What is the Difference Between Dashboard and Custom Report

Interestingly one of the unanswered questions is the difference between dashboard and Custom Report in Google Analytics.

The difference between Dashboard and Custom Reports can be summarized in one short sentence in analogy of a patient and doctor.

In Google Analytics Dashboard is the checkup of a patient whereas the Custom Report is both checkup and diagnosis of the Patient.

Custom reports lets you create, save, and edit to get a specific view of your data. You can define goals and then measure the performance of your campaigns and see how they are performing against the KPIs that you have defined for your particular campaigns and properties.

Custom Reports in Google Analytics

Custom Reports in Google Analytics

Through custom reports you could choose the dimensions and metrics or even define your own parameters through regex to see, analyze and organize the data the way you or your client wants it to take actionable decision regarding your campaign or website.

You can choose the information you want to see, organized in the way you want to see it, by using a drag and drop.
You select appropriate metrics and dimensions as per you KPIs and add filters if you want to. You can also create tabs if you want to see related data.

With custom report you can:

  • Save time by creating reports which give you and your stakeholders exactly what you want to see.
  • Group together all the information you need and find most relevant to take actionable decision.
  • Easily share reports with colleagues/clients to take quick decisions based on data.

Dashboards give you an overview of how your properties i.e websites are performing. Dashboard could display graphic summaries of different reports as widgets on a single page.

Dashboards let you monitor many metrics at once, so you can check the health of your websites at a quick glance and also include filters to check the performance of your properties.

Dashboard in Google Analytics

Dashboard in Google Analytics

The limitation of dashboard is that they generally do not offer enough insight to take actionable decision.

Major differences between dashboard and custom reports in Google Analytics:

  • In Dashboard you cannot view more than 10 rows whereas in Custom Report you may see all data.
  • In Dashboard you can select only limited (at most 2 or 3) metric or dimension whereas in Custom Reports you could select as many as you need to drill down to required report.
  • In Dashboard you can’t have an option of secondary dimension but in Custom Report you could use them for better understanding and analysis of the data.
  • Dashboard could be real time or standard whereas Custom Report is to analyze the effectively over a longer period of time to take actionable decisions.
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