Note: An add-on for GA4 was introduced in August 2023. We will update the legacy content below.
Original Post About Google Universal Analytics
With the help of four Google components, two of which are part of Google Workspace, you can create a free marketing dashboard. If your company is not using Workspace, this can be done with a consumer Google account.
Once you’ve created a marketing dashboard, you can easily share the dashboard metrics with anyone within your organization. All they will need is their Google Workspace login to access the dashboard.
You can optionally share the dashboard outside of your organization with someone who has a Google Workspace or a consumer Google account.
A marketing dashboard can help you to understand at a glance which of your marketing initiatives are performing best. Using the power of spreadsheet formulas and charting, you can set up comparative analytics views.
For example, you can easily see which social media channels are driving the most website traffic. You can see the year-over-year growth in monthly website users.
Required Google Components
The four Google components that you will need to construct your marketing dashboard are:
- Google Analytics – the data source
- Google Sheets – the engine
- Google Analytics Sheets Add-on – the query mechanism
- Google Sites – the presentation layer
All digital marketers are familiar with Google Analytics. The requirement for all this to work is that you have your Google Analytics tracking code on the website or websites for which you want to add reports to your marketing dashboard.
You’ll need to copy a Google Analytics View ID:
Google Sheets is familiar and accessible to any Google Workspace or Gmail user. Start by creating a new spreadsheet and naming it “Google Analytics.” Share the spreadsheet with anyone in your company who will need to see dashboard charts.
It may be easiest to simply allow anyone in your company to view the spreadsheet. Make sure the access you give everyone is View access and not Edit access. Making edits to the report configuration or even the auto-generated sheets can mess up your reporting.
Google Analytics Sheets Add-on
This add-on can be installed by a single user or it can be installed for the entire domain. Your Google Workspace admin may need to allow the add-on.
The add-on is the engine of the marketing dashboard setup. The combination of Google Sheets and this add-on gives you tremendous flexibility as to what data you can pull from Google Analytics and how you can display the data.
Phil Walton of Google authored helpful documentation and videos when the add-on was released. As Phil points out, you can use the Report Creation tool to get started and then manually add new columns to the Report Configuration sheet.
You will find that the configuration options you use most often are Start Date, End Date, Metrics and Dimensions.
You can create an “aggregation” sheet for the purpose of combining data for multiple referrers or multiple months in a single sheet. In the case of monthly data, you can use a formula to convert “1” to “Jan”, etc. for better chart labels. Another use for aggregation is to add a target line that reflects your monthly traffic goals.
Data can be fetched from Google Analytics based on a schedule that you specify:
Once you’ve pulled in the Google Analytics data, you can create any chart type available within Google Sheets, including bar charts, line charts, and pie charts.
Google Sites is a website builder that can be used for an internal use site, a.k.a. an intranet. You will be able to share a URL with others in your organization that looks something like this:
Sites lets you insert any Google Sheet or chart into a website page. Here are two examples:
You may want to create multiple marketing dashboards using either multiple Google Sites or subpages within a single Site. One example is a dashboard that consists exclusively of a group of daily line charts for individual blog posts. These will let you see whether updates that you make to individual posts to improve SEO result in more traffic over time.
Other Data Sources
There are many data sources aside from Google Analytics for which you can add visualizations to your Google Sites marketing dashboard.
Shared Marketing Calendar
If you create a shared Google marketing calendar, that calendar can be part of your marketing dashboard.
Google Search Analytics Queries
Using another add-on called Search Analytics For Sheets, you can include a list of search queries in a dashboard.
You can also connect Salesforce and other CRM systems to Google Sheets.
With data from both Google Analytics and your CRM system, you can track certain website visitor activities all the way through to revenue.