Reporting and working outside the Analytics Interface

Becoming familiar with reviewing data and applying changes outside of GA UI

The Google Analytics platform lets you measure user interactions with your business across various devices and environments at Google speed and scale. With the collection APIs and SDKs - Google-provided libraries that sit on top of the Google Analytics Measurement Protocol - you can measure how users interact with your content and marketing initiatives. Once implemented, you will be able to view user-interaction data within the Google Analytics client interfaces (web/app UI) and continue making configuration changes in the Admin and GTM UI. However, there are several features and APIs which allow you to both review reports and apply changes outside of the interface. 

Share and Display Reports

Utilizing the features, integrations, and Reporting APIs listed below provide a simple and powerful means to retrieve report data from Google Analytics outside of the web or mobile app. These reporting options allow you to save time with automation, provide access options for report consumers and integration Google Analytics data with your own business data for deeper insights. 

Highlights of available options are listed below: 

Analytics Report Dashboards

Summary: Reporting feature that contains individual GA reports as widgets in GA interface to see key data and trends in one place

Best Used For:  Instant dashboards in GA UI that can be emailed and sent via PDF
Associated Skill Set: Any Google Analytics User

Benefits: 

  • Currently available within current GA reporting interface
  • No technical resources needed
  • Able to email out on schedule and export via PDF
  • Lots of room to expand and add other widgets
  • Highest level of support through GA 360 Support

Considerations: 

  • Some reports cannot be added to dashboard but can be recreated in custom report
  • Visualization controls somewhat limited
  • Applied to only one property within a dashboard

Resources: 

Data Studio Integration

Summary: Reporting visualization feature to build dashboards and visualizations of GA data and more
Best Used For: Instant dashboards with more visual control and ability to report alongside outside data
Associated Skill Set: Any Google Analytics User

Benefits: 
  • Currently available as Data Studio is now open to all users
  • Easy connection to GA and visualization tool
  • Can report on multiple GA properties within one report (either on one page or multiple pages)
  • Can connect to other data sources (BigQuery, Sheets, etc.) to show with non-GA data
  • Users can optionally control dates, apply any available filtering, and interact to learn more
  • Can add text context to widgets and customize with logos, colors, etc. 
  • Access requirements controllable via Data Studio Data source ownership and sharing configuration (similar to Google Sheets). Can configure so no login is required. 

Considerations: 
  • Can share with others via URL only (at this time) and reports are viewed on Data Studio

Resources: 

Big Query Integration

Summary: Analytics data access feature to collect raw GA data and create custom queries (often with outside data) and leverage in visualization tools. 

Best Used For: Retrieving raw GA data, compiling with other outside data, and displaying custom reporting
Associated Skill Set: Technical resources required familiar with SQL


Benefits:

  • Scheduled batch of raw data eliminates some limitations seen in GA reports and APIs
  • Useful if other visualization tools are already used on internally
  • Best solution for joining and linking with outside data
  • GA360 coupon code for use in BigQuery Projects

Considerations: 

  • Requires technical resource to configure setup and create queries and/or connection to other visualization tools
  • Potential additional costs depending on usage

​Resources: 

Core Reporting API & Sheets Plugin

Summary: Report access feature to create technical queries to compile report data and display as desired
Best Used For: Retrieving and displaying GA reports outside of GA (or Google Marketing Platform) interface
Associated Skill Set: Technical resources required familiar with Java, Python, PHP or Javascript


Benefits: 

  • Integration with Google Sheets Plugin and other 3rd party tools
  • Sheets add-on can auto run reports, leverage visualization components, and embed on websites
  • Can compile requests and report on multiple properties into a single created report

Considerations: 

  • Direct API use requires technical resource to configure API calls and display of reports
  • Sheets add-on requires GA authorization to configure but can be shared with Sheets sharing mechanism

Resources: 

Embed API

Summary: Alternative report access feature to use javascript to create components designed specifically to be embedded in websites

Best Used For: Retrieving and displaying GA reports outside of GA (or Google Marketing Platform) interface
Associated Skill Set: Technical resources required familiar with JavaScript

Benefits: 

  • Accessible way to retrieve GA report data explicitly designed for embedded website use
  • Allows users the ability to manipulate the date range
  • Reports can range from very simple to more complicated as desired

Considerations: 

  • Requires technical resource to pull javascript elements and embed in site HTML
  • Will need to complete style changes with CSS Updates (or use visualization library) 
  • Requires GA authorization by default but has option to configure server side authorization

Resources: 

Make Configuration Changes

Google Analytics also provides programmatic access to configuration data through the Management API.

The developer documentation provides sample code to get started with each API. Working with the APIs involves authenticating and authorizing a user, creating an Analytics Service Object, issuing commands to the API and handling the responses. As such, it is recommended to have a look at these examples to become familiar with the functionality of the APIs.

  • Management API: Allows you to automate Google Analytics account setup and configuration changes. This can be beneficial for accounts with several properties and views with a need to bulk add and edit settings such as users, custom dimensions, goals, etc. 
  • Google Tag Manager API: The example program included in this guide is a command-line app. Given an account ID, the app finds a container named Greetings and creates a Universal Analytics tag in that container. When a user visits hello-world.html, the tag sends a pageview hit.
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