Last week we talked about how goals in analytics are used in Multi-Channel Funnels to show you how referral sources can be sending value (including bookings), that doesn’t always show up in the standard analytics reports. This week we’ll take a different approach, and look at creating a Dashboard designed to give you, with only a quick glance, an easy way of comparing online directory listing performance.
From the start, we want to emphasize a word of caution – we are not suggesting that this dashboard will replace a more in-depth comparison of online directory performance, or that it should be used instead of the Multi-Channel Funnel approach from last week’s post. This dashboard is intended to provide a quick overview, so you can get a sense of relative performance. It should not be used for important decisions, but more as an easy way to “keep your finger on the pulse” of performance.
We had previously written about simplifying your Google Analytics usage by using dashboards. This time we’ll just create a straightforward dashboard to gather information about online directories for comparison on one screen.
If you aren’t interested in how it works, and just want to install it as a custom dashboard in your own GA setup, just be sure you’re logged in to GA, then click here to install it.
Whether you just click and install the directory performance dashboard, or you read through the discussion below, you’ll want to customize one line in each of the six widgets on the dashboard. See those notes below.
Create a New Dashboard
To create a new dashboard, click on Home, then under Dashboards, click +New Dashboard, select Blank Canvas, and give your dashboard a name, such as Paid Directories, or something similar.
We’ll add six widgets (you can skip some if you don’t think they are helpful to you, or add others, of course). The first will be a widget to show the total number of visits from paid directories.
Click Add Widget. The popup has Metric selected by default, and that is fine for our purposes. Where the blue entry says “Add a metric” click and select Visits. Next click Add a filter, and click the green Dimension link and select Source. Change the dropdown to Regular Expression, and paste in the following line (this is the part you’ll need to edit for your directory listings – it is shown on multiple lines to make it fit here, but should be all on one line in your widgets):
Every one of our widgets needs this filter, so they will only show statistics relating to the online directories whose performance we want to compare. The “pipe” character (“|”) means “OR” so the filter simply searches for each item in order. Using the list above the filter will first add all visitors where the source was bedandbreakfast.com, then all where the source includes bbonline, then iloveinns, etc. Be sure there is no pipe character at the beginning or end, but there should be one between each entry.
Note to those who just installed from the link above: The dashboard widgets use two special sources, “bbcom” and “ta” which are unique to my setup. You will have to change them to “bedandbreakfast.com” and “tripadvisor”.
If you don’t use one of the directories, take it out, but don’t leave two pipe characters in a row (like “||”). If you have other directories to include, add them (you don’t need the full domain name – just the part that makes them unique) separating them from the others with a pipe. Use the default name for the widget, or change it if you prefer, and Save the widget.
Visits by Source
The second widget will show us the number of visits by source. Add a new widget, and make this a Pie Chart. Set the blue metric to Visits and the green dimension to Source. Make sure the dropdown indicates it will show 6 slices. Add a filter on the Source, with a Regular Expression, just like the one above. Save the widget.
Visit Duration and Bounce Rate
Our third widget is a table, where the metric is Source, the first dimension is Avg. Visit Duration, and the second dimension is Bounce Rate. Create a filter on the Source with the same Regular Expression. Name it and Save it.
This widget will allow us to compare online directory listings and see how well visitors from each source engage with our site – how long they stay, or how many “bounce” (leave after viewing only one page).
Conversion Rates by Source
This will show us how each online directory listing compares for ecommerce conversions and other goal conversions. If you use Ecommerce, you can follow along. If not, you may want to consider implementing it (for more reasons than this dashboard!), but meanwhile, you can use other conversion dimensions for this widget.
Add another Table widget, with the metric as Source, and the first dimension Ecommerce Conversion Rate and the second dimension Goal Conversion Rate. Add the same filter Regular Expression, name and save the widget.
Transactions by Source
To see how our bookings compare by online directory listing (using only last click comparisons, of course), we’ll build a widget to measure transactions by source. This widget is a Pie Chart widget, with the blue metric being Transactions and the green dimension being Source. Add our standard Regular Expression filter, name and save the widget.
Visits and Transactions by Source
Our last widget will allow us to compare the number of visits and transactions by source. We’ll create a Table widget, where the metric is Source, and the dimensions are Visits and Transactions, respectively. Add our usual Regular Expression filter, and Save the widget.
Step back and admire your handiwork. You may want to re-order your widgets (just drag them where you want them). For example we put the Visits from Paid Listings first, as something of an overview, with the Visits by Source pie chart below it. In the center column, we have Duration and Bounce Rate by Source table on top, with the Ecommerce and Goal Conversion Rate table below. In the right column we have the Transactions by Source pie chart, with the Visits and Transactions by Source table below it.
Now you have a tool to give you quick insight for comparing the performance of online directory listings at a glance.