How to show Analytics for specific pages and events in Google Data Studio - The Right Way

Google Data Studio: The smarter alternative to reporting on website metrics without goals

The Problem

If you’re fairly new to Google Data Studio, you may be feeling very excited by now. You may be thinking, “This platform is powerful, flexible, and super easy to use”. Indeed, Google Data Studio is great to get your hands dirty with reporting because you can’t mess up your data ⁠— until you do.

Type I Error (False positive)

Imagine you are managing a recently created, Lead-based website and you want to create a Dashboard in Google Data Studio (GDS) to display your metrics and KPIs.

First you start tracking your end goal in Google Analytics (GA). For argument’s sake let’s call this “Contact Form Submissions”. You create a tag with the help of Google Tag Manager, an Event Tag and a fancy restriction that triggers the tag only from the “Contact Us” page, just to make things consistent.

Let’s say you and your team wanted to check whether the “About” page has an impact on your Total Leads.

By this time you feel like a Google Suite Guru, so you come up with an approach that is similar to the previous task, and even easier:

  • Go to Google Analytics > Admin > Goals

  • Create the ‘About Visits’ goal, where destination = ‘mysite.com/about’

  • Open up Data Studio

  • Pull the metric “About Visits (Goal 2 Completions)”

  • And presto!

You think to yourself, “Nothing could go wrong”. The only problem is that by doing it this way, you're really just setting yourself up to deal with a mess later.

Don't make Goals in GA for Consideration-Stage metrics

After finishing your Measurement Plan you might have found that there are important pages that need to be tracked, as part of your Considerations Stage metrics, and that’s fair enough. 

The issue is that when you create goals based on these, you are increasing your site’s total goal count. This means that you could easily find yourself in a situation where you have many completed goals, even with normal sessions, but with no real conversions. Yes, this would be disappointing and misleading.

In simple words, you should only be creating goals for your “Decision Stage” events (or page views), because these will affect your Site Conversion Rate.

But when it comes to reporting it’s important to show these metrics as well. So, the question becomes; how can we display important (but not crucial) pageviews or events in Google Data Studio?

Doing it the right way

The solution is pretty straightforward:

  1. Don’t use a goal in GA if it’s not a Decision Stage metric.

  2. In Google Data Studio, use the metric “Unique Pageviews

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3. Add a filter to only include the page you want to display (e.g. /about)

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4. Rename the metric

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5. 🎉 Job done, hugs, cheers, etc.

 
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NB: For displaying events, just follow the same approach using the metric “Unique Events” instead.

Most important point

If you want to display certain page visits or events in Google Data Studio, it isn’t recommended to rely so heavily on GA goals. Before making goals in GA, please keep in mind that you will be affecting the Site Conversion Rate. A better way to do this would be to use a combination of the “Unique Pageviews” (or “Unique Events”) plus a filter to include only the targeted page (or event).