While many people realize and recognize that there are wonderful possibilities offered by Google Analytics, few people (including myself) understand just how much you can accomplish with the service. This evening, I want to spend a few minutes showing you how you can schedule your reports and have them automatically e-mailed to you or any other recipient you choose.
The first step is to access your reports as you normally would. Login to your Analytics account and click on the appropriate profile (if you have more than one Web site profile set up).
If you simply want to send your dashboard report, you can do so in three simple steps.
- While viewing your dashboard report, click on the “Email” button, which is found next to the “Export” button in the top left corner of the report.
- Then, in the window that appears, click on the “Schedule” tab in the top left.
- Finally, make sure that the “Send to me” button is checked, type a subject for the e-mail message and add an optional message. If you want to copy other people on the report, type their e-mail addresses in the “Send to others” textarea. Choose the frequency at which you want the report sent and click the “Schedule” button, and you’re done.
By default, the report is sent in PDF format. If you want to send it in a different format (CSV, XML or TSV), simply choose the appropriate radio button.
If you want to send more detail than you get in your dashboard report, you will have to build your scheduled report piece-by-piece. If you plan to do so, do not schedule your dashboard report, as Analytics will not allow you to add anything to the dashboard report.
Start by visiting the first report you want to add. If you want to include all of the information you would normally see in your dashboard report, visit each of the sections in the left navigation menu (Visitors, Traffic Sources, Content and Goals).
When visiting the first report, click the “Email” button in the top left of the report and follow the instructions listed above. From there, when visiting each report you want to add to your scheduled report, click the “Email” button, then click “Add to existing” and select the appropriate scheduled report to which you want to add this information.
There are a few major drawbacks of using the scheduled reports feature in Google Analytics.
- You don’t have many options when choosing when you want the report sent
- Daily (sent each morning)
- Weekly (sent each Monday) – You do not have the option to send weekly reports on any day but Monday. This is really inconvenient when you want regular information sent on a weekly basis, but you don’t want the report run from Monday to Sunday.
- Monthly (sent first day of each month) – Again, you don’t actually get to set the schedule, you just get the choice of sending it on the first day of each month. What if I wanted to schedule a monthly report that ran from the 15th to the 14th every month?
- Quarterly (sent first day of each quarter) – As mentioned above, you don’t get any choice as to when the report is sent.
- In addition to the fact that you can’t set any specifics within those categories, you also don’t have any other categories from which to choose. What if, for some reason, I wanted to schedule reports every two weeks or every four weeks? What if I wanted to send weekly reports, but I wanted to exclude weekends? What if I wanted to send yearly reports?
- Also, you don’t have the option to test these scheduled reports. There is no “Send now” button anywhere that you can use to send a scheduled report at a custom time. When setting up scheduled reports the first time, you actually have to wait until the next cycle before you receive it. When sending your dashboard, that’s not that big of a deal, as you can simply use the regular “Send now” button to do that. However, if you are building a custom report with a lot of in-depth detail information, you have no choice but to wait.
- Finally, as mentioned above, for some strange reason, if you start by adding your dashboard to a scheduled report, you have no options to add any additional information to that.