How to Interpret Google My Business (GMB) Insights
Posted by Joy Hawkins
Updated: July 8, 2019 to reflect Google My Business updating their help center article which clarifies the graphs are reporting on sessions and not unique visitors. Also added a section on Search Queries.
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.
Views in Google My Business Insights are like impressions. They are not clicks on your listing. They are also not reporting on unique visitors. They are counted per view so if a user saw the listing on Search and then clicked to Maps, it would count as 2 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
Nothing really new here. It shows where your driving directions came from if you have enough of them. And Google recently started showing details about the areas where your direction requests come from including a nice heat map. 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.
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.
Chat To You
The GMB Messaging feature is the newest feature that generates insights data. You first need to setup the GMB Messaging feature before Google can collect these insights.
As of recently Google is pulling in some useful insights related to photos. 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).
This section will compare the number of times your business photos have been viewed, compared to photos from other businesses.
This section compares the number of photos that appear on your business, compared to photos from other businesses. It breaks them out by “Customer Photos” and “Owner Photos”
Popular Times data gets pulled into the Insights section of GMB for businesses that have a decent amount of foot traffic. If you have “Popular Times” displaying in your knowledge panel then you will likely see the data in Insights as well.
This section focuses on the search terms people typed into Google to find your business. The numbers under Search Queries might appear smaller than other metrics you see in Insights for the following reasons:
- Unlike all the other data inside Google My Business Insights, Search Queries are showing the number of unique users.
- It only includes queries that meet Google’s privacy threshold.
Does Insights Data Include Data From Google Ads?
Yes. If a business has an Google Ads account that has Location Extensions added, the users will be taken to to the Google My Business listing when they click on the extension.
When a user clicks on the ad in the 3–pack the person would get taken to the GMB listing (not the website). Clicking on the listing would count as a search in Google My Business Insights. If the listing shows up as an ad and then also as a listing organically in the 3-pack, it would count as 2 searches (impressions) in GMB Insights.
There is currently no way to track Google Ads data separately from regular organic data in the GMB Insights section so my recommendation would be to add a call tracking number in the Google Ads Location Extension field in the Google My Business dashboard so you can accurately track the calls from ads.
Does Google My Business Insights Data Include Voice Searches?
If someone searches for a plumber near them on their Google Home or using the Google Assistant, is this counted in Google My Business Insights? The current answer is no. The data only includes visual searches.