Archive for March, 2012

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Breaking: Email Reports and PDF Export (in Beta) Now Available in Google Analytics v5 [Screenshots]

OK, I’ve been waiting for this functionality to hit the latest version of Google Analytics for some time, and I’m excited that it’s finally here! From what I gather, this is rolling out gradually (in beta), so not everyone is seeing what I’m seeing. About 10 minutes ago, my Google Analytics session froze. Upon refreshing, I noticed an “Email” button on the action bar with a beta label, along with a new option in the “Export” dropdown. You can now email reports as an attachment (in csv, tsv, tsv for excel, and now PDF!) That’s right, you can email pdf’s, as well as export them separately. You can also schedule emails by frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly), so you can automatically send reports.

Below are screenshots of the buttons in action:

Email Button in Google Analytics:
Email report functionality in Google Analytics v5

Export to PDF in Google Analytics v5:
Export to PDF functionality in Google Analytics v5

As of now, Google Analytics hasn’t officially stated this is rolling out, but I’m seeing it.

Let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to provide more information until you receive the update!

[Update] Now that I’ve had some time to play with the new functionality, I wanted to explain more about export to pdf and the advanced email functionality in Google Analytics.

1. Export to PDF
From any report, you can easily click the “Export” dropdown in the action bar to export that report as a pdf. There aren’t options for tailoring the report, and it will be exported immediately. As with other reports, you can increase the number of rows exported by altering the table.rowCount parameter in the URL. For example, changing it to “50” will export 50 rows versus the default 10. The report in pdf format includes the trending graph, aggregate metrics for the report you are viewing, and the rows of data with associated metrics (based on the view you are currently in). For example, Site Usage, Goal Set 1, eCommerce, etc.

Sample PDF Report in Google Analytics v5

2. Email Reports (With Scheduling)
The second piece of functionality I’ll cover is the new Email Report functionality. As I explained above, you can also find the “Email” button via the action bar. When you click the button, you are presented with a set of options, including choosing the format of the report. You will notice that “PDF” is now an option. You can also set the frequency for the scheduled report, including once, daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. If you choose weekly, you can then choose the day of the week that the report will be emailed. If you choose monthly, you can choose the day of the month. Last, there is an arrow labeled “Advanced Options”, which enables you to choose how long the scheduled report should be active for. The dropdown list includes 1-12 months.

Scheduling Reports via Email in Google Analytics v5

Wrapping Up – The Power of the PDF
Once your account receives the update, you should test the new functionality for exporting pdf’s. I think you’ll like it. This is something that’s been much needed for some time. Now let me go schedule some more reports. :)

GG

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

How To Create a Custom Report in Google Analytics by Customizing a Standard Report [Tutorial]

Custom Reports in Google Analytics

Custom reports in Google Analytics are incredibly powerful.They enable you to tailor reporting, based on your own business, your own conversion goals, key metrics, etc.The problem is that custom reports can be confusing to create. You have metric drilldowns, dimension groups, report views, filters, etc. If you aren’t familiar with creating custom reports, the interface could be daunting. That said, you shouldn’t give up trying to create custom reports! Again, they can be very powerful for analyzing traffic.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through creating a custom report that displays organic search traffic from mobile devices. The report will also enable you to view those visits by location. It’s a nifty custom report for any local business. The report lets you quickly view top keywords leading to your site via organic search (mobile traffic), but also lets you view how many of those visits are from potential buyers (people located near your business).

In addition, Google recently released functionality for customizing a standard report versus having to create every custom report from scratch. This is a great option if you are new to custom reports and want to tailor some of the existing reports in Google Analytics to fit your needs.

Creating a Custom Report from a Standard Report
As I mentioned earlier, we’ll start with a standard report in Google Analytics and tailor it to meet our goals. Since we are going to create a report showing organic search from mobile devices, let’s start with the Mobile Overview report and customize it to display:

  • Organic keywords leading to the site (mobile traffic).
  • The region those visits are from (i.e. states).
  • The cities within those regions that visits are coming from.
  • The mobile operating system from those visits (android, iphone, etc.)

The goal of the report is to know the organic keywords leading to the site from mobile visits, and how many of those visits are from potential customers (people located near your business).

How to Create the Custom Report (from a Standard Report)

1. Open up Google Analytics, click the “Audience” tab, and then expand the “Mobile” link in the left side navigation. Click the “Overview” link to view the Mobile Overview report.

Accessing the Mobile Overview Report in Google Analytics

2. Click the “Customize” link in the action bar of the report. This will enable you to customize this report for your own needs (by creating a custom report based on this standard report). Note, not all standard reports can be customized this way. Tabular reports can be customized this way, but you will find other reports within GA that cannot be converted to custom reports:

Customizing a Standard Report in Google Analytics

3. When you click “customize”, the standard report will be loaded into “report builder”. The initial view will show you the current report mapped out already in report builder. Then you can tailor the various elements, based on what you are trying to achieve with your own custom report.

Report Builder in Google Analytics

4. You can keep the current metric groups if you want. If you ever want to go back and customize the metric groups, you can by editing the custom report. For example, you definitely want to set up various conversion goals and events so you can better understand quality traffic. Once you do, you can add them to your metric groups so you can view performance by traffic in your custom report.

5. Under dimension drilldowns, you will only see “Mobile” listed. Adding more dimensions will enable you to drill into each level to find more data. As I explained above, we want to drill into mobile traffic to reveal the organic keywords leading to the site. Then we want to view location by region and state. So, let’s add those additional dimensions to our report.

Adding Dimensions to a Custom Report in Google Analytics

6. Click the “Add Dimension” box in dimension drilldowns and select “Keyword” from the “Advertising” list.

Adding More Dimensions to a Custom Report in Google Analytics

7. Next, add more dimensions to your report. Click the “Add Dimension” box again, and include the “Region” dimension from the “Visitors” list. After adding “Region”, you should go through the same process to add another dimension for “City”.

Adding Location Dimensions to a Custom Report in Google Analytics

8. Filter Your Traffic
The last step is to make sure the traffic is only from organic search. We only want to view mobile traffic from organic search, so we need to tell Google Analytics to filter that traffic for us. Click the “Add a Filter” box under the “Filters” category. Select the “Medium” dimension under the “Traffic Sources” list. Then select “include” from the first filter dropdown, leave “Medium” as the dimension, leave “Exact” in the third dropdown, and then enter “organic” in the text box (without quotes). See the screenshot below to follow along. This text tells Google Analytics to include all traffic that exactly matches “organic” as the medium. “Organic” is what’s listed for all organic search traffic.

Filtering Traffic in a Custom Report in Google Analytics

Congratulations! You just created a custom report, based on a standard report. Click “Save” at the bottom of the report and you’ll be taken to the functioning report in Google Analytics.

You can start drilling into the report by clicking “Yes” in the mobile report, which will reveal all organic keywords from mobile traffic. Then you can click any keyword to view the region those visits are from. If you click the region, you can view the cities within that region. Again, this report can help you identify mobile traffic from organic search, the keywords being searched for, and identify if these are potential customers (based on their proximity to your local business).

Bonus: Access the Custom Report Template
As an added bonus, I have shared the template for this custom report and you can access it by clicking the link below. Once you click the link, you can add this template to a Google Analytics profile and start using the report today. You can also analyze the report setup so you can work through creating similar custom reports. Click the following link to access the custom report for organic search visits from mobile devices.

Summary – Customize It!
I hope this post helped clear up some of the confusion associated with building custom reports in Google Analytics. I love that Google added the ability to customize standard reports, since that’s sometimes all you want to do… If you are new to custom reports, then I recommend starting with a standard report and then customizing that report to fit your needs. Going through that process should help you get more comfortable with working in report builder and could lead to more advanced custom reports. And that can all lead to advanced analysis of your traffic. Good luck.

GG

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

How To Create Interest Lists in Facebook [Tutorial]

Last week Facebook rolled out interest lists, which is a Twitter-like way to keep up with specific groups of pages, people, or subscriptions. Remember, you can subscribe to someone’s public feed in Facebook without being “friends” with them. It’s definitely an effort to keep people on Facebook longer, versus jumping out to check Twitter, RSS feeds, etc. In addition, it’s a powerful way for Facebook to learn even more about you, which can help fuel their advertising platform. Remember, marketers can target you via interest-based targeting, based on your activity on the social network.

I’ve been testing interest lists since they launched and have found them to be a pretty good way to organize feeds by category. They definitely aren’t keeping me away from Twitter, Google+, RSS, etc., but it’s a good way to view the latest updates for a certain category within Facebook. Organizing interest lists can absolutely save you time, and can help keep you informed. In this post, I’ll walk you through the process of creating and accessing interest lists in Facebook.

How To Create an Interest List in 4 Steps:

1. Access Interest Lists
Log into Facebook and find “Interests” in the left sidebar.

Interest Lists in Facebook

2. Click the link for “Add Interests”
Add Interest Lists in Facebook

3. Add an Interest List
Facebook has already organized interest lists by category (if you don’t want to create one yourself). This is the quickest way to add an interest list. You’ll see prepopulated lists organized by category like Art, Books, Business, Technology, etc. You can click the “Subscribe” button next to each list to add them as interests. Once you do, the new interest list will show up in the left sidebar under “Interests”.

Prepopulated Interest Lists in Facebook

4. Create Your Own Interest Lists
Prepopulated lists are fine, but the true power of interest lists comes from organizing your own, based on pages, people, or subscriptions you like. Click “Create List”, and Facebook will bring up a dialog box with all of the pages you like, the subscriptions you have, and friends you are connected with. You will also see categories on the left side, which when clicked, will reveal pages to add or people to subscribe to.

The Create Interest List Button in Facebook

Create Interest Lists in Facebook

At this point, click each of the pages or people you want to add to your new interest list and then click the “Next” button. You will be prompted to name your list and then choose its privacy setting. You can choose “Public” where anyone can see your list, “Friends” where friends can view and subscribe to the list, and then “Only Me”, which means only you will be able to view the list. Click “Done” after you’ve named the list and selected its privacy setting.

Privacy Settings for Interest Lists in Facebook

That’s it! Congratulations, you’ve just created an interest list. Facebook will automatically show you the feed after completing the setup. To access other interest lists you’ve created, simply click the interest list name in the left sidebar under “Interests”. To return to your standard news feed, simply click the Facebook logo in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

Summary – Organize Your Interests
Interest lists can be a strong way to keep up with the latest news and updates from specific pages, subscriptions, and friends (and all by category). Again, interests provide a Twitter-like feel to Facebook and is definitely an attempt to keep you on the site longer, versus relying on other services for updates. In addition, and this is extremely important for Facebook, interests provide a great way for the social network to understand more about you. This can help fuel their advertising product, which enables marketers to reach you via interest-based targeting. So if you’re ok with giving Facebook more information about you, then go ahead and set up some interest lists today.

GG