Retailers and other web sites with strong weekly visitor patterns need to be able to compare Mondays with Mondays and Saturdays with Saturdays.
Comparing the same day of each week over a long period is also very useful for any site planning emails or any other form of on-line campaigns.
Although I’m a huge fan of Custom Reports, for some reason I had not noticed that ‘Day of Week‘ is available as one of the dimensions.
In v1 of Google Analytics you used to be able to select all the ‘Mondays’ in a month by clicking on the top of the column in the calendar. But you could only do one month at a time and even that ability disappeared in later versions. It became necessary to do this kind of reporting outside of GA using Excel or a dashboard client.
Now you can do it all in a custom report, so I’ve made an example ‘weekday‘ report which you can download using a link at the end of this article.
Using Custom Reports is so much better and allows you to experiment with using secondary dimensions at the top level of the report. ‘Dimensions’ is the GA word for ‘what the data is that you’re looking at the numbers for’ — the information in the first column of the table. Dates or Days in this case. So you could add the source/medium for each day next to it in a second column, for example.
But first take a look at this standard version:
But my favourite view at the moment is to use ‘Day of Week’ as the top level dimension, and then drill down to ‘Date’. By using Custom Reports you can add a new tab to view the data that way round:
I’ve added the names of the days to the screenshot so you can see what’s happening. The report just shows the number of the day: 0 for Sunday, the first day of the week and 6 for the last day, Saturday.
This version of the report means you can see the average figures for all 7 days of the week compared to each other over an extended period. You can then drill down to see how each of the ‘Tuesdays’ compare with each other. That’s the insight which interests me most. The chart also updates to match, so you can choose whether to leave it with a single spike for one day each week, or change to ‘Graph by week’ view to see a continuous line.
These reports work really well in ‘Comparison View’ and ‘Performance View’, so be sure to experiment with those. But I’ve discovered that you can’t sort by the day of the week when you’re using that view, so you’ll need to be careful. There have been changes to the sorting functions during the last few weeks (weighted sort appeared and then disappeared), so this situation may well change.
How to Make a Day of the Week Custom Report in Google Analytics
The simple clue that ‘Day of Week’ is available as a dimension will have been enough for some people.
If you’d prefer to see how it’s done, I’ve made a 5 minute video showing each step.
Or if you’d prefer to save some time, use the link below the video to import a copy of the report and then edit it to match your business needs.
You’ll see in the video that I ran up against a problem when I went for overkill and tried to include all 20 goals and a load of extra ecommerce metrics. I was doing that because I thought it would be helpful to make a report which would work for everyone no matter which goals they use.
The final report does not include the final few goals, but you can download it into your own GA and see for yourself. Have a play with it and edit it to suit.
How to Import the Days of Week Google Ananlytics Custom Report
- Log into GA
- Click this link: http://bit.ly/GaDayOfWeek [opens in new tab] to import the report
- Don’t forget to scroll down to choose your profiles and then click save!
Things to Watch Out For
When you’re doing this kind of comparison it makes sense to use a date range which includes full weeks
If you’re using the ‘View by Day of Week’ approach it is vital to choose full weeks
The default sort order in GA is based on the first column of metrics in the data. I always repeat ‘visits’ in each metric group because it’s important to always be aware of the size/significance of the group of visits you’re looking at. But in these reports you will almost certainly want to sort by the dimension, not the metrics (the date or the day of the week). Don’t forget to click at the top of the dimensions in the table to change the sort order.
In the screenshots I’ve added the names of the days of the week. GA just gives you the numbers! 0 is your first day of the week, 6 the last.
Resources Relating to Custom Reports and Days of Week
- Kate Morris wrote a great post about Dayparting in Google Analytics back in 2009. I wish I’d seen it then!
- Avinash Kaushik has several hugely important posts on the subject of custom reports with more download links, notably:
- This same approach can be used to get at the ‘by hour’ data. Robert Kingston has posted a really great example of how to combine that with Excel’s handy conditional formatting feature to make the interesting data really sing out. For example, to visualise your best converting hours of each week [Opens in new tab]. The post includes an Excel template.
- Here’s the import link again: http://goo.gl/EluNF [opens in new tab]
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