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The Holy Grail of Web Analytics Custom Reporting

Published by Charles Brodeur

For those of you who love to wade through the plethora of standard reports offered by Google Analytics and spend hours mulling over reams of data trying to find that elusive key metric please feel free to skip this article.

However, if like most of us you want quick access to key web analytics custom reporting data and your boss (and his boss!) are breathing down your neck then look no further than the superb blog post written by the outstanding Avinash Kaushik over at Google.


Avinash provides details of what can be only described as the holy grail of web analytics custom reporting, in fact he practically does the reporting for you and provides you with a link to three awesome downloadable reports! Minus your data of course...

He is a huge fan of eliminating standard reports and turns the idea of what a standard report is on its head by introducing the concept of creating a focused custom “micro-ecosystem”.

The creation of a relevant micro-ecosystem should reduce the number of reports, be a one stop destination for most answers on a topic and most importantly be hyper relevant.

The process of creating a self-contained micro-ecosystem with relevant data involves 3 simple steps.

1. Identify and understand who will consume the data.

2. Understand their needs and success criteria (this involves actually talking to them!)

3. Use your experience and initiative - what do they really want?


The micro-ecosystem example he provides is an analysis of the performance of a Paid Search Marketing program with an ecommerce focus - which should probably apply to the vast majority of visitors reading this post.

He identifies three key parties that would usually require the valuable data offered by a micro-ecosystem and they include the SEM team, the Website Director and VP of Digital.

The micro-ecosystem in this case is simply one report with three tabs containing relevant information for each of three parties above.

In summary, the information in each tab looks at three key areas namely input, activity and outcomes. He then provides an in-depth analysis of the data in all three scenarios and why the data in the each tab is important to the relevant team.

For the SEM team the data provided concerns things they do everyday and that will impact their bonus such as impressions, ad performance and CTR. It also provides details on CPC and Total cost. However, he does point out that this report will serve as a great base for initial analysis by the SEM team but that they will perform further reporting and deep dive analysis.

Further up the chain the report for the Website Director will look at what is happening under the bonnet and not just the upfront stuff. They are focused on what is happening under their responsibility and on the site. The key metric here is revenue and figuring out if there is a mismatch between this and the number of visits.

Lastly the report for the VP will contain fewer relevant metrics. The focus here is not just on revenue but also on cost and productivity.

The process described above outlines a super efficient way to present relevant web analytics data and keep everyone happy.  Adhering to this process should pay rich dividends in terms of eliminating data dumps, focusing on what is important and having one central location for web analytics reporting.

This process has changed our approach to web analytics custom reporting here at Bigturns forever (especially for Adwords campaigns) and we hope that you can find some value in it as well.

Oh and before I forget here is the link to the reports.

Note: This is the Google Analytics V5 version created by Rob Taylor who updated the original version provided by Avinash. Don’t forget to login to Google Analytics first.

Finally, here is the link to the blog post which also contains some nice bonus items at the end.



Charles Brodeur
eCommerce Consultant
BigTurns Professional Services Ltd 
Vancouver, BC V6E 4R1
info@BigTurns.com

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