For Purpose-Specific Dashboards, Import from the Solutions Gallery

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You can select specialized dashboard templates from the Solutions Gallery.

Note from Eric: apologies for the long hiatus. Regular posting schedule resumes today.

When you’re creating a new dashboard, you have three options:

• blank dashboard

• standard template

• specialized dashboard from the Solutions Gallery

The first two options are perfectly suitable in many cases, but if you need a dashboard that is focused on
a specific industry or marketing/analytics function, the Solutions Gallery is a great place to start.

When you’re creating the new dashboard, click Import from Gallery the many great options that other community members have contributed.

Keep in mind that you’re only importing the dashboard configuration and that your own data will populate the template. You can customize the dashboard as you like, and if you find that the dashboard doesn’t suit your purposes, you can delete it.

Don’t reinvent the wheel for each dashboard that you need – take advantage of the templates in the Solutions Gallery.

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Share Segment, Dashboard, Goal, and Custom Report Configurations – Even With Yourself

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You can access Share Assets from the view admin.

In Google Analytics, goals, custom reports, and dashboards are created at the view level. If you want to use that same asset in another view, property, or account – or if you want to share with other Google Analytics users – you can forward a link from the Share Assets screen, accessed from the view admin.

Segments are somewhat different in that they’re accessible in all views within the same Google Analytics account, so you’d share a segment with a different GA user, or potentially with yourself if you happen to maintain GA accounts under different logins.

When you share any asset in this way, you’re not sharing any data, but rather a link that another Google Analytics user can click and then apply to their own views. For example, the link below shares a simple custom report for sessions and bounce rate by referrer, but not any of your actual referral data.

https://www.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=aw9Z-KwFSFW1PR0BfjmJ0g

This same sharing mechanism allows you to import predefined bundles of segments, dashboards, and custom reports, which you can access by clicking Import from Gallery in the Share Assets screen.

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Email Dashboards Monthly to Remind Colleagues, Managers, and Clients about Analytics

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Apart from the specific data points, emailed dashboards can be valuable as basic reminders.

Apart from the virtually endless combination of metrics and filters that you can configure into your dashboards, emailed dashboards can serve the very basic purpose of reminding executives, managers, colleagues, and clients that Google Analytics data is being collected and is available for further analysis at any time.

If your dashboard includes the most relevant metrics for your recipients, it is likely that they will periodically ask you to drill down into the data in ways that you, as the analyst, may not have thought of on your own. In short, they can help you ask the right questions for achieving actionable insights.

You can also email individual reports, but the inherent advantage of the dashboard is the variety of metrics it can present.

In any case, make sure to use the email feature in Google Analytics to keep your stakeholders engaged so they can help you focus your analysis on meaningful outcomes.

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Advanced Segments Apply to Emailed Dashboards and Reports

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Advanced segments remain applied in dashboards and reports emailed as attachments.

You do not have to sacrifice any advanced segments, whether built-in or your own, when you email dashboards and other reports as attachments.

If you have an advanced segment such as “Google Organic Nonbranded” applied to a report and email that report as a PDF attachment, the advanced segment remains applied, as the PDF indicates.

For other file formats, such as CSV, the advanced segment does remain applied even though the output data may not be labeled to indicate this.

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Real-Time Widgets Available for Dashboards (But They Don’t Work When Emailed)

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Google Analytics now provides four types of real-time widgets for dashboards:

The following four types of Real-Time widgets are now available for your Google Analytics dashboards:

• Counter

• Timeline

• Geomap

• Table

The Real-Time widgets can be an interesting addition to your dashboards. However, since many of us configure our dashboards for periodic delivery by email, it’s important to be aware that the Real-Time widgets don’t appear as such in the emailed dashboard PDFs. Instead, they’re translated to static equivalents. A Real-Time Active Visitors widget, for example, becomes a regular Visits timeline widget in the PDF.

Perhaps the Google Analytics team will eventually incorporate Real-Time capabilities into the emailed dashboard PDFs. For now, we can enjoy Real-Time widgets while viewing the dashboards directly within Google Analytics.

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Dashboard Widget Filter and Advanced Segment Based on Same Page Value Operate Differently

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A dashboard widget filter operates differently from an advanced segment based on the same page value.

A Page filter applied to a Google Analytics dashboard has the expected effect: it includes or excludes pages that match the specified criteria.

This is not a problem in itself, but it’s important to be aware that an advanced segment based on the same page value would not have the same effect.

For instance, an advanced segment based on “logged-in.php” would include all pages viewed during the same visit as logged-in.php, whereas a widget filter would include only that page itself.

Each of these two options has its advantages and disadvanges, but it’s important overall to remember that they have very different effects on your data display.

For a related post, see Use Advanced Segments Instead of Dashboard Widget Filters Based on Page.

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Email Reports or Dashboards Monthly to Maintain Analytics Awareness

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You can email reports and dashboards monthly or at another interval.

You can send out a dashboard or a report by email one time only or at regularly scheduled intervals: daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

In many cases, monthly is a suitable interval, especially for managers, executives, and any colleagues who do not need to closely review analytics very frequently but who should stay aware of the Google Analytics tracking data that is available.

In this way, an email report can serve not only to disseminate data, but also to raise consciousness and generate conversations that could lead to further analysis, insight, and action.

Please also see a related post on sharing dashboard configurations with other users.

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Share Dashboards with Other Users and Profiles

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Click the Share button on the dashboard to share with other users and other profiles in your own account.

When you create a dashboard in Google Analytics, it appears only in the profile within which you created it, and only for you.

If you want to share this dashboard with another user, click Share > Share Template Link, and forward the provided URL to that user. The other user, after clicking the link, will be prompted to select the profile to which the dashboard should be copied.

Similarly, you can paste the link directly into your own browser to copy the dashboard into another of your own profiles.

Note that no data is copied in the process, only the configuration of widgets on the dashboard. To forward actual dashboard data, on a repeated schedule or one time only, click the Email button instead.

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Add a Custom Page Value Widget to Your Dashboard

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You can add a custom Page Value widget to your dashboard.

After reading the recent post on the very important Page Value metric, you might want to highlight Page Value by adding it to your Google Analytics dashboard.

However, if you click Add to Dashboard in the Page report – where the Page Value metric appears – the only metrics available are Pageviews and Unique Pageview.

To add Page Value to your dashboard, you can click Add Widget directly in the dashboard, select Table format, then select Page Value as a metric (along with other relevant metrics such as Pageviews) and Page as the dimension.

With Page Value as the first metrics column, your table will sort by default with the greatest page value at the top, and you’ll easily be able to see which pages are really pulling the most weight on your site.

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Use Advanced Segments Instead of Dashboard Widget Filters Based on Page

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A Page filter in a dashboard widget and an advanced filter based on Page do not do have the same effect.

Google Analytics recently announced nine interface changes. Many of these are primarily cosmetic, impacting navigation and layout, but at least one change is a very significant enhancement for reporting: the availability of advanced segments in dashboards.

Up till now, if you wanted to emulate advanced segments capabilities in a dashboard, you had to apply filters to individual widgets. Apart from the inconvenience and the maintenance overhead, at least one type of widget filter – the Page filter – worked quite differently from its very useful advanced segment counterpart.

For some strange reason, a Page filter in a dashboard widget worked basically like a Landing Page filter, and not, as you would expect, like an advanced segment based on Page.

With the welcome addition of advanced segments in dashboards, you can now avoid the Page filter within individual widgets. If you still opt instead to apply filters to individual widgets, you should probably steer clear of the widget-level Page filter nonetheless.

One small caveat: PDFs generated from the dashboard do seem to correctly reflect any advanced segments that you have applied while viewing the dashboard, but the name of the active advanced segments(s) do not appear in the PDF. As a workaround, you may want to include the segment name in the subject line (for email) or filename (for direct PDF export).

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