The world of analytics can provide powerful tools for editors and reporters, but getting that information out in a clean and digestible manner is half the battle.

Sherri Horton, GateHouse Media data analyst
Sherri Horton, GateHouse Media data analyst

During a recent presentation in the GateHouse Media Newsroom Development Professional Development Series, data analyst Sherri Horton walked digital editors through the steps of creating a dashboard for your site, then setting up staffwide emails for daily, weekly and monthly automated reporting.

“Dashboards can be your one-stop shop for all of your site’s analytics. Once you set up all of your widgets, you can see every metric you need on one screen,” Horton said. “Being able to receive a quick dashboard report in your inbox each week, month or day without even logging into Google Analytics can save you and your team tons of time.”

So just how do you do it?

This video walks you through the steps:

Once you’ve finished setting up your dashboard, getting that important information to others is as simple as adding them to an email list.

From the dashboard page you created, click on the email tab under the dashboard’s title. You can then choose options, easily getting a daily, weekly or monthly dashboard PDF to anyone you include on that list.

There are a few tips here, however. For example, the default is to send weekly reports for six months. By clicking the “advance options” tab on the bottom of the email, you can extend the time period to an entire year so the reports don’t stop coming.

Also, you can choose a specific day each week for the reports to come out, but Horton has some advice on that, as well.

“These reports do come at different time periods during the day — from what I’ve found it’s not entirely consistent, so one week it may show up on Monday morning, the next on Monday afternoon,” she said. “So, if you have Monday morning meetings that you want to use this report in, I suggest sending it to yourself and staff on Sunday or a day prior just to be sure they are ready for your meetings.”

Putting a little time in up front helps make this important information accessible to those in the newsroom who can use it, something that can be of tremendous importance when it comes to reconfiguring content plans, or grasping what angles are resonating with readers.

“Automating your monthly reports with custom dashboards in GA gives you more time to actually analyze your data instead of spending an hour copying and pasting into Excel. You can make data-driven decisions quicker than ever before.”

Horton will have more tips during a June 7 presentation in the GateHouse Media Professional Development Series. All GateHouse employees can register for the event here.

“In the next Google Analytics webinar, we’ll be going into applying Segments to our dashboards and regular reporting,” Horton said. “We can change and expand our already created dashboards and reports into Mobile Only or Mobile/Desktop compare reports without creating any more widgets or separate dashboards.”

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