How to Create a Custom Report in Google Analytics

MoreVisibility - July 27, 2011

Earlier this year, we wrote about how to measure visitors using Custom Reporting. The post was published exactly seven months ago today, but as you may be aware, a lot has happened since then!

Today’s blog post is all about creating a Custom Report within the new Google Analytics platform. Keep in mind that the new Google Analytics platform is still in Beta mode, which means that slight changes and modifications may be implemented before the Beta label is taken off.

To get started, log-in to your Google Analytics account and find the Custom Reports tab on the top of the screen. Click on it, and then click on + New Custom Report to get started (see figure below):


On the next screen with a heading of Create Custom Report, you should see four distinct sections, from top to bottom:

1. General Information

All that you need to do here is give your Custom Report a name, as I’ve done in this screen-shot:


You may want to come up with some type of naming convention if you’re planning on creating more than one Custom Report (Something like “Joe’s Reports – Goals and Ecommerce“).

2. Report Content

The way that Google Analytics Custom Reports work is by organizing your desired data within tabs. Each Custom Report can have up to five tabs, but you must have at least one tab. Within each tab, you can have one or more metric groups (more on metric groups in just a little bit).

You can give each tab a name and add a report tab here:


Notice in the above screen-shot that you can select a Type. Custom Reports with Google Analytics have two types: Explorer and Flat Table.

An Explorer Custom Report will structure your report to look like one of the standard Google Analytics reports, where you see metric groups (statistics) and a trending graph across the top of the report, and a table with dimensions and metrics below it. With the Explorer report type, you can create multiple metric groups and up to five dimensions:


A Flat Table Custom Report will structure your report to look like a spreadsheet. There are no metric groups with Flat Table reports, but you can choose up twenty-five individual metrics and up to two dimensions, which makes it perfect for exporting and integrating with a CRM system or an in-house database:


3. Filters

With Custom Reports in Google Analytics, you have the option to filter your reports data to exclude or only include certain criteria. This is the equivalent of applying an Advanced Segment within your Custom Report automatically. For example, if you wanted your Custom Report to only show you traffic from visitors who originated from the United States, you would apply a filter that looks like this:


4. Profiles

At the bottom of the Custom Report creation screen, you’re provided the option to apply your Custom Report to other profiles that you have access to. Click on the drop-down menu labeled None to view the profiles to which you have access to apply your Custom Report:


Don’t forget to hit Save to create your Custom Report!

Editing, Sharing and Deleting your Custom Report

When you hit Save, you will be taken to the report that you created. On the left navigation menu, you can click on the Overview report to view a listing of all saved Custom Reports, with options to edit (go back to the Custom Report Creation screen), share (copying an encoded URL that you can email or instant-message to someone) or delete (wiping the slate clean and starting from scratch).


Migrating Custom Reports from the old Google Analytics to the new Google Analytics

Finally, you can import Custom Reports that you’ve created in the old Google Analytics platform. There is a Migrate button directly underneath the listing of your saved Custom Reports:


Walking through the Custom Report creation steps is only the first phase of this effort. What are you going to do with your Custom Report? What insights, analysis, and decisions will you make from the Custom Report that you’ve created? How will use this Custom Report’s data to improve your website and your marketing campaigns? These are the questions that you should ask yourself to truly take advantage of this robust feature of Google Analytics.

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