When it comes to client reporting, there’s no shortage of software, tools, and reports you can use to your advantage.
While experimentation is a good thing, there's no question that Google Analytics should be a top priority when it comes to client reporting.
With nearly 30 million live websites using Google Analytics, there’s a good chance it’s the analytics tool of choice for the majority (if not all) of your clients.
There’s only one problem with Google Analytics—many non-technical clients won’t know the first thing about how to use it. As you may know, it's easy for clients to get lost in the numbers and quickly become frustrated.
This is where your marketing expertise comes into play. By creating custom Google Analytics reports, you can give every client a clear and intuitive understanding of what’s working and what isn’t, as per your operating agreement.
To get started, the Google Marketing Platform is a great place to find templates for custom reports. With these, all you have to do is name them, connect them to the appropriate account, and let the data populate.
With that in mind, you’re probably wondering what types of reports are most useful to your clients. Of course, this differs from client to client and industry to industry, although as we'll highlight below, there are five reports that will provide value to nearly all your clients.
The 5 Google Analytics reports we'll cover include:
Customer Acquisition Report
Keyword Analysis Report
Link Analysis Report
Device Comparison Report
Social Media Report
Before we get into the reports, let's first review a few of the most common and important Google Analytics metrics that you'll want to be aware of.
Important Google Analytics Metrics
First off, Google Analytics metrics can be segmented into the following three categories:
Let's look at a few of the most important metrics in each of these categories as they'll come up in the 5 reports reviewed below.
Acquisition metrics measure your overall website traffic and where you're acquiring visitors from. A few of the most important acquisition metrics include:
Sessions: A session is a group of interactions that a user takes on your website within a given timeframe. The default timeframe in Google Analytics is 30 minutes, so whatever the user does within that period equals one session.
New Sessions: New sessions are defined as the number of first-time visitors—in other words, people who have never visited the site before.
% of New Sessions: This metric is defined as the percentage of sessions by users that had never visited the website before. It is calculated by dividing New Users by Total Sessions
Behavior metrics give you an idea of how people are interacting with your website, such as how many pages they view and how long visitors engage with the site. A few of the most important behavior metrics include:
Bounce Rate: Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of total sessions in which users only visited a single page.
Pages per Session: This metric is defined as the average number of pages that users visit during a single session.
Average Session Duration: This metric shows you exactly how long the average user is spending on your website during a single session.
Conversion metrics are set up in Google Analytics as "Goals" and measure the actions that visitors are taking on your website. Several important conversion metrics include:
Goal Completions: Goals represent a completed activity on your website, such as completing a purchase or submitting a contact information form.
Goal Conversion Rate: The goal conversion rate is defined as the total number of goal completions divided by the total number of sessions, multiplied by 100.
Goal Value: Goal value is an optional metric where you can assign a monetary value to specific goals.
As you can see below, each of these metrics can be displayed in a live dashboard using our Google Analytics integration:
1. Customer Acquisition Report
Let’s face it—the most important thing that most clients care about is customer acquisition.
A customer acquisition report is designed to show clients where their customers are coming from and what channels are generating revenue for them.
The data shared by a customer acquisition report includes:
% New Sessions
Average Order Value
This data helps both you and the client. From your perspective, it allows you to double down on the acquisition channels that are generating the most revenue while tweaking those that are lagging behind.
2. Keyword Analysis Report
As you probably know, there’s a lot to think about when doing SEO for clients, although keywords analysis typically hovers somewhere at the top of your priority list.
With a keyword analysis report, you want to help answer the following questions for your clients:
What keywords are you targeting?
Which ones are driving the most traffic?
Are the right keywords leading visitors to the right pages?
Using a keyword analysis report you can focus on these four metrics:
Goal Conversion Rate
Average Page Load Time (sec)
The above is for targeting, although you can also include these engagement metrics:
Avg. Time on Page
Goal Conversion Rate
Finally, it’s onto the tab that your clients care about the most: revenue. This answers the simple question of how much money each individual keyword generates?
Several revenue-related metrics to include in a keyword analysis report are:
Per Visit Value
If you're running an SEO campaign for clients, you’ll likely spend a lot of time in the onboarding process talking about keywords with your clients. After you've defined your clients target audience and buyer persona, a keyword analysis report will make your life much easier by automatically tracking your efforts and sharing data in a way that anyone can understand.
3. Link Analysis Report
Links, links, and more links. Every client wants more backlinks, although it’s your job to teach the difference between a high-quality link and one that can cause more harm than good.
That being said, it’s important to monitor the source of backlinks and measure the effectiveness of your link building campaign by tracking traffic and conversions.
A link analysis report will provide data such as:
% New Sessions
With this data, you’ll have a clear idea of which links are best in regards to the visitors they send to your client’s website.
4. Device Comparison Report
A device comparison report is more important today than ever before, as the way people search for information is changing.
If you go back in time 10+ years and the majority of people were searching the internet on a desktop device. However, things are changing, with mobile traffic up 222 percent over the last seven years.
Desktop users and mobile users browse differently, behave differently, and make decisions in different ways.
The first step in comparing devices is to ensure that your client’s website is mobile-friendly. If it isn’t, explain to them that more than 50 percent of all website traffic worldwide is generated through mobile phones.
Once you’re on the same page, create a device comparison report in Google Analytics. This report displays six data points for each type of device: desktop, mobile, and tablet, these include:
% New Sessions
Average Order Value
When reviewing the device comparison report, it's important to ask yourself several questions such as:
Which devices are driving the most traffic?
Which devices have the highest bounce rate?
Which devices have the highest revenue?
If you come across something that doesn’t look right, such as a high bounce rate on mobile devices, it’s worth digging deeper. For example, you can use Google’s mobile-friendly test to pinpoint areas of concern.
5. Social Media Report
Social media has the potential to send a high volume of high converting traffic to your client’s website. But even if you know things are going well on social, it’s still important to track performance.
A social media report allows you to do just that, providing metrics such as :
Goal Conversion Rate
Maybe you find that Facebook traffic is converting well, while Twitter referrals are lagging behind. You can use this data to adjust your social media strategy, such as by spending more resources on Facebook while cutting back spend on Twitter.
Other Types of Reports
While the five types of reports above are commonly used, they’re far from your only options. Other reports to consider include but are not limited to:
Organic Traffic Landing Page report
Email Assessment report
Time of Day/Day of Week report
Customer Behavior report
eCommerce Traffic report
PPC Keywords report
Content Efficiency Analysis report
The key here is to create and share reports that align with your strategy and customer expectations.
Final Thoughts on Using Google Analytics for Client Reports
There’s no shortage of reports you can use to keep your client in the loop. In addition to those listed above, don’t shy away from creating custom reports that suit the specific wants and needs of your clients.
If your client is using Google Analytics to track and report website traffic, you should be creating custom reports that allow you to measure progress and share results.