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  • Writer's pictureSasha Matviienko

How to Set up a Google Analytics Custom Dashboard in 5 Simple Steps

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

It’s true that Google Analytics is an amazing tool. Agreed, it's free and awesome. However, before you proceed to building a custom dashboard, we highly recommend ensuring your data is clean and collected properly. We often see businesses make wrong decisions because they are double-counting leads, don't exclude office traffic or can't attribute Leads and Sales properly. Before you dive into custom dashboards, I highly recommend checking if your data is clean and reliable. In case you need help, check out our Google Analytics Audit service here. Now, Google Analytics is an amazing tool. But it doesn’t mean that what it offers by default will always match your needs. You may want something more, or something different.

If that’s your case, there is a simple solution to your problems - custom google analytics dashboards.

Keep reading to learn how to create a custom dashboard in GA in 5 simple steps.

Building a Customized Dashboard

Example of a custom dashboard in Google Analytics showing revenue, and visits by channel.

A personalized view of your website’s analytics helps you understand the collected data better and focus only on what really matters to you. So, how do you get started? Follow these 5 steps.

  1. Log into your Google Analytics account and navigate to your view.

  2. Open Reports and select Customization.

  3. Choose Dashboards and select the red Create button.

  4. In the pop-up window that appears, choose one option: Blank Canvas (only a template, without widgets) or Starter Dashboard (a template and starter widgets)

  5. Name your dashboard and click on Create Dashboard to finish the steps and start building your dashboard.

If you really want to start from scratch, choose Blank Canvas. That’s the only way to ensure your dashboard only has the widgets you consider important for your analysis. You can start adding the desired widgets as soon as you’re finished with creating the dashboard.

Standard Widgets

When prompted to add a widget to your Blank Canvas, you’ll see different options in the pop-up. The first set of widgets are the standard ones. You can add one of the following:

  • Metric (a metric represented as a number)

  • Timeline (a metric represented over time)

  • Geomap (values of a metric over a selected region)

  • Table (one or two metrics of a specific dimension in tabular form)

  • Pie (a metric grouped by a dimension, laid out as a pie chart)

  • Bar (two dimensions of a metric, displayed as a bar chart)

Real-Time Widgets

Similar to the Real Time View, real time widgets in custom dashboard, allow you what is going on on your web site right here and now. Here is a couple examples:

  • Counter (number of active users)

  • Timeline (pageviews in the past 30 to 60 minutes)

  • Geomap (locations where the actives users are coming from)

  • Table (active users displayed against no more than three dimensions)

When you’ve picked your widgets, select what you want them to show. For example, pageviews. Below that, choose how you want the data to be grouped - by source/medium, location, etc. You can further customize the widget by adding a filter.

Make sure that every widget is given a proper name, especially if you’re going to work with another person in the same dashboard. That’ll help avoid confusion.

Dashboard Layout

Not happy with the way your widgets appear?

To see different layout options, select the Customize Dashboard button in the upper-right corner of the window. You will see how widgets can be arranged on your dashboard. Choose a layout that suits you best and you’re good to go.

Taylor Google Analytics to Your Needs

What do a local online shop and a content marketing agency have in common?

They both need to track their website performance, but it’s unlikely they’ll track the same metrics.

Luckily, with Google Analytics, you can easily get rid of the metrics and widgets that would only cause confusion and waste your time. Customize your dashboard to get the most out of Google Analytics.

Or checkout Capabilities available in Google Data Studio. My by far favourite data visualization tool with a native integration with Google Analytics, Google Ads and more!

Sasha Matviienko is an Analytics & SEO Consultant in Analytics & Digital Marketing consultant, founder of growth360. Sasha has 10 years of Digital Marketing experience from Paid Search, SEO and Display to advanced Data Analytics and Conversion Optimization experience working with clients of all shapes and sizes from small local businesses to Fortune 100 brands.

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