Almost all reports in analytics are displayed in the form of tables, that sometimes, unfortunately, do not convey enough information to be able to see actionable insights. However, there are other, more preferable ways to display your data in order to maximize its usability and the efficiency.
In this article, I will be explaining 5 ways to visualize your data in Google Analytics that can be easily used to turn numbers into actions.
Why not Use Google Data Studio?
As we all know, Google Data Studio is an awesome tool for visual reports. You might be wondering why I am still talking about GA reports when you already have Data Studio in replace.
Although, I am a big fan of Data Studio, sometimes, it just isn’t enough. When analytics itself is involved, we have to turn to Google Analytics, to accomplish what isn’t possible in The Google Data Studio.
For example, Data Studio does a pretty good job in showing you what is important to your business and give you an overview of the overall performance of your website. But when you are dealing with a critical issue like a sudden drop in bounce rate, data studio just wasn’t created to drill down that data.
5 Ways to Visualize Data in Google Analytics
Google Analytics offers five different visualizations to analyze your data in every report by default. The buttons to select these types are hidden away in the corner (see below). Let’s move on to learn more about each method and when is best to use them.
1. Tabular Reports
Tables in Google Analytics are selected as the default way to display data and is easy to understand at first glance. The first column displays a dimension and the rest shows the metrics.
On the top left of the table, you can see a list of primary dimensions. A primary dimension is what you see in the first column.
You can add a secondary dimension to this report as well. For example, you can add a secondary dimension as ‘source’ to see the traffic source. To add the secondary dimension, click on the secondary dimension drop-down and select from the list that appears.
The traffic source of each specific page is shown clearly, in the table above. Using the secondary dimensions, you can also go further, and into the spam traffic sources, if need be.
You can use a filter to view a specific page on your site. To do this, enter a specific keyword from the URL into the search box.
You can also use a regex expression to filter multiple pages, as well as, apply an advanced filter for including or excluding multiple pages using a regex.
The data displayed in the tabular format is easy to digest, and also, helps in seeing the overall performance of a dimension at a glance
Changing primary dimension, adding secondary dimension and filter options are available in all visualizations.
2. Pie Charts
Another useful way to analyze data in analytics are pie charts. Pie charts are easy to read and very direct in showing you your best-performing item.
The pie chart report only consists of a single metric which makes it easier to consume and digest. For example, if you want to see the bounce rate for each page on your website, you can select the option from the drop-down on the pie type report, and the resulting pie chart will show you the bounce rate for all your pages respectively in a single display.
Furthermore, to see which page resulted in a high exit rate, change the bounce rate drop-down to pageviews and contribution in total to %Exit.
You can further change the primary dimension, add a secondary dimension and even add a filter to reach your desired results.
Let’s look at the ‘All Pages’ section to understand how we can use the performance visualization for maximum benefit.
As shown in the picture above, the performance report displays the total percentage of pageviews for each URL. The first column shows the total number and the second column shows the percentage contribution of a page to the total.
You can use this report to get a feel of how well your pages are doing and what pages need some more work. Click on the drop-downs to change the metrics.
The fourth type of visualization is comparison which is very helpful to see how a metric is changing compared to the site average within a given date range.
If you want to see how bounce rate is changing for each specific page, this report will help. The image below shows how the bounce rate is changing for pages with most pageviews.
The negative sign with green color shows a decreasing bounce rate and the red color shows that it’s increasing.
5. Pivot Tables
The last type of visualization in analytics is the pivot table report. It can be used to quickly summarize data in the desired format and detect trends.
There are two pivot metrics you can select at a single time and also change the primary dimension.
Let’s say you want to see the performance of your online campaigns by each country.
To do this, first select the primary dimension as 'campaign'.
Select the pivot by dimension as 'country'.
Select the pivot metrics as 'unique pageviews', and 'bounce rate'.
The image above shows how each campaign is performing across different countries.
You can also add a secondary dimension like device category to see which device is mostly used in different countries.
With so many ways to analyze your data, it might get a little hard sometimes deciding which report to use, since all of them come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Some, may work better than others depending on the situation you are in. We hope our guide helps you figure out that there is life beyond tables in GA so next time you have to do a quick analysis you don't think getting data in excel is your only option.
If you are still having trouble understanding your data, you can always get in touch with us, we have several analytics experts that can help you achieve your desired goals.