Photo credit: Alan O'Rourke via Visualhunt / CC BY
Sometimes, the default Dashboard is simply not enough. Google Analytics is an excellent tool to measure your success and reassess your marketing strategies, but it can be time-consuming. It is difficult to decide what is the most relevant information, what to track and what not.
Thankfully, custom dashboards can help you focus your attention on just the key dimensions and metrics you need, in order to detect problems and opportunities at a glance.
How to create a custom dashboard
Custom dashboards can contain up to 12 widgets each. This short guide will show you how to create your own custom dashboards and edit the ones you will find next in this article.
First, go to the view where you would like to include the dashboard. Then, select Reporting > Dashboards > +New Dashboard. Use a descriptive name to remember the kind of data for which you will be using it and select if you want to start from scratch or include some default widgets.
Click on +Add widget to open the widget editor. You will be able to choose between several different options to view your data. Choose according to your personal preferences to make the dashboard visual and easy to understand.
- Metrics display one single metric as a simple number.
- Timelines display up to two metrics over time.
- Geomaps display a metric’s location on an actual map.
- Tables display up to two metrics in tabular format.
- Pies display a metric in pie chart format.
- Bars display up to 2 dimensions in bar chart format.
Note: If you would like to include some real-time metrics to your dashboard, such as the current active users and pageviews, you can use these four kinds of widgets: counters, timelines, geomaps and tables.
You will be able to configure the widget’s dimensions, metrics and other options, like the date range. Look for the specific dimensions and metrics you want to see by scrolling or using the search bar.
Click on Add a filter to include and exclude certain information on your widget. These filters don’t work like the filters you use on whole Analytics' views of your site, which means you don’t have to worry about them altering your data permanently. They only work on that particular dashboard.
You can turn the title of a widget into a link in order to add shortcuts to your Analytics panel. Copy and paste the URL of your choice in the title field, or if you want to link to a report just start typing the name of said report; Analytics will complete the field.
You can always change your widget’s settings and edit it by clicking on the pencil icon on the top right corner.
f you would like to read more about how to link reports directly to the dashboard and other details, please go to the official Analytics FAQ.
12 Top recommended dashboards, ready to use
These are 13 of the highest recommended dashboards which have already been made by other fellow marketers for the rest of us to use, and shared on the Solutions Gallery of Google Analytics.
In order to install them, you can click on "Import" on the gallery page of each dashboard, select the view on which you want to use it, and select each custom dashboard, segment and report that you're interested in (in case there's more things available in the bundle apart from the custom dashboard).
You can do the same by going to the view, to Reporting > Dashboards > + New Dashboard > Import from Gallery.
1. Occam's Razor Awesomeness, by Avinash Kaushik. It's the top most popular dashboard in the Gallery. It includes the following segments: "Oligarchs", Loyal Visitors, Visits via search queries w/4 words, Blog comment submitters, Non-flirts - Potential Lovers, and All Social Media Visits. It also has some custom reports, such as Landing Pages Analysis, All Traffic Sources ABO, Internal Site Search Analysis, or Content Efficiency Analysis.
2. Content Analysis Dashboard, by Vagelis Varfis. This dashboard includes widgets to see how many pageviews you are receiving from different countries and cities, the average time spent on each page, unique pageviews, bounce rate, % of new visits... All at a glance.
3. Social Media Dashboard by Erik Wagner. The name says it all. You'll have widgets with information about the performance of your site on different social media platforms, in different countries, and if you have set goals there are two interesting widgets: "Social media goal completions" and "Goal completions and goal conversions rate".
4. SEO Dashboard, by Kevin Pike. It includes two widgets with metrics by landing page, and relevant information about the bounce rate and sessions of your keywords, organised in individual widgets based on the length of the query.
5. New Google Analytics User Starter Bundle, by the Google Analytics Team. A bundle of the must-have dashboards, custom reports and segments. It includes two dashboards, in fact: Site Performance Dashboard and Mobile Ecommerce Dashboard. The first one is great to know your popularity per country and the load time of your site. The second one will help you improve your mobile content and campaigns general.
6. E-Commerce SEO Dashboard, by Vagelis Varfis. This one will only be really useful once you set goals and it can measure your transactions. It's an e-commerce specific dashboard to get an in-depth analysis of your SEO. There's a widget with your top 10 most popular terms, and their value per session, and others to measure the transactions and revenue coming from different kinds of searches.
7. Acquisition Snapshot Dashboard by Loves Data.
A complete view of your inbound traffic. It filters visits by source, medium, campaign, organic and paid keywords, and referrals, including social.
Here's a link to the updated version: Acquisition Snapshot V2.
8. Engagement & Loyalty Dashboard, by Cemal Buyukgokcesu. It is actually two dashboards: the Traffic Growth Dashboard, and the Engagement & Loyalty Dashboard. You'll find out which are the most active days of the week, your most popular landing pages, your most engaging traffic sources, how many visitors are active on your page in real time, traffic sources, referring domains...
9. Ecommerce Dashboard, by Blast Analytics & Marketing. This is another dashboard highly focused on ecommerce and goals. It only makes sense to import it once you've set the value of your goals on Google Analytics, in order to track your revenue and your performance accross several dimensions.
10. Responsive Design, Mobile Phone and Tablet Dashboard by Andrew Faulkner. This dashboard will allow you to find possible issues with your responsive design. Among other useful information, it shows your performance accross different devices based on models and screen resolutions.
11. 70 Facts about visitors, by Jabarke1. This dashboard is quite simple, but it's very easy to check. It shows the type of devices your visitors are using, where they are from, and their browser and language preferences.
12. 610 Digital - GA Dashboards w/ Ecommerce Dashboards, by 610Digital. This is a very complete set of dashboards which also includes several segments and a custom report. The dashboards included are the following: "Ecommerce/Sales", "Mobile/Tablet Ecomm", "Traffic Overview Dashboard", "SEO Dashboard", "Social Media Dashboard" and "Tech: Site Performance Dashboard". So, you're getting almost everything you need with one single import. Still, some of the other dashboards recommended on this article are more complete, or include other useful widgets. For example, the information about keywords is not as organised as it is in dashboard number 4, and the SEO and Social Media dashboards don't include information about campaigns.