

The following example illustrates how to use the cross-segmentation option to see the classification of U.S. visitors in reference to different mediums they used to reach your website.

  1. Select the Map Overlay report from the report navigation interface.
  2. Within this report, under the Site Usage tab select United States as the country by clicking on it.
  3. Using the Secondary dimension drop down menu, select Medium as the dimension. Google Analytics will cross-segment the map overlay data with the medium via which visitors came to your site.

Cross Segmentation

Visualization Controls

The report visualization control panel offers different options to slice and dice your data.The following example illustrates the use of pivot tables for segmenting your data.

We are interested in knowing the amount of traffic each source is sending to your website. Also, we want to classify this traffic into New Visitors vs. Returning Visitors. Pivot tables will help in accomplishing this task.

  1. Navigate to the All Traffic Sources report using the report navigation panel.
  2. Using the report visualization control panel, select the View option.
  3. Using the drop down menu set the Pivot By field to Visitor Type.

Pivot Tables

  1. New vs. Returning Report, with sub-dimension Country: shows which countries are sending what type of visitors.
  2. Keywords Report, with sub-dimension as Source: shows a list of the top five organic keywords and the search engine associated with each keyword.
  3. Top Landing Pages Report, with sub-dimension as Keywords: shows the top five landing pages and the respective keywords that were responsible for bringing traffic to these web pages.
  4. Content by Title, with sub-dimension as Source: shows specific web pages (e.g., web pages related only to Cisco Training) and also shows which sources (e.g., Google, Bing, etc.) brought traffic to these web pages.


Webmasters are generally concerned about the technicalities of the website and differentiating factors which can have an effect on browsing experience. Apply similar logic as described in the above example to create customized versions of the following modules:

  1. Browsers and OS
  2. Connection Speed
  3. URL Containing "error"
  4. Visitors Overview Report