Build the GA4 "Reports Snapshot" to Reflect the Data Most Important to Your Business
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Build the GA4 "Reports Snapshot" to Reflect the Data Most Important to Your Business
Kate Gingold
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Build the GA4 "Reports Snapshot" to Reflect the Data Most Important to Your Business

Even if you never delve deeper, the Reports Snapshot from Google Analytics is important for marketing your business, and here’s why:

There are oceans of information available to you in GA4, but let’s be realistic: If your business isn’t (yet!) at the level where you have a staff of data analysts, it’s probably not worth your time to pore over every exhaustive report. That’s why Google offers the Reports Snapshot, a one-screen view of what’s been happening on your website over the last thirty days. Let’s take a tour of what you will find there.

We talked about the other tabs in the menu along the left of the screen (Home, Explore, and Advertising), but we skipped over Reports because it is just so rich with information, that it’s going to take some time to investigate.

When you click on the little graph icon to open Reports, a new menu appears with links to Reports snapshot, Realtime, and several tabs under Life Cycle. Realtime is just that – it shows Users who have been on your website during the last thirty minutes. For many business owners, who is using the website right now isn’t really a necessary bit of information, but there are times when this can be quite useful.

A good use for Realtime reports

As an example, if a news story was just released about your company or you started running a marketing campaign today, you can easily track what influence these events had on your website traffic in real-time. Among the activities you can monitor are the number of new users and returning users to your site as well as the source and medium that brought them there.

In addition to the new menu, the first screen you'll see is the Reports snapshot with a series of Cards already set up by Google and receiving data. While these are the suggested items to measure, they may not be what your business is interested in monitoring. Fortunately, you can change that.

Customizing your Snapshot

On the far right side of the screen are several icons, including a little pencil. If you click on that, the Reports snapshot opens up further and a column called Customize Report opens on the right-hand side. All of the current Cards are listed below. If you don’t need to watch a particular card, you can click on the X and delete it. If you want to rearrange the order in which you view the cards in your snapshot, you can click and drag them to meet your needs. You may even want to create new cards that better fit your monitoring requirements by clicking +Add Cards to create up to a total of 16 cards.

Cards include reports such as Realtime, Insights, Users by Country, User activity over time, Views by Page title and screen class, Event count by Event name, Conversions by Event name, and Conversions by Platform. All of these are full of useful data, but only if the data is important to what you want for your business.

Customizing your Demographic details

For instance, while it might be mildly interesting to note that you have website visitors from Australia, if you run a landscaping business in Nebraska that information is not going to help your bottom line. It would be more useful to know which local suburb your Users are coming from.

To do that, back out of this report to go to the Reports snapshot again. On the bottom of the “Users by Country” card is the blue phrase “View Countries.” When you click on the arrow, the report “Demographic details” opens up with a little pencil on the far right side. Click on the pencil to Customize Report and you'll see a new menu with “Dimensions” at the top of the column. Now you have the choice to filter data by Region or City instead of by country and find data much more useful to your business and your local marketing campaigns.

There’s still more to explore, but even this one minor customization will improve the value of your Reports snapshot. Next time, we’ll look at some of the other Cards on the snapshot. If you’re looking at your reports right now and would like to see improvement sooner rather than later, give us a call to discuss options such as SEO techniques that will boost your traffic.

Photo by Airam Dato-on

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

Other posts by Kate Gingold
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I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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