Create the ultimate Google Analytics Dashboard for Drupal – Part 1

As the ability to calculate digital marketing return on investment (ROI) is critical and even the C-suite cares about conversion rates, web analytics are becoming more important. All the members of an organization start to demand more information about the web site’s statistics. As it is not enough any more to just create reports about visits and pageviews, the access to different data for different persons became necessary.

Of course, we could start creating custom dashboards inside Google analytics, but then we would have to create credentials for different persons and also train them on how to use Google Analytics (GA) and how to locate important to them information.
Using the Google Analytics Reports module, we can begin by easily creating a dashboard with the basic metrics inside our Drupal web site. Then, by using the Google Analytics Data Export API, we can create custom reports, to inform for example the management for KPI’s of different channels, like SEO, social media or newsletter campaigns. There reports will be easily accessible by just signing in with their Drupal accounts, without the need to use an external system. 
The first step is to install the Google Analytics Reports module. Prerequisites are the Google Charts API module and the OAth module. Do not forget to set the module’s permissions about who has access to the reports.
After installing the modules, you have to authorize your site to use data from Google Analytics, from admin/config/system/google-analytics-reports. If your domain is registered with Google Apps for Business, you can enter it in the related field. The easiest way is to authenticate with your Google Analytics account, by clicking on “Start setup and authorize account”.  
In the next step, you allow access to your Google Analytics account from the website, to obtain access to the data. If you have multiple GA profiles, you choose the appropriate one. In this step you can also choose a Query cache period, as the GA quota is 50,000 requests per project per day. 
After this step, the basic dashboard is ready at: admin/reports/google-analytics. The layout and the provided information are too basic, but at least we now have a framework to start creating our ideal dashboards.
There are also two blocks named “Google Analytics page traffic” and “Google Analytics site visits” that can be enabled for specific roles.
In the next part we are going to examine how we can use the Google Analytics Data Export API, to create more useful reports and how we can customize their layout.

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September 19, 2012

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