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Building a content marketing dashboard in Google Analytics

Building a content marketing dashboard in Google Analytics

A car’s dashboard provides information about the vehicle’s performance. By displaying the fuel level, RPM, temperature, fluid levels and other information, the dashboard lets drivers know how their car is tracking and whether anything needs attention.

Dashboards in Google Analytics are the same – a visualisation of critical data. Like the dashboard in your car, a real-time analytics dashboard can let you know when things are cruising along – and when your site may need some service.

Create your dashboard and add the widgets you’d like – there’s no shortage of customisation options. But which should you choose if you’re looking to report on content marketing in particular?

What is a Dashboard …

You know the saying – ‘You can’t see the forest for the trees’, well dashboards address age old issue.

While combing through your GA report and looking at each and every metric (ahem, the trees) is a valuable exercise for some, most find it overwhelming. Dashboards, on the other hand, help you to see the bigger picture – the forest!

By segmenting data, dashboards help you see and understand more. That’s because rather than categorising information in your mind – ‘Okay, let me look for metric X,Y and Z to see how I’m tracking with Goal C …’ – it’s already right there in front of you.

Dashboards are made up of widgets – miniature reports – and they come in all shapes and sizes:

  • Metric,
  • Timeline,
  • Geomap,
  • Pie,
  • Table,
  • Bar.

Widgets vary in the number of metrics they’re capable of showing and different widgets will be better suited to certain comparisons. Our advice? Play around and see what makes the numbers come to life for you. You might be surprised how simply visualising a snapshot of data in a new way can bring entirely new insights and understandings.

… and how do I make one?

Been using the default “My Dashboard” until now? Well, prepare to have your mind blown by the infinite ways you can group metrics to inform every aspect of your marketing.

While there are heaps of pre-sets available to download, you can also create your own custom dashboard.

The first step, of course, is figuring out what you want to figure out. Dashboards should reflect your organisation’s unique content marketing objectives and focus areas. Want to focus on SEO? Make a dashboard for that. Interested in boosting your mobile performance? You can customise a dashboard around that as well.

Pick your theme and select metrics and widgets accordingly.

Let’s start with a simple example. Say you’re interested in tracking entry and exit on your site. You can probably already think of which metrics you’ll want displayed in this dashboard. We’d be sure to include:

  • Bounce rates,
  • Pages with the highest bounce rate,
  • Average pages per visit,
  • What pages people exit your site from most,
  • What pages visitors enter your site from most.

For detailed instructions, see what Google says about creating and customising Dashboards here or watch this video:

Our content marketing dashboard recipe

Dashboards should answer questions. The dashboard we described above answers a few, namely ‘How are people entering and exiting my site?’.

You content marketing dashboard should answer a number of questions, including:

  • What content generates the most traffic?
  • How can I improve my search ranking?
  • Which pieces are most likely to lead to conversion (action)?
  • Where can I improve CTR?
  • Which keywords should I focus on?
  • How is my content performing over time?

Once you have your questions, find the metrics to provide the answers. If you have experience with GA, this should follow quite naturally.

Which content generates the most traffic, for example, is easily shown by tracking page views. Use a bar to show this and even include a second metric, CTR to measure conversion side by side.

In terms of measuring traffic and finding ways to generate more, ensure you have widgets set up to measure your position in search over time.

Like we said before, play around and see which configurations make the most sense to you. Remember, however, that dashboards are meant to be small windows into certain aspects of your site. If you try to see SEO analytics and social media performance on your content marketing dashboard, you’ll struggle to glean any real understanding.

Some metrics every content marketing dashboard should include are:

  • Page views,
  • Bounce rate,
  • Visits,
  • Average time on page,
  • Conversion rate,
  • Search ranking,
  • Impressions,
  • Clicks,
  • Blog subscriptions,
  • CTR.

Depending on your content marketing goals, you may want to include other metrics as well. If your aim is to produce content that’s shareable on social media, for example, you want to uncover which pages are meeting those goals best by tracking the most socially shared content and social referrals.


You can only make a good content marketing dashboard when you know – and define – your content marketing goals. Establish what you want to accomplish and the metrics are apparent.

With the right metrics in place, dashboards are excellent visual representations of your site’s most vital data. Tables, charts, graphs and maps all come together to give a comprehensive picture of how you can adjust your content marketing strategy.


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Natalie Fortier About the author