Discover Data Goldmines with Google Analytics Custom Reports

We’ve shown you how to make a measurable goal, set up Google Analytics, and track that goal. Now, I will show you how to dig in even deeper to get some useful insights for your business.

First, we will start with our example goal: “I want to increase my newsletter subscribers by 15% in 60 days.”

So, if you’ve set up your goal to track newsletter subscribers, you might start wondering how you can easily see which sources are sending you the most newsletter subscribers. This is especially helpful if you do guest posting and advertising because you can see which areas you need to put more of your resources into.

Here’s how you can build a custom report that shows you where your new subscribers are coming from:

  1. Log into your Google Analytics account and go to your website profile.
  2. Click on the custom reporting menu on the left and then click on the sub-menu link called manage custom reports.
  3. Create a new custom report.
  4. Once there, you’ll need to change your title to whatever you like. Since we’re tracking referrals for new subscribers, you might name it something like “newsletter subscriber referrals”.
  5. From the left metrics menu, find the blue box called “total goal completions” (under goals) and drag that into the first blue metrics box on the right.
  6. Now drag the green box called “source/medium” from the traffic sources to the first green box on the right.
  7. Hit the preview report to make sure it looks like it’s supposed to.
  8. Save and you are now on your way to becoming an analytics ninja!

Once you’ve gotten the hang of how to use custom reports, you can do custom reports for all kinds of different insights. For example you could:

  • See which search keywords are performing better
  • See where your advertising money was best spent
  • See which sources are sending visitors that engage more on your site

And more! You just need to first identify what your goal is and then about how you can get the insight you’re looking for.

Need help or have questions about your goal? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be glad to help.

Naomi Niles is the founder of ShiftFWD, a full service conversion optimization consultancy specializing in helping small and medium-sized businesses get more sales and leads from their websites.




  1. Carley Knobloch

    I just set up BOTH custom reports, and now I’m totally obsessed with what else to track. If anyone else has cool trackable ideas, pls. share! If I set up any more, I will report back!

  2. Heather Allard

    Hi Naomi!

    Thanks so much for another great tutorial! 🙂

    I’d love to create a custom report that shows me which keywords are performing better. How would I do that?

    Thanks again!

    • Naomi Niles

      Thanks for having me. 🙂

      It depends on what you want to track exactly. But, if you wanted to see which keywords were getting the lowest bounce rate (this would be a sign that your visitors are more engaged with your site), you’d drag the box called “bounce rate” under Site Usage to the right first blue box.

      And then for the sub-dimension, you’d drag over the green box called “keyword” that’s under Traffic Sources.

      • Heather Allard

        Oooh, thanks! Will go do that right now. 🙂



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