As analysts you can very often be tempted to extract and manipulate your data in Excel.

The visualisation tools (Tableau, Excel) usually do the work when it comes to presenting your results. But, have you ever thought about using Google Analytics for showing new insights?

This article presents to you a step-by-step guide of what you can achieve when using Motion Charts in Google Analytics. Get ready for Google Analytics to become your new best friend.

How to solve it

Now stick with me over the next steps below and we’ll find how to get a clearer graph so you can get even more insights out of it.

  1. Click on the motion chart icon and choose the line graph view

2. The menu view now allows you to select different options axis (metrics) on the sessions and on the series colours. It’s possible to select specific rows to show in the graph. Also a logarithmic scale is available on the axis to be selected. We will see later on why that is useful.

3. For a better visualisation, you can select specific rows to be shown in the graph and set the opacity to 0% to mask the unselected ones. Here you now have within GA a clearer graph with only selected elements highlighted.

Enhanced insights

We finally have a clearer graph and we can decide how to better compose it in a few clicks. We’re now able to quickly tick in and out elements to include in our graph: by excluding ‘Chrome’ for example we will be able to see better the trends on the lower ‘Android Browser’. Also, motion charts allow you to select more than 6 lines to plot, which is the main limitation in place on the main report view.

But there is more than this that can be done.

Switching the scale from ‘linear’ to ‘logarithmic’ will allow you to analyse the magnitude of the spikes for those lower traffic entries. This way you can work simultaneously with the two graphs to see what’s really going on with your trends, even for the least-known-but-still-there source of your traffic.

Finally, how can you get even extra insights out of it? Answer: colour your lines with a heat scale for another metric! Under the ‘colour’ tab, you can select another metric to plot it against your sessions, for example selecting ‘Bounce Rate’.

Through this you’re able to assess on the same graph both the ‘quantity’ and the ‘quality’ of your traffic. In our example, the peak in traffic seen at the end of April does not seem to coincide with the best quality of traffic for the Chrome browsers, as the bounce rate was rather high (red colour). Later on the same year, other traffic peaks from Chrome seemed to have had a better quality of traffic, with the bounce rate at lower levels. In this example, the mobile browser seems to struggle both on ‘quantity’ and ‘quality’ of traffic, which would mean some action could be taken to optimise the site for those.

So while you can extract your data and have Excel create pretty graphs to present it in for you, you may find that the different tools available in Google Analytics will provide more in-depth insights that you can action to improve your site traffic.

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