How do I make Google Analytics actionable?


Google Analytics (and similar) gives you a ton of numbers on every conceivable axis.

For me, I get lost in the options, filters, and numbers. How do I turn this pile of data into actionable choices? Which of this data is important? Which custom reports should I build to see it?

Analytics Metrics Website Google Reports

asked Oct 17 '09 at 12:26
16,231 points
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4 Answers


Everything I know about analytics, I learned from the following two posts:

Web Optimizer Case Study Vanity Metrics vs Action Metrics Biggest takeaway from these is that A/B testing is what the situation calls for 9/10. And for that, there's Google Website Optimizer.

answered Oct 17 '09 at 16:52
Ez Yz
473 points


Two things I would recommend:

  1. Visit the Occam's Razor blog by Avinash Kaushik.
  2. Get yourself a copy of the book "Web Analytics An Hour A Day" also by Avinash

There is so much good information about analytics from these two sources. Avinash works at Google but he does a good job of writing about analytics without a particular toolset in mind.

answered Oct 18 '09 at 11:48
599 points


Excellent question!

Here's a few of my opinions on the topic:

  • Focus on conversion % (as Eric Ries explains: page views is simply a vanity metric - it's almost always going to increase and doesn't really provide you with any insights )
  • Segment Google Analytics information into at least three profiles: Organic, Referral and Search. This will allow you to drill-down and understand each segment and potentially gain some more meaningful insights.

Would love to hear what other suggestions people have.

answered Nov 12 '09 at 14:23
James Spittal
79 points


I'd recommend picking up a copy of Avinash Kaushik's "Web Analytics 2.0". It's a great read and will definitely generate some ideas on how to convert a pile of data into actionable insights.

It's a bit of a "heavier" read than many marketing books (including mine) but well worth the effort.

answered Dec 17 '09 at 15:53
Dharmesh Shah
2,865 points

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