Updated: August 25, 2016 – to include explanations that Google got back to me with.
Google My Business has just reformatted their Insights and a few things have changed. Here is what you need to know.
How Customers Search for your Business
This chart is only reporting on impressions (not clicks).
- Direct = People that are searching for your business by name or location. I would say you can attribute these impressions to other forms of marketing since the person has already heard about you. A lot of these impressions are most likely existing customers as well. These are searches that most likely returning a knowledge panel of your business. I got confirmation from Google that impressions will count in this section when the search results only list a single business listing (so this could be misleading in cases where you see a one-box for a non-branded query).
- Discovery = People that are searching generic categories and see your listing (auto insurance, dentist near me, italian restaurant etc). These are impressions you can most likely attribute to your SEO efforts.
Where Customers View your Business on Google
This graph is a bit confusing if you don’t understand that when both boxes are checked, the graph is cumulative (the top of the graph includes the total of both numbers). So for those of you scratching your head wondering why the heck the graph is up near 60 for July 25th in this picture when you hover over it, it’s saying 17, you’re not alone. Here is how you actually see the numbers – the total searches on Maps was 41. The total searches on Search is 17. Therefore the total for the two is 58, which is what the graph is showing. Yes, very confusing. To avoid confusion just look at the graphs separately (only click one box – either Search or Maps).
Searches on the Local Finder are included in “Search” since they happen on Google.com and not Maps.Google.com.
You’ll also notice they removed metrics for Google Plus like post views or profile views.
Why don’t the Total Views match the Total Searches in the pie graph under “How Customers Search for your Business”?
This is a common question I’ve been seeing a lot so I asked Google about it and their response was: My thought here is that it’s total views (someone pulls up Maps, sees the local businesses along the side, even though they were searching for something else, scrolls through their local area and sees multiple listings, etc) versus actual searches where users are searching for your business name or the category and they pull up your business. This would explain the pretty large discrepancy as well
For whatever reason, GMB likes to call these actions instead of clicks just to make our lives harder 🙂 Just like the above example, this graph is also cumulative and the same rules apply – look at the data separately. Some things to keep in mind:
- If driving directions seem high, it’s probably because you are in a building and Google is counting driving directions that were actually to other businesses at the same address.
- If photo views seem high, you’re not alone. Photo views are higher than anything else on every example I looked at – even for boring business types with uninteresting photos. Keep in mind that impressions & clicks (actions) are not unique in GMB so one user looking through 50 of your photos would count as 50 actions. My church (in a very small town) gets an average of 20-40 photo views a day. When I asked Google for an explanation for this, they said that “view photos” is counting both impressions (the photo appears in the 3-pack or knowledge panel) and if a user clicks to go to the photos. So these really are not clicks but rather impressions (and could be very misleading).
- Google used to total these sections for you but currently the only way you can see the total # of calls, or website clicks etc is to export the data. I’m going to bug Google to bring this feature back.
Nothing really new here. It shows where your driving directions came from if you have enough of them.
Don’t be surprised if the numbers on this graph don’t match the numbers under “customer actions”. This graph shows 4 weeks whereas the actions section shows 30 days.
As Tim Capper illustrated, you can still copy and paste the values into a spreadsheet if it’s easier to interpret the data that way.
BUG ALERT – August 17, 2016
A user reported on the forum that the numbers on the initial part of the dashboard don’t match the numbers you get on the Insights tab. My assumption is that the dashboard overview is still including the metrics from Google Plus that GMB just dropped which explains why views dropped. Look at what happened to the actions section. It’s gone from 51 to 2400. Why? Because of the stupid “view photos” metrics that Google is (for some dumb reason) counting as actions when really they are impressions.