How a Google Analytics Dashboard Focuses Your Energy and Saves Time

How a Google Analytics Dashboard Focuses Your Energy and Saves Time

How a Google Analytics Dashboard Focuses Your Energy and Saves Time

Featured Image: StockSnap via Pixabay.

Update 6/8/2016

Thank you Google Analytics for recommending this blog post by sharing it on Twitter! We hope you share it too!


Dashboards are a common feature in software platforms now – just like a driver who wants to be able to glance at the speedometer to know how fast they’re going, similarly, software users want a quick top-level view of what’s happening. Dashboards are particularly useful for cutting right to the heart of the large volume of data available to you via Google Analytics. Google Analytics can be an essential tool for measuring how effective your website is at engaging visitors, providing information about your issue, or enabling them to take action on the issues they care about. Strangely, though, your Google Analytics dashboards are not the first thing you see when you log into your Google Analytics account, nor do you want to just use the default dashboards, which are often too generic to be useful. Taking a few minutes to configure Google Analytics dashboards to raise up the most relevant insights will enable you to zero in on your key metrics faster. Using a customized dashboard will also help you to standardize your tracking and reporting, so that Google is doing the work instead of you and your staff.

Three starter dashboards

Any of the metrics that are part of tracking goals for your site can be condensed into a dashboard. However, Google does limit the number of “widgets” on any single dashboard to twelve. Here are a few dashboards we routinely use and recommend as a standard:

    • Baseline Dashboard – top level numbers for each of the three types of baseline data (Users, Acquisition and Behavior)


  • Mobile Dashboard – top level data to show variations between mobile and desktop users





You can use the hyperlinks above to add these dashboard configurations to any view in Google Analytics. Once they are in your view, you can adjust the overall appearance or edit specific widgets however you wish (and share dashboard with others in turn). I generally recommend that clients always have Goals Dashboard also – at-a-glance information about your progress towards the conversion goals of your website. Unfortunately, it’s not that useful to share the configuration of an existing goals dashboard, since it is best to set up your goals dashboards based on your site’s specific goals configuration.

Let your Google Analytics dashboards come to you

You can set up periodic emails of your dashboards to yourself or to any colleague you wish. Although the PDF reports aren’t so visually attractive, by looking at them regularly you’ll have a sense of where some of your key performance indicators regularly are at, and be able to easily see spikes (or dips). The PDF versions of dashboards are particularly unattractive on a phone screen. Unfortunately, configuring reports on the Analytics app is a much more tedious process than setting up dashboards. So, dashboard reviews may be a task that you reserve time for when you’re on a computer or tablet.

Useful points to remember about Google Analytics dashboards

Dashboards are configured on the View level. So if you have multiple views for a property, you’ll want to have well-labeled dashboards specific to each view. Dashboards are always generated dynamically. This means that minor changes in your segments (or in large accounts, in your sampling) can result in different metrics. For that reason, whenever you start using a particular metric to propose a change in your website, or even to start an internal conversation about your metrics, grab a PDF of the dashboard where you saw the metric. And what if you are so busy that you want to take this same dashboard approach to not only your website analytics, but to other online platforms as well? And look at your whole online ecosystem so that you can put it all in context? In that case, you’ll want a dashboard that combines Google Analytics data with key metrics for other platforms. This is a need that many professionals need, so luckily, there’s a slew of products to do that. I’m most partial to Cyfe, which has robust Google Analytics reporting capabilities and allows connecting to many other platforms. If you want to know more about Google Analytics dashboards or how to combine them with other metrics using Cyfe, reach out to us via our Contact Form. I love talking about analytics and how they can show your progress towards reaching your organization’s goals!    

Take a look at these related posts:

Five Steps to Increase Your Organization’s Digital Security (and your own!)

Five Steps to Increase Your Organization’s Digital Security (and your own!)

Read More

Get Off the Nonprofit Rollercoaster, Part 3: Three Steps to a Better Web Consulting Partnership

Get Off the Nonprofit Rollercoaster, Part 3: Three Steps to a Better Web Consulting Partnership

Read More

Let us know how we can help you!

Contact Us Today

Fission has a proven track record helping leading nonprofits, foundations and social enterprises use innovation more effectively to create social change around the world.

©2017 Fission Strategy

  • Washington DC
  • San Francisco
  • New York City
  • Seattle
  • Los Angeles

World-Class Marketing Tips for the Good Guys

Do more good with free digital campaign tips designed for nonprofits and social enterprises.