Marketing Strategy

How to Easily Create Custom Reports in Google Analytics

July 1, 2020

A note from Digistorm: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has since been updated to include more valuable content.

The data that’s collected and displayed by Google Analytics can be invaluable to your school when it comes to managing your website and school app. To ensure that your data is working for you, it’s important that someone from your team is regularly jumping in to analyze this data, and are reporting back on areas that are working or might be in need of a little improvement.

We know that poring over reports can be time-consuming, so it’s key that you know how to create custom reports in Google Analytics to analyze your data more efficiently. Want to know more? Then keep reading to learn how to create and save custom report templates that provide you will all the information you’re after.  

Before getting started with the below steps, log into your school’s Google Analytics account. If you would like to try creating reports on account that is not connected to your school’s account, head over to the  Google Merchandise Store demo account. 


Creating your custom report

Now that you’ve logged into your Google Analytics account you should see a menu on the left-hand side of the screen. Locate and select the ‘Customization’ tab under the menu and then select ‘Custom Reports’ from this section. 


Custom Report Tab

Source: Google Analytics for the Google Merchandise Store


As you enter custom reports click the ‘+New Custom Report’ button. 


Create New Custom Report

Source: Google Analytics for the Google Merchandise Store


In the new custom report section, you’re able to name the custom report and organize its content. The report content includes:

  •  The report tab name
  • The tab type
  •  Filter options
  • Viewer options

Every report must have at least one tab, however, you can choose to add more if you would like. For each tab that you create, you’ll need to choose a report type and select from either Explorer, Flat table, or Map Overlay. The report type will depend on what particular data you would like to analyze. The Explorer report type is the most common option as it is appropriate for basic reporting. It provides you with a line graph and an easy to read data table for your analytics. If you would like to display your data in different rows within one table, a flat table type is the best option and if you are seeking data on countries and regions you should use the map overlay type, where traffic and engagement can be easily tracked on a world or country-based map. 


Naming Your Custom Report

Source: Google Analytics for the Google Merchandise Store


Let’s use an example to create a custom report that your school would use regularly.  Say you want to know which sources mobile sessions are coming from using the “Explorer” tab type. First, we will set our Metric Group as sessions (what action we wish to measure), then we will set our Dimension Drilldowns to Medium and Source/Medium (this is the dimension that we wish the sessions to be measured against) and lastly we can set our filter to Device Category, with ‘mobile’ typed into the text box. Once this is complete, click ‘Save’.


Mobile Sessions Custom Report

Source: Google Analytics for the Google Merchandise Store


The custom report will then generate a graph and a table, which can be seen below. It will show the source medium and how many mobile sessions come from each specific medium. From this information, you can interpret where the majority of your mobile sessions are coming from. 

Once saved, this report can be accessed and analyzed at any time, as you can change the date range to suit the time period that you want to view. Once you’ve chosen your date range you can then view the data on the graph on a daily, weekly, or monthly view.  You can then export this information into a PDF, Google Sheets, Excel, or CSV so you can easily share information with your wider school staff team to help set and reach marketing goals and KPIs for the school year. You can also go in and edit the report at any time and share it straight to an email address under the edit and share option. 


Mobile sessions report analytics

Source: Google Analytics for the Google Merchandise Store


Here’s an example where we’ve selected the pie graph symbol above the medium list as the view option. The pie chart allows you to show proportional and percentage data in an effective way for your school staff. 


Mobile Sessions Pie Chart View

Source: Google Analytics for the Google Merchandise Store


Another example of a useful custom report that your school can utilize is a bounce rate report. Understanding your website bounce rate is essential as although every website has a bounce rate it’s important to understand when a website bounce rate is too high and what may be affecting it. There are different factors that may influence a high bounce rate such as having a consistent landing page, a website that is optimized for mobile users, and a good user experience. You can create a custom report to pinpoint long new users who are staying on your website and how many users are leaving without visiting any additional pages. You can create this custom report by using the Explorer tab type option. Set the Metric Group as % of new sessions, bounce rate, and average session duration. Next, set your dimension drill down to the source and set your filter to Device Category, with ‘mobile’ typed into the text box. Once this is complete, click ‘Save’. This report will then show you the bounce rate and average session duration for users viewing your website on their mobile device. You can then create a similar report with the filter set to Device Category and ‘desktop’ to then view your bounce rate for users viewing your website on their mobile device and compare the two data sets. 

Website Bounce Rate Custom Report

Source: Google Analytics for the Google Merchandise Store


You can experiment with the amount of information that your report contains by adding multiple metric groups, dimension drill-downs, and filters. The best way to get used to creating new reports is by experimenting and trying different combinations. Don’t forget that you can edit or delete your reports at any time, so don’t be afraid! By doing this you will find reports that provide you with a detailed yet easy to understand layout that you an report back to your team.

If you’re interested in learning more about Google Analytics check out some of our other resources that are available on the Digistorm blog: