Watching life streamer, Jonathan Harris talk on how he had documented a Whale Hunt in Alaska piqued my interest when he shared how he had made a program to make a story using the cataloged data and images he took of the Whale Hunt. Life today is dependent on the visual, though I wouldn’t want to admit it myself, we live in a world where the coming generation will be more visual and maybe less imaginative.

In months of studying Google Analytics, the significance of story telling and visualization must be spot on when it comes to using data to effect a change and to call to attention actionable insights. Though Google Analytics is complete in documentation about the how-to’s for the web tracking tool, it is the analytics ninjas who are hard-pressed to get results from the data presented.

Though you can spew out exquisite looking web analyst reports, it is the action and the outcome the foot high print outs you supply every department or your HIPPOS which will define your success. You may also get stuck neck high in graphs and statistics, yet you will not get anywhere unless these reports see some action.

The secret to get some action done when data is presented, is to work on a story line that would be fully understood by the visual dependent.

Borrowing from Jonathan Harris’ fundamentals of story telling, here are what you need to tell a good Google Analytics story.

Data and Concept

Data is the group of “characters” your analytics report revolves around in. Data embodies the several aspects of a website’s performance, choosing what data to focus on will help make the report concise and more consistent. Using the GA Custom Report builder leaves nothing lost in translation because it centers on the data set the report is about. While the concept of your analytics story would be why the data are presented in a combination or paired up.

The image below shows you the Custom Report (Time of Visits) of our sample report. In this report, the metrics are the Visits and the Bounce Rate. We used the Hour as the main dimension which can be drilled down to the following sub-dimensions: Keyword, Country/Territory, Page Title.

The context is the question you are trying to answer with the Google Analytics data.

For this report the questions involve the customer service issues, quantity of visits, the quality of visits in contrast to the data and actionable insights that can help build revenue.

Colors are not only lessen the monotony of a monochrome report, it also helps identify the different things in your data.

Time and Date
Google Analytics reports can be set to show data in time, days, months and years- you can even compare data from one time line with another. Presenting a date for a data set is important when, as part of an insight, it supports your report context.

Excitement Level
The excitement level or quite the opposite is how a data set is affecting the user.

One other thing to keep in mind, each story is different whether you have the same report across several profiles or accounts. The interaction of a site’s user to the site as a whole and their experience on the site is different on every level. The difference is in the data always.

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