Using the built in visualization tools in Google Analytics is like kissing your sister. Sometimes necessary, never a treat.
Instead of relying on those built in Google Analytics tools, an integration with infographics builder Visual.ly will allow for more polished visualizations.
Google Graphics in Style
People are inherently visual, so when data can be transformed into a simple and to the point layout, it just becomes easier to think about and understand. While Google Analytics is obviously popular and efficient, when it comes to reports, it's not very sexy.
Visual.ly, a website dedicated to building handy works of info-tainment, now links directly to a Google Analytics account so data can be pushed right into a much more palatable design. It's not that we don't like Google's overall minimalist design aesthetic, but for data graphics, this is a welcome development.
Weekly Google Analytics reports go right to the inbox replete with Visual.ly infographic design.
Free Tool a Good Start
Visual.ly provides a spiffed up version of a weekly Google Analytics report via email. The information in the report is not, however, extensive. It's basic, and other formats like daily or biweekly reports are not available. Premium Google Analytics account users, for example, may not find this tool as useful because it doesn't inlcude the custom variables associated with those kind of accounts.
Overall, Visual.ly is good for building infographics using data from Facebook and Twitter. Like the Google Analytics integration, data from those social media sites can be plugged directly into a preset design, and out pops the finished graphic.
The Visual.ly website also acts as a sort of marketplace for designers, a hub where companies can check out their work and maybe bring them on to help with a more complex project. Additionally, infographics can be built and displayed right on the Visual.ly website for others to comment on, like and share.
There are several kinds of these infographic editors online, and some are better for different kinds of data. Another difference between them is simply the level of artistry needed to really make the graphics sing. Some have better tools, for example, more intuitive controls and a wider variety of templates. Some examples are Easel.ly, Infogr.am, Piktochart and TimelineJS.
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