I joined Google in 2002 and had the pleasure of seeing many of Google’s products get created and acquired. I knew Gmail as Caribou, and I was sitting in the auditorium when Google Earth was presented and everyone’s jaws dropped. It’s been four years since I left Google, but at my new startup, Porch.com, we still use a few of their tools religiously — especially Google Analytics.
The free version of GA covers most all of our needs for basic site analytics and probably will for years. However, it has some shortcomings when it comes to increasing the complexity of automated email reporting. Automatic email reports let you conveniently share traffic results with other key members of the company. GA offers a daily snapshot report, but it doesn’t help you understand trends or changes on a daily basis. For someone running campaigns and tests all the time, this isn’t good enough.
A few weeks back, I wanted a report that Google Analytics didn’t provide — an automatic daily report that I could share with my colleagues that would provide key metrics and give insight to people that aren’t in GA every day like I am.
After scouring forums and blogs for ways to do this in GA, the results came up fairly empty — so I hacked GA and made my own.
I came up with a makeshift way to enable you to have a rolling 30-day report emailed conveniently to your mailbox — every day. Here’s how:
Step #1: Create a dashboard that has all the widgets you want included in your report.
This blog post has some fully built-out dashboards for different business areas. Each will require some customization for your particular needs, but these will give you a great start.
Step #2: Click on the “email” button in the dashboard and choose the following options.
- Frequency: Monthly
- Day of Month: First
If your intention is to automatically share this report with others, I highly recommend setting up an email alias for this specific report and adding that address to the “To:” field. Anytime you need to add or remove someone from the report, that’s potentially 30 reports you have to manually edit (see step #3). If you create an email alias that you manage separately, it’ll allow you to control the recipients without having to edit the report every time.
Step #3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the 2nd, 3rd, Nth of the month all the way to “Last Day.”
This step takes a little time, but once you have added the report to every day in the month, you are all set up with your new reporting tool.
It’s a total hack, but what you’ve done is essentially set up a monthly report to be emailed for the past month of days, every day of the month. Don’t need the full 30 days? You can also do the same thing if you want a 7-day rolling report. Just follow the same steps but choose “Weekly” and create 7 reports, one for each day of the week.
Little hacks like this are what define startup culture — getting scrappy to solve your own problems. Good luck!
Ronnie Castro is cofounder of Porch.com, a startup aimed at helping people manage and love their biggest asset — their home. He has operations, revenue generating, and customer acquisition experience with Google, Expedia and WildTangent.
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