Google Analytics: top 10 reports

We rarely come across a business that doesn’t use Google Analytics. It’s no surprise really as it’s free, it’s good and it goes into an incredible amount of detail – why wouldn’t any digital marketer include it as part of their armoury?

Interestingly, we also find that many marketers don’t know how to get real value from it. More often than not, they look around at the reports on the surface, but rarely delve deep under the bonnet.

So, we thought we’d pull together our top 10 reports we use. Now, these are for all sorts of different things, so some will be more relevant to you than others. Either way, they’re all very useful and show the power that Google Analytics can add to your reporting.

1. PDF downloads by source

PDFs don’t contain Google Analytics code, but can be tracked by event tracking. By setting up event tracking for each piece of downloadable content, you can get a picture of which PDF is performing best and where those visitors came from.

If you’re using UTM tracking codes and have them set up correctly, you can even establish what campaigns, sources or channels are delivering. This means that you can easily attribute your campaigns to lead generation or lead nurture.

2. Social media performance

It’s easy to get lost and waste time in social media, but what are you really looking to get out of it? A custom report showing social media networks will quickly reveal which networks are working for you and where you are getting results.

Using a three dimensional drilldown allows you to see your most popular landing pages, what content works well and what devices visitors are using to view your website. This is important so you can focus attention in the right areas – and know whether you need to buck up your website for mobile traffic.

3. IP tracking

IP tracking identifies who is on your website based on the IP address. This usually tells you the company name when the business is over a certain size or has a dedicated server. Google can’t tell you the name of an individual, but it will tell you the company name. Where the visitor is quite small, you’ll simple see the internet service provider, such as Sky or BT.

This report usually needs a bit of fine tuning, but is very useful as it can tell you the quality of the traffic of your website. From there, you can add in multiple dimensions to see where they landed and what source they came from.

4. Content specific site sections

With some businesses, we want to know how certain sections of a website perform. This might be the log-in area, the knowledge hub or resources section, likewise with a blog. It’s good to know how visitors use these areas and how successful they are in terms of conversions.

By grouping certain pages, it’s possible to monitor groups of pages giving us the insight we need. For example, there might be a certain journey path that we want to monitor, or know how the blog traffic converts. From there, you can optimise and improve the performance.

5. Referral traffic

We’ve recently written about the benefits of content syndication, but how do you know if it’s working? With a referral report, of course! A simple referral report will show you all of the referring sources to your website, however with a custom report you could set it up to measure specific referral sources, which could be created against each campaign you run.

Within the report, you can then measure the quality of the traffic by looking at bounce rate, time of site, pages per visit and of course, conversions.

6. Landing pages from organic search

One of the best ways to assess the performance of your SEO efforts is by looking at landing pages by organic traffic. This report will give you the best performing landing pages and show you the quality of that traffic. You can also review the performance over time, in effect, measuring the improvement in your SEO efforts.

7. Platform performance report

Catering for mobile is becoming increasingly important, yet only 44% of B2B companies have a responsive, mobile friendly website. Optimising your site for mobile will increase usability and the experience of those visiting your website from a mobile device.

Setting up a custom report to show platform and device can often be a rude awakening, especially when you see the performance from the respective platforms. For example, your website might be responsive, but it’s impossible to fill in a form or find your contact page – which could mean you’re losing business.

It’s therefore essential to look at indicators such as pages per visit, duration of visit and goal conversions for specific platforms. Knowing this means that you can prioritise certain sections of your website for optimisation rather than completely rebuilding.

8. Location reports

As standard, Google Analytics shows global traffic, which is great if you have a global business. Most businesses we deal with don’t though, or they’re targeting a specific region or country. It only makes sense then to filter your view by the geographic regions that are relevant to you, preventing the data (and your performance) being skewed.

9. Email marketing results

Most businesses send a lot of email. Customer newsletters, product updates, new blog post announcements, lead generation emails – the list goes on. Often the email dispatch system only gives you half the story. It tells you emails delivered, opened and links clicked – but what did those visitors do then?

With Google Analytics, you can create a specific report that tells you exactly what happened when the visitor clicked giving you much deeper insight into the performance of your email activity. This report is essential if you’re not using a marketing automation platform.

10. Campaign activity

The last (and my favourite) custom report is around tracking campaigns through Google Analytics. By using UTM tracking codes consistently, you can differentiate source, medium, campaign, content and term.

To make this report work, you’ll need a documented UTM tracking code strategy so that the reporting doesn’t get messed up. When this works though, you’ll be able to see the success of a campaign in terms of website traffic, quality of traffic and conversions. Who wouldn’t want that?

With all of these reports, they can be customised to meet your exact requirements. You’ve just got to plan out exactly what you want and then set them up. What’s more, you can schedule them to be delivered to your inbox at set intervals – giving you detailed automated analytics of your performance.

Want to know more about Google Analytics custom reports? Just give us a call and we can set you up in no time.

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