How to Analyse your Website Traffic with Google Analytics Custom Reports

Every blog you write, every landing page you publish, every campaign you run, every social media post you make – aims at one thing.  –

Increasing visits to your website. 

You expect people to visit your website, understand what you offer, get impressed by your offer, and eventually buy it. But how do you know if your marketing efforts are leading to this?

Website Analytics Tool.

Every business will(must) have an analytics tool that tracks website traffic and conversions. These metrics will give you an idea of how your marketing campaigns are performing. However, mere traffic and conversion metrics won’t tell you the entire story. Website traffic, traffic sources, and conversions are fundamental metrics. There are plenty of other metrics you need to track to thoroughly understand your visitor behavior and truly measure your website performance.

So, what are the key website metrics?

key website metrics


If you try to find answers to these questions and track them regularly, you’ll drive plenty of insights on how your website is performing and how to optimize it. I’ll discuss how to track these metrics using Google Analytics, knowing how overwhelming Google analytics can get.

But before we get into the metrics and reports of Google Analytics, let’s do a quick fact check! If your Google Analytics account is not configured properly, you might be looking at the wrong numbers to begin with. That’s even more dangerous than not tracking at all. So, follow this checklist to see if you’re capturing the right data.

Google Analytics Health Check  

1.Tracking Code Check

It all starts with the tracking code. Google Analytics requires to place its tracking code on your website to track the data. Where and how you place this code is critical.

Make sure you haven’t placed this code in multiple places or in the wrong place. Verify your Google Tag Manager implementation. Most importantly, ensure that Google Analytics ‘Universal’ Code is being delivered through Google Tag Manager. Do a quick check with the help of this Google support document.

2.Property Settings Check

Make sure all the attributes in your property settings are right. From default URL to user analysis, check everything once with the help of this support doc.

3.View Settings Check 

Here’s where you set up the time zone, country, currency, and more importantly, the URLs you want to exclude to filter out data from bots and internal IP addresses. Make sure every field is keyed in properly. You can find the right way to do this in this link.

4.Data Check 

Despite doing all of the above correctly, your metrics can still go wrong. Make sure all your paid and referral channels are tagged properly. Check out this link for more details.

5.GDPR Check 

Google has the right to delete your entire account if they find any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in your properties or views. Ensure no PII like emails, phone numbers, etc., are sent to your Google Analytics account. Learn all about this here.

After a thorough Google Analytics audit of your account, you’re now ready to crunch some numbers. Google Analytics comes with numerous default metrics and reports. Chances are that you’re probably only checking half of them. Google Analytics also lets you create custom reports.

Seems complicated? Don’t worry. Let’s go step by step.

First things first. Let’s discuss the standard metrics and reports available in Google Analytics.

Previously, we discussed the key website metrics like user persona, acquisition, user behavior, and conversions. Google Analytics has classified its metrics and reports broadly in this fashion. Once you understand how this classification works, you’ll find it easier to navigate through Google Analytics and find what you want.

So, here’s how Google Analytics classification works:

Google Analytics classification

(Image Source)

Each of these sections has sub-sections and segmenting options. Depending upon the data you’re looking for, select the section and navigate accordingly. For example, if you want to know the source of your traffic, from the above table, you know that this metric would be available under the ‘Acquisition’ section. Because with the source of your traffic, you trying to understand where your customers are coming from.

Likewise, all the reports are broadly categorized in these 5 sections. In each of these 5 sections, you can further find different reports. Standard metrics and reports are quite simple and self-explanatory. You can easily figure out where to find them and how to use these reports with the help of this document.

Apart from this, you can also change certain metrics in your standard reports as well. For example, you change all the elements marked in the below image. From date range, type of view to adding a secondary dimension, you can customize the view.

GDPR Check 2

(Image Source)

Still, the standard reports provided by google analytics only gives you basic metrics and data. There are still plenty of hidden insights as well. How do you discover these powerful insights that are hidden in your GA account?

Custom Reports. 

Custom reports can help you pull up different insights from different segments in one single report. For example, your traffic spread across the world is available under ‘Audience’, whereas the source of the traffic is available under ‘Acquisition’. Now, what if you want to know the source/medium of the traffic in each geolocation? After all, what works in the USA might not work in Canada. Right? The answer is custom reports.

So, try and play around a little, and you’ll be pleased with the insights you can pull up. But still. It’s all very basic. Custom reports go much beyond this.

How to create a basic custom report in Google Analytics 

Creating a custom report is pretty simple and self-explanatory. Go to the ‘Custom Report’ section on the top left corner of your Google Analytics account.  You can also create one from the ‘Reports’ section.

custom report in Google Analytics

Once you start creating your custom report, you are presented with plenty of options. Based on the data you need, you mix and match the metrics and dimensions of your custom reports. But first, let’s take a look at the different options you have while creating a custom report in Google Analytics.

This is how your custom report looks like.

custom report in Google Analytics 2

Report Name: Self-explanatory, isn’t it? Just name your report.

Report Tabs: These are multiple reports within a custom report. Example: You can split your reports into multiple segments based on geographical location, age, device and have all of these reports on different segments in one single place.

Report Type: If you want a trends chart, select the ‘Explorer’ tab. Choose the ‘Flat table’ for plain table view and ‘Map overlay’ for reports based on the geographical location. Use ‘Custom Funnels’ if you’re tracking customer journey or behavior. Example, homepage to purchase  – stage-by conversions.

Here’s how a custom funnel looks like:

Report type - custom funnel

Metrics and dimensions

Google Analytics reports have a set of rows and columns. The rows are Dimensions and the columns are Metrics. Read more about it here.

Metrics and dimensions

Filters and views

You can also make use of filters if you want to restrict your report to a particular segment. It could be based on devices, geo locations, and so on. A ‘Views’ option is applicable if you have multiple accounts.

After you select all of these attributes and click ‘Save’, you’ll be able to see your custom report with all the metrics and dimensions you wanted. It’s that simple.

Top 5 Google Analytics custom reports with actionable insights 

Now, let’s see the most useful custom reports that’ll give you powerful insights to help you drive more traffic and conversions to your website.

Top 5 Google Analytics Custom Reports:

  1. Website Traffic (Overview) 
  2. Organic Traffic 
  3. Paid Traffic 
  4. Social 
  5. Acquisition 

1. Website Traffic (Overview): 

Track Visits by Hour of the Day (Hourly), Day of the Week, or the Date of the Month (Daily)

Website Traffic (Overview)

How is this helpful? 

  1. Know the peak hours of engagement for any given date range and also the day of the week that brings maximum conversions.
  2. Strategize Adword campaigns on these times and days to maximize your return on investment.
  3. Schedule your social media posts at these times for better engagement.

How to create this custom report:

How to create custom report

This report is created by Rattan | FIRST Digital NZ, and you can import it here.


2. Organic Traffic 

SEO Insights for Google Organic (not provided)

Organic Traffic

How is this helpful? 

  1. Find out the landing pages that drive maximum organic traffic.
  2. Find (Not Provided) keywords that form a large chunk of your organic traffic. This report shows you the landing pages to which these unknown organic keywords are leading to.
  3. See landing pages along with their page titles for SEO optimization.

What are ‘(not provided)’ keywords? 

When you see the default organic search traffic report, you’ll notice that most of the traffic comes from (Not Provided) keywords. Google chose not to reveal these keywords to protect the privacy of Google users. However, there are other ways around it. You can either pull up the landing pages to which the organic traffic is directed or use Google search console to pull these keywords.

What are ‘(not provided)’ keywords

How to create this report:

What are ‘(not provided)’ keywords 2

This report is created by Loves Data and you can directly import it here.


3.Paid Traffic 

PPC Keyword/Matched Query Report

Paid Traffic

How is this report useful? 

  1. Find out if your user queries are matching with your ads.
  2. Optimize your ads based on Match Type (Broad, Phrase or Exact) to drive more conversions
  3. Make your ads more relevant to your user search queries.

How to create this report:

Paid Traffic 2

This report is created by Justin Cutroni and you can import it here 


4. Social

Traffic Acquisition from Social Media


How is this report helpful?

  1. Get the entire break-down of your social media traffic.
  2. Analyze different metrics like sessions, users, bounce rate and goal completions for all your social media channels in a single report.
  3. Get a trends chart to track engagement for a given time period.

How to create this report:  

Social 2

This report is created by Vagelis Varfis | Nudge Digital and you can import it here.

5. Acquisition 

Visitor Acquisition Efficiency Analysis


How is this helpful? 

  1. Know which of the acquisition channels bring maximum conversions.
  2. Get per session goal value to know which of the acquisition channels have profitable engagement.
  3. Analyze efficiency for all of your acquisition channels.

How to create this report: 

Acquisition 2

This Report is created by Avinash Kousik and you can import it here.

That was our top 5 custom reports that we think would help you gauge your website performance better. Here are some quick pointers on what we discussed in this blog:

  1. Measuring and tracking website performance is vital.
  2. Make sure your Google Analytics account is capturing the right data (Google analytics audit and health check)
  3. Make the best use of standard metrics and reports in Google Analytics.
  4. How to create a custom report in Google analytics?
  5. Top 5 custom reports that help to gauge your website performance better.

Apart from all of this, Google Analytics has an extensive gallery where you can find plenty of custom reports, dashboards, and segments from which you can directly import. Else, if you have created an awesome custom report that you think might be super helpful?