The Perfect Google Analytics Dashboard
Michael Wiegand Apr 5 2012
Building dashboards is a big to-do for any marketing professional. The temptation is to cram it full of juicy data and a novel worth of narrative explaining said data.
Well, you shouldn’t. Trust me. There is such a thing as the perfect dashboard. And I’ve already built it for you.
The Anatomy of the Perfect Dashboard
I get the skepticism, I really do. But hear me out.
A good dashboard should:
- Inform on business health quickly,
- Make time comparison easy,
- and Encourage deeper investigation.
To do this, you’ll need 5 key elements.
1. Bottom-Line First, Always
The amount of Revenue (or Leads) should be the first thing seen. Always.
All for-profit businesses are in this to make money.
2. Path to the Bottom-Line
Under your most important metric, show how you achieved that metric.
To do that, you’ll need to demonstrate:
- Customer Engagement
- Customer Acquisition & Retention
- Customer Volume
- Customer Conversion
The funnel above does exactly that. You know you made $394k in Revenue. But how did you get there? This funnel tells you how, precisely.
That Revenue was generated from:
- 411k Pageviews (Engagement)
- during 75k Visits (Acquisition & Retention)
- from 57k Visitors (Volume)
- leading to 2k Sales (Conversion)
3. Clearly Visualizing Growth
Beyond the key bottom-line metric, you also need a visual timeline to demonstrate growth (or lack thereof).
Aside from being the lone piece of eye-candy in the dashboard, it clearly helps you understand:
- How Days of the Week affect traffic and revenue
- How Weeks of the Month affect traffic and revenue,
- and how Months of the Year affect traffic and revenue.
Understand the timing and seasonality aspects of your business through this timeline.
You can also demonstrate growth in specific channels:
4. Show Detail Sparingly
This is where most people get in trouble with dashboards.
How much detail should I surface to the top?
Knowing which keywords and referrals are most vital to your site is nice, but this isn’t an FBI mission briefing, it’s a dashboard. Show just enough detail to encourage further investigation.
I’ve found 7 to be the magic number here.
A top 5 won’t change much from month-to-month. And a top 10 will lull you into thinking you have more of the big picture than you do.
7 splits the difference nicely: enough consistency to show important trends and enough variance to warrant deeper investigation.
5. A Brief Glimpse at Content
Discovering how good (or bad) your landing pages are can be very beneficial.
It’ll give you a better sense of how folks find you and how sticky the site’s core pages are once they arrive.
I like to exclude homepage here.
Download the Perfect Dashboard
Now that you know the rationale behind the dashboard, give it a shot!
Get the Perfect Dashboard Now:
Configuring the Perfect Dashboard
Despite the simplicity of design, there are a few housekeeping items to attend to when you first load these dashboards in your profile.
Here’s a short tutorial video on configuring the dashboard:
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In 15 years as a marketer, Michael's experience has run the gamut from design, development, direct mail, multivariate testing, print, and search. He now heads Portent's Analytics practice, overseeing everything from Google Tag Management, to CRM integration for closed-loop analytics, to solving ponderous digital marketing questions. Outside of work, he enjoys recording music, playing JRPGs and supporting Seattle Sounders FC. Read More