The old adage time is money! is a well-known phrase that just about everybody can agree with. As analysts, we often strive to find the insights that drive perfection, and in doing so create efficiencies that save time; therein saving money. But we ARE human. As such, we often remain so focused on the task at hand that we do not always look at the process we used to get there.
If your web analytics weapon of choice is Google Analytics, you are probably already aware that it has undergone some significant changes and enhancements over the last year. More immediately noticeable was the change to a new streamlined interface which initially became available to everyone in April 2011. Since the new interface rolled out, however, there have also been numerous revisions and additions to the already-abundant list of features. New reports like Multichannel Funnels and Social allow for deeper analysis than ever.
In the spirit of helping you leverage time-saving features in Google Analytics, here are some new (and not-so-new) features and techniques you can use to streamline your analysis and reporting processes:
- Connect Google Analytics with Webmaster Tools –Similar to how Google Analytics can pull CPC data via a connection to Google AdWords, it can also pull in SEO-related data like impressions and queries by connecting to Google Webmaster Tools. These additional metrics can be found in the ‘Search Engine Optimization’ report in the Standard Reporting area of Google Analytics.
Tying together Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools can save you time and aggravation down the line as issues with your site’s SEO can be spotted much quicker. For example, if you notice that one of your landing pages is under-performing organically with Google Analytics, you no longer have to log into Webmaster Tools separately to determine if there are indexing issues.
- Use Custom Reports –Though the stock reports built into Google Analytics are very informative in themselves and offer a great deal of flexibility and drill-down functionality, it can still be helpful to see specific metrics side-by-side. Luckily, Google saw the demand for this and gave us Custom Reporting! Here you can create, you guessed it, custom reports with multiple tabs. You have the option to choose from their Explorer or Flat Tables as types, and can pick and choose what Dimensions and Metrics to display.
Need to drill down further? You can also add filters accordingly. Additional tabs can also be added to your report, so you can have all of the information you need in one spot without having to dig too far. The best part about Custom Reporting is that your reports are saved to your account, so you can get back to the exact data you needed quickly and efficiently.
- Schedule Email Reports – A great deal of the analysis and reporting we do is on a regular basis and is often on the same KPIs and reports: so why log in every time? Scheduling recurring email exports can save you a great deal of time that would normally have been spent applying Advanced Segments and drilling down. You can even get more specific with the emails by scheduling exports from the Custom Reports that you set up! Emails can be sent as CSV, TSV, and even PDF if you preferred to have visuals associated with the report.
As analysts, we take the proverb seriously; our time literally IS money. The more insights that we can uncover, the more revenue is generated and marketing dollars saved. In order to generate more insights, however, we need to be able to spend more time in the analysis stage and less time in data-gathering. The features I’ve covered help in accomplishing this, as well as the endless wave of improvements always coming through the pipeline for Google Analytics.