Treemaps: Branching Out For Success

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Treemaps?! What are they and how do they work? For those of you who are visual and like clear and concise data analysis, this is for you.

Before we get involved, here are just a few things that you ought to know about when working with Google Treemaps:

Treemaps allows a person to visually explore and identify trends in your AdWords data so they can quickly and intuitively develop a reasonable understanding about their advertising campaigns, and the relationship between differential metrics.

Like other reports in Google Analytics Treemaps effectively characterises data as rectangles. The size and colour in each rectangle represent different metrics, so that you can combine different aspects of your data into a single visualisation. Treemaps are a really effective tool as they are able to help expose the relative significance, and relationship, between different data information.



How to access and use Treemaps


To access this you will have to go to Acquisition, Adwords then Treemaps.

It’s is important to remember that each rectangle represents a single Account, Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword, or Query. The report shows Account data by default if you have multiple AdWords accounts linked to Google Analytics. It shows Campaign data by default if you have only one AdWords account linked to Google Analytics.

To navigate the data click a rectangle to move down to see the next level of the AdWords hierarchy displayed in the report. For example, if you’re looking at Campaign data, you can click a rectangle and go deeper looking at the Ad Groups in that particular Campaign.

When reading the report all metrics in this report are organised into Primary and Secondary groups. Primary metrics are volume based, like Cost or Sessions, and are represented by the rectangular size. Secondary metrics are relative, like CPC or Bounce Rate, and are represented by colour and saturation. Green is naturally positive and red is therefore negative. The darker the green, the better the secondary metric, and the darker the red, the worse the secondary metric.

To select these use the drop-down menus above the report to select different Primary and Secondary metrics. You can only select one Primary and one Secondary metric at a time.

From these two areas of data standpoints, you can start to form a decent hypotheses, therefore which campaigns should you expand, because their (per session value is high), or which campaigns should you focus on because they deliver the most revenue in absolute terms.

Use the drop-down menus above the report to select different Primary and Secondary metrics. You can only select one Primary and one Secondary metric at a time.


The downsides


Here are some key points that are not so favourable to Treemaps and, in my opinion, certain key areas that should have been thought out prior to going live with this kind of reporting platform.

This report is only available if the Google Analytics property is linked to one or more AdWords accounts. The Treemaps visualisation is currently only available for the AdWords reporting within Google Analytics. You must have one or more AdWords account linked to your Google Analytics account to see the data in this report.

It is only available for web reporting views. This report is not available in other types of reporting views, like mobile app views this is a shame.

Treemaps only display up to 16 rectangles at a particular time. If you have more than 15 entities to display in the treemap, the first 15 appear as individual rectangles and the rest are lumped together.

Segmentation is not supported in the Treemaps report. AdWords metrics are not compatible with Google Analytics segmentation. Because the Treemaps report uses on AdWords metrics therefore segmentation is not available. Not so smart in my opinion.


Conclusion



All in all this reporting is very useful but could be greatly improved, despite contributing much value it leaves room for misinterpretation and confusion for the novice analyst.

However once the report is understand it can be a useful tool in your data arsenal.

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Thank you.

Image credit: Flickr

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