Free Business Insights and Analytics

One of the most surprising benefits of claiming your Google My Business listing is that you can uncover a goldmine of information about how people interact with your business online.

The data that Google gives you in their Insights feature can help you improve your marketing, keep tabs on competitors, and even discover new revenue streams.

Perhaps most importantly, by keeping track of your insights over time, you can make small changes and see how they help you grow. Below are the key points you should know to take full advantage of Insights.

Where to Find Insights

By this point, you are probably becoming familiar with the Google My Business dashboard. Just in case you haven’t seen Insights yet, you can see a summary section with limited data on the main dashboard screen. These metrics are too high-level to really be helpful, so we would recommend navigating to the full Insights section in the main menu.

Google also knows business owners are busy. If you find it difficult to log into Google My Business to view your Insights regularly, you will still receive snapshots of your data in regular email updates.

How to Find Insights Google My Business

How Customers Find You

There are four ways for customers to find you:

  • Direct Searches: Searches that occur a customer is looking specifically for your business name or address.
  • Discovery Searches: Searches that occur when someone is looking for your category (e.g. plumber  in Paducah) or a product or service you offer and your profile appeared in response. This is a valuable metric to track because most of the people making discovery searches will be new customers.
  • Branded Searches: Searches that occur when someone is looking for brands you sell. Keep in mind that you likely won’t be the only business profile that shows up for these searches. If you and your competitors sell the same brand-name products, customers could see both of your businesses. (If you’ve followed the steps leading up to this point and optimized your Google My Business listing, you will hopefully win these customers over!)
  • Total searches:  This is just the sum of the three types of searches. Google sometimes calls it “All Searches” as well.

Over time, if you manage your profile well, you’ll start showing up in more of the Discovery searches. Completing your profile, collecting positive reviews, and consistently creating Posts are all signals to Google that you are a business worth displaying to potential customers. And once again: This is free! You aren’t paying for this valuable traffic … it’s practically just a reward for using Google’s tools.

Search and Discovery Insights Google My Business

Where Customers Find You

The first Insight you should start tracking reveals which Google products people are using to find your listing. Understanding whether you are winning customers through Google Maps or Google Search can help you track and optimize your buyer’s journey.

For instance, people are predominantly finding you through Maps, they might be skipping your website altogether and missing crucial information. Enabling messaging on your profile could help these customers get the answers they need before they arrive at your front door.

Where Customers View Your Business Google My Business

Customer Actions

The Customer Actions Insight tells you what people do immediately after viewing your Google My Business profile. Using this data, you can measure how the changes you make to your profile affect your customer interactions. As of this writing, Google is also rolling out a “Call History” feature that makes it easier to attribute how many of your inbound calls resulted from your listing.

Google My Business Insights

Customer Directions

The Customer Directions Insight is a great way to map your service area. If you find that people are traveling from a nearby town, for example, it might indicate that you should focus more of your marketing budget in that community. You may even decide to open an additional location in that area.

Service Area Google My Business

Customer Phone Calls

Google’s phone call data is valuable because it can reveal when customers expect your business to be open. Perhaps you close at 6 p.m. but get a lot of calls between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. This Insight would tell you that you may want to expand your hours to better serve your customers or increase sales.

Look at phone calls as an expression of intent from would-be customers. You can make data-backed decisions about your schedule if you pay attention to this Insight.

Time of Day Phone Calls Google My Business
Call Time of Day Google My Business

Popular Times

The Popular Times Insight is useful for customers who want to avoid large crowds or long lines, but it can also be helpful for business owners. Think of this Insight as a “traffic report” that people see when they view your Google My Business listing.

If you notice that Google perceives that you are really busy at a given time, you can focus on streamlining your customer service during those hours. This Insight can offer validation for the “hunches” you already have about the cycles of your business. If your restaurant is empty on Mondays after 6 p.m., it might make sense to manage your expenses down by closing earlier for example. Just keep in mind that this data is used by potential customers when they are choosing where to go to make purchases.

Popular Times Google My Business

Photo Views

There’s another section towards the bottom of your Insights and it has to do with photos. We think Photos are great. We wrote a whole section about how to use them and we think most businesses do not do enough with them.

But as of June 2021, we’re pretty skeptical that this data is useful. Every profile we’ve seen shows “businesses like yours” get way more views than your own business. We suspect it has something to do with the way Google categorizes and compares certain kinds of businesses. Many businesses simply don’t need that many photos, while others (like restaurants) get tons of photos.

Use photos as creatively as you can, but don’t agonize over these numbers if Google suggests your photos aren’t that great relative to “businesses like yours.”

Business Like Yours Photo Views Google My Business