Google Analytics remains the most popular and most powerful tool for site traffic and keyword analysis. It provides statistics about your top performing keywords, your most popular landing pages, and of course the upward or downward swing of your daily unique visitor count. Unless you keep a close eye on your site statistics, you’re going to miss out on opportunities to capitalize on any sudden changes in visitor behavior.
Sandra offered some great resources to find Google Analytics tips, but I thought it might be useful to offer a few tips right here on MUO as well. I recently covered TrakkBoard, a useful app that lets you monitor several account profiles at once, but there are also useful features within Google Analytics itself that you’ll want to configure for your own specific needs.
Today, I’d like to show how you can generate scheduled Google Analytics email reports and alerts for your statistics. Furthermore, if you generate these reports for a client or for your boss, I’ll also show you how to integrate that report into an automated Gmail template that will take you a fraction of the time to create than it would if you did it by hand, sifting through Google Analytics yourself.
Setting Up Google Analytics Email Reports
In this example, we’re going to look at two metrics – the number of daily unique visitors you receive and your top performing keywords. In this hypothetical situation, you want to receive a report every week that details historic data up to today. To get started, you’ll need to create a custom report, which you can do from your Google Analytics dashboard, clicking on Custom Reports.
Once you have a few going, you’ll see your custom reports listed in the right pane. I have a few already, but I’m going to step through the process of creating a new one below. In the upper right part of this window, click on “Create new custom report.”
In the report editor, you can pick and choose which dimensions and metrics you want to report on. For unique visitors and top performing articles, just move Page Title into the first dimension area and then Unique Visitors for a metric. If you would like to add other metrics about each page that you’d like to see included in the report, this is the place to add them. Just click “Save Report” and your custom report is ready to go!
Configuring Email Notifications In Google Analytics
Once you’ve got your report set up, it’s time to configure the email notifications and how often you’d like the report to be generated.
Once you’re done configuring your report display, go back to the report view and then click on the “Email” button at the top of the chart display.
Now, every week (or whatever interval you’ve set for the report), Google Analytics will run the report and send it off to your email in whatever format you set (PDF, XML, CSV or TSV).
Depending on the format you select, your data will look different. If you want to have the closest representation of the Analytics report (which most managers will like to see), then select the PDF format. The attachment will look like this.
In these cases, you can just configure your email filters to route the reports to your manager (see below). In other cases where you need to sift through and manipulate the numbers, it’s best to stick with other formats like CSV.
Setting Up Email Alerts
Another useful feature in Analytics that can be very helpful with automating your statistical analysis is the Email Alerting feature. This feature will email you any time your traffic (or other metric you specify) changes significantly. To set them up, from your dashboard, click on “Intelligence” under the Customizations section.
These alerts are extremely flexible, letting you monitor the most important metrics for your site – the flexibility of this feature is really only limited by how you want to use it. Monitoring traffic is one thing, but consider monitoring things like the average time a visitor spends on the site, revenue levels or the number of visitors from a particular city or region of the world.
Alerts for sudden increases in traffic can also help you identify particular articles or webpages on your site that triggered some buzz, which you can try to capitalize on to get visitors to visit other areas of your site, or turn that increased visitor rate into higher conversions. Whatever your goal, email notifications will help you avoid missing the boat.
Set Up A Gmail Filter To Re-Route Your Google Analytics Email Reports
Want to save even more time and completely automate the process? Just configure your email client filter to route the reports to your manager or clients. In Gmail, the process is easy enough. Your Analytics reports all have a subject that starts with “Analytics” and then your Google Analytics profile name. So in my case, FreeWriterCenter has a subject line of “Analytics freewritingcenter.com.”
The first step is to go into Gmail and click on “create filter” to set up your new filter to handle these incoming Analytics reports.
If you don’t already know, you can specify only the first section of the subject line for these emails by making use of the “*” wildcard character.
Finally, configure the incoming report emails to go directly to the email address (or addresses) for your clients or your boss. Also, set the incoming reports to immediately archive so they don’t clog up your inbox. If you want to configure the report emails to include comments – you would do so when you set up the scheduled emails, where there is a field for “Description” which will form the body of the forwarded emails.
By automating the distribution of your Google Analytics data, you’ll be sure never to forget to examine your site statistics again, and you’ll always remember to submit your weekly or monthly analysis about site traffic and other stats. The information won’t do anyone any good just sitting in Google Analytics, so configure your email notifications today and start making use of that information!
Do you use Analytics email notifications to automate your reporting or for any other perpose? Share your own ideas in the comments section below.