Ask Yourself This One Question to Create Better Google Analytics Graphs

By Chris Tauber

December 11, 2014

shutterstock_217536319Google Analytics does a good job of basic data visualization, but sometimes falls short when you need to dive deeper.

If you use Google Analytics, you may have realized by now that there are more than 100 graphs for you to choose from: Need a line chart of the monthly trends in your ecommerce revenue? Check. PDP page views for a specific timeframe? Done. Conversion funnel analysis? Yes.

You can actually find any of these graphs, copy them and paste them into a PowerPoint slide in less than 15 minutes.

The problem, though, is that you might not actually be revealing any actionable insights. And the danger, there, is obvious: you might be making an obvious point instead of an insightful one.

One solution is to partner with a data visualization agency, like Data for Decks, to help you. But that’s not always practical. So here’s a way to stick with your copy-and-paste approach while delivering more insightful data points:

  • Take one minute to ask yourself: “What type of information would help inform the business decision at hand?” Then, find that graph.

Since we’re officially knee-deep in the holiday season now, let’s assume you’re presenting to the marketing team on how to best take advantage of the ecommerce revenue spike associated with Cyber Monday.

You deal with revenue tracking all the time, so you go into Google Analytics, click through Conversions/Ecommerce/Overview, set the metric to Revenue, and grab the graph. It takes you 10 minutes to copy and paste the chart into the slide. Looks good, right?

before_black_friday_w_banner (1)

Not really.

You don’t need to show that revenue is going to spike on Cyber Monday. That’s painfully obvious. What would be helpful is finding the data that would help you boost revenue even more.

On a big revenue day, timing is everything: like when are your visitors most likely to buy?

Your marketing colleagues are likely running promotional messages through e-mail campaigns and social media. If they know what time of day your visitors are most likely to convert, they’d be able to better plan when they would run their promotional messages.

In this Google Analytics example, it only takes a few more seconds to pull that information: just set the timeframe to one day and the time parameter to “Hourly.” Copy and paste that graph into your slide. Then, take another minute to pull the same graph for a typical day, and publish that graph in the same slide:

after_black_friday_w_banner (1)

The resulting slide now offers you and your team some valuable insight. Unlike a typical day when revenue spikes in the afternoon, on Black Friday, your visitors are waking up ready to buy. Your promotional efforts need to align to that consumer behavior. If they do, you’ll have a better chance of increasing your revenue even more.

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