Presenting data, especially key metrics is part of the day to day role of Google Analytics users. We often have to produce collections of data, specific to parts of a website or more importantly data that relates to the objectives and goals of your website and this is where dashboards come into play.
Google Analytics provides its own dashboard facility, benefits to using them include:
- On the whole, pretty simple and quick to create
- Instantly live, updateable (date selection), already integrated so no API integration
- Out of the box look and feel, so no messing around in excel
- Usual google analytics features of sharing, exporting and segmenting
However, more often than not we produce our own dashboards with valid rationale:
- Data comes from multiple sources (not just Google Analytics)
- Data is based on calculation of several pieces of Google Analytics data not just one metric
- Terminology used by google analytics isn’t user centric and can add confusion to the dashboard or worse make it meaningless and un-used
- Google Analytics dashboards are quite limited and cannot* be customized
This post will cover the last point.
Google produce guidance on best practice for dashboards so I won’t repeat this, however I will cover how you can customize Google Analytics dashboards. It is limited, but below are the main areas to customize:
Layout options (click customize dashboard)
A relatively new feature is to be able to tweak the width of columns (and number of columns) options at our disposal are:
- 1 Column – 100% width
- 2 Column – 50% width
- 4 Column – 25% width
- 2 Column – 30/70% Width
- 3 Column – 30/40/30% width
- 2 Column 70/30% width
Having these options is great, especially if you have several timeline/ table widgets
We can name the dashboard in question
Hover over current title, box will go yellow, click inside, rename and save.
Similar to the dashboard title we can alter this field. Google analytics normally pre-populates these once you start adding dimensions and goals, but remember you can change them.
Whilst obvious, we have 9 different types of widget to add. The look of the final dashboard will depend on the combination of types.
As mentioned, the above is limited and this next part is a plea to Google to add more features, including:
Group widgets into rows as well as columns (thus common height of widgets)
If you use the same type of widget across every column, by default the height is common across all widgets, however if one is a different type then we get some ugly visuals (see screenshot above).
Having the option to have rows, and then select number of widgets/ column width within that row would sure up the visual
Have heading per column
Pretty simple but having a sub heading per column would help when grouping widgets.
Table widget – having more than one dimensions
If you use table widgets for real-time, you will notice the option to have up to three dimensions and one metric, however using a standard table you have only one dimension and two metrics. More dimensions would be helpful for richer insights!
Table widget – Having (Last 30 mins) as well as “active users” in real-time widget
In real-time, content, events and conversions screens you will notice the option for (Last 30 mins) as well as “Active Users” Can we have the same for real-time widgets?
NB I know you get this option for real-time timeline widgets
Dimensions and metrics to have hover explanations
This is a standard feature to other reports in Google Analytics, just not real-time.
Want to suggest anything else? Then add a comment. Google do listen we just have to request in numbers!