An easier way to get Google Analytics email reports
How to set up weekly email reports from your GA account with traffic & conversion summary, predictions and insights.
I spend a lot of my time working with Google Analytics. I measure visitors of an e-commerce website that sells prints, a community blog, a Kickstarter page for when my campaign was live and multiple web properties owned by the start up I co-founded. It’s a real hassle to try and keep up with all that data, let alone making sense of it.
I thought that my problem was unique to serial webmasters, however it turns out that making sense of Google Analytics can be a challenge, even for a casual blogger. Seeing the default graph of visitors over time doesn’t provide as much value as one might think. Real-time reporting surely is exciting, but not very insightful. A proper way to get an answer to “What should I do with my website next?” question can only be found by digging through numerous GA views, often importing the data into a spreadsheet and processing it further. Only then you may have some answers.
Email reporting — spending less time digging through data.
A friend once brought up email reporting as a possible solution. He owns a medium-sized blog where he posts reviews of vintage camera lenses and street photography advice. It turns out that Google Analytics provides email reports that could potentially cut down on the time spent digging through data on the daily basis.
Perhaps I could do better if I concentrate on building content, code and design for my websites and let the data get to me, instead of seeking it out? At least that’s what I hoped the email reporting would do: give me the numbers every week or so. I’ve never found the constant stream of traffic reports that useful anyways.
The dream: simple, usable email reporting.
Google Analytics’ proprietary email reporting: not very simple, not very valuable.
Everything sounded fantastic at the start. Google is an all-powerful tech giant that can whip out amazing software. I’ve got a decade’s worth of programming experience & industry know-how. This is just an email report — should be super-easy! Right?
No. First of all, Google has been revamping its Analytics software for the past few years practically non-stop. Hence finding good instructions with correct screenshots on the web is a challenge. After some digging it became evident that I’d have to create a custom dashboard that can then be sent as a PDF attachment to my email at a frequency of my choosing. Making such dashboard is a lot of work, and if it isn’t properly designed to cater to my application, I’ll be getting misleading reports, every time. Which isn’t good.
I have to say that PDF reports look great with the graphics and all, although I’d have to wait for them to download and open in a very mobile un-friendly way: zoom, scroll, zoom, scroll…
Long story short, GA email reporting can be an incredibly powerful feature, but to set it up correctly you’d have to do a data requirements inventory on your web property and get it right. Which isn’t simple.
An easier, better way to get Google Analytics email reports.
Disclaimer: the product I’m about to recommend was built by my startup.
The tool is called Archie.AI. It’s free and easy to set up, you can get it here: https://www.archie.ai/email-reporting-for-google-analytics
One of the advantages of Google Analytics that becomes a drawback later on is the way it presents data. Always cut-dry facts, with zero opinions. Which is perfect if you have a data analyst on your payroll. That person would take those facts and let you know what she thinks it all means and what your next steps should be.
My team and I have been working on an algorithm that could perform that very task: interpret and suggest, according to available data. The code that does that runs thousands of queries every day, answering questions like “Predict my next week’s traffic.” or “How do I increase my traffic?” This tool is part of a larger suite of medium to advanced Google Analytics AI enhancements: Archie.AI.
After trying the email reporting tool that comes with Google Analytics and chatting with some of our clients we decided to use our natural language generation platform to create simple, curated email reports. The goal was to select about seven key metrics and generate insights with predictions and human-like advice. Then send it every seven days, just before the week’s start.
Besides giving human-like opinions and advice on your data we made sure our tool does not require any work on your end, besides clicking “Log in with Google” and selecting the property you’d like to track. You can also add conversion tracking with dollar (or whatever your currency is) value to get some e-commerce or KPI reports — but that’s up to you.
The setup process for Google Analytics email reporting with Archie.AI. Simple.
After tapping those three buttons you would get your first report instantly and all consequent reports every Sunday night (EST). The emails are all text, but the key points are highlighted to get your attention and the entire thing consists of algorithmic interpretations that can help you drive your decisions much better than any fancy graph could.
Although it’s a part of a larger suite of tools available with full Archie.AI membership we decided to make it 100% free, leaving the choice up to you on whether you want to upgrade or not.
This is a fairly new product and we’re constantly looking for your feedback. If you’ve got some advice, criticism or ideas — please don’t hesitate to let us know. In any case, follow this link to try it out.