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About site analytics and the Insights dashboard

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OpenCities Product Team

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Once your site has gone live, it's essential to stay informed on how your site is performing, how people are using it, and where you can improve your content or information architecture. You can use information from Google Analytics to capture a variety of data about your site. There are two ways you can do this, and both require a connection with Google Analytics:

  1. View your data directly in Google Analytics.
  2. Use the Insights dashboard to see snapshots of important data from Google Analytics.

To learn what you can do in Google Analytics, you'll need to visit the Google Analytics help center.

About the Insights dashboard

The Insights dashboard takes data from Google Analytics and gives you information about what visitors are doing to understand how your site is performing.

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The dashboard can give you information about:

  • Most popular pages
  • Data about different device use
  • Peak traffic times in the last 48 hours
  • How many visitors are currently on your site
  • Underperforming searches
  • Top task recommendations and trending pages

You can also use the Share button to share the Insights dashboard with stakeholders, such as managers or executives, to share information about how the site is performing.

The Insights dashboard consists of several cards, which give different information about your site. Users with the OC Site Manager or OC System Administrator roles can hide, show or configure these cards. They can show or hide cards from users without admin permissions by selecting the eye icon in the top-right corner of each card.

You can also access the configuration settings by selecting the pen icon in the top-right corner of each card, which will allow you to change the name of the card and further configure some of them. The table below will detail which cards can be configured.

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Insights cards

The Insights dashboard comprises the following cards, each of which measures a different metric. Site managers and system admins can further configure some of the cards.

Card Function
Visitors on the site right now

Use this card to gain a snapshot of how many visitors are currently on your site. This card:

  • Displays the current visitors on your site and updates every 30 seconds.
  • Visitor numbers can be broken down into desktop, tablet, and mobile users.
Visitors timeline

You can use this card to understand usage patterns better and shift or edit content accordingly. For example, large amounts of mobile traffic to a page indicates the need for short, readable content and easily visible calls to action. This card:

  • Displays site visitors over the past 48 hours.
  • Visitor numbers can be broken down into desktop, tablet, and mobile users.
Most popular pages

You can use this card to get a general understanding of the content your residents are interested in and which pages they are visiting. This card:

  • Lists the ten most popular pages across your site for a period. 
  • Site managers and system admins can configure this card using the Time range dropdown menu to select the period given. By default, it is set to 48 hours. 
Page helpfulness

This card collates data from the page feedback form to identify pain points and improve the content on the pages that need it. This card will only gather information for content types with page feedback enabled. 

  • Displays data collected from page feedback forms.
  • Only pages that receive feedback are included in this metric.
  • Site managers and system admins can configure two aspects of this card:
    1. Use the Rating values field to assign a weighting to the feedback your pages receive. You can set a value for each response between 0-1. By default, positive feedback gets a value of 1, negative feedback receives 0, and "maybe" feedback receives 0.5. If you've assigned your own feedback questions, you need to give them similar values so they'll be ranked correctly. Additionally, you may choose to disregard specific responses (such as a "somewhat helpful" response) by checking Don't include this value.
    2. Use the Time range dropdown menu to select the period that feedback is gathered. Note that page feedback tends to come in more slowly than other metrics, so it's best to set a longer period, like 6-12 months.
Top Tasks vs trending pages

Use this card to compare performance for your homepage Top Tasks and other pages on your site. You can use this information to determine whether you need to change your Top Tasks. This card:

  • Collects and compares data on the performance of your homepage Top Tasks with the performance of other pages on your site.
  • Shows the Unique views and Page rank for your Top tasks and your trending pages.
  • Please note that this card measures page views not clicks on the top tasks, and will only display data for pages on the current site, not for any subsites or external sites. A user must select a top task and then land on that page to include the metric.
  • Site managers and system admins can configure two aspects of this card:
    1. Use the Time range dropdown menu to select the period across which popularity data is sampled. We recommend setting a longer period, as you want to see your most consistently popular pages.
    2. Use the Content type to include predictive text field to select the content types to include in the trending column. This is useful if you decided to show a particular content type in your top tasks (such as OC Service pages), as you can get an accurate comparison of your services.
Popular searches

Use this card with other search metric cards to understand and evaluate what content residents are searching for and meet their needs. This card:

  • Displays the ten most popular searches made through your site’s search bar and listing search bars.
  • Site managers and system admins can configure this card using the Time range dropdown menu to select the period given. 
  • Note: this card can take a little while to populate after enabling it. If you don't see data after a few weeks, double-check that you've enabled search tracking in Google Analytics
Search with no results

Use this card to understand keywords that residents are searching for. This can give you information about content gaps and alternative keywords residents are searching for, which you can use to create Best Bets. This card:

  • Displays the ten most popular searches made through your site’s search bar and listing search bars that have had no results.
  • Site managers and system admins can use the Time Range dropdown menu to adjust the duration sample of these results. We recommend setting a sample period of at least three months to collate strong data on where new content is required. 
Low performing searches

Use this card to gather data on search results that don't result in viewed pages. You can use this data to redevelop site content or information architecture or create Best Bets to redirect site traffic. This card:

  • Displays the ten most popular internal searches that provide low-performing results (pages are not viewed after they are returned in a search).
  • Site managers and system admins can use the Time Range dropdown menu to adjust the duration sample of these results.
  • Note: this card can take a little while to populate after enabling it. If you still don't see data here after a few weeks, double-check that you've enabled search tracking in Google Analytics

What next?

Before you start using your Insights dashboard, you'll need to:

  1. Connect your OpenCities site with Google Analytics
  2. Set up the Insights dashboard
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