How to read your Google My Business Insights

August 26th, 2016

Google has 3 tools that are worth using to measure your online presence. Google Analytics tells you how people are using your website. Google Search Console tells you how Google is using your website, and Google My Business Insights tracks how your business shows up in Maps.

This article will focus on Google My Business Insights. This is where you find out about every time your business shows up in a Google map search, in the 3-pack, or in the knowledge panel. It also measures how many times people clicked on your website, how many mobile phone users clicked on your phone number to call, driving directions, and more. This tool just had a huge update this month, so even if you’re already familiar with it, it’s worth taking a minute to learn the new layout and options.

To access Google My Business Insights, go to and sign in using the email and password you used when you claimed you business.

The numbers here aren’t always 100% accurate, and you don’t need to watch like a hawk. Log in once a month to get a feel for how things are going, and pay more attention if you’re actively working on your SEO and getting your work published.

I’m going to explain how Google My Business Insights works, why it matters, plus a few tips on how to make the best use of what you see.

How Customers Search for your Business:

This chart shows how your business appeared in search results (not if someone actually clicked on your business website). It breaks it down into two categories:

Google My Business Insights Graph - how customers look for your business

Direct: This measures how often you show up when someone searches by brand name. In other words, this number shows people who already know about you and are looking you up by name.
Discovery: This number measures how your SEO efforts are working. It counts how many times people saw you in Google maps or in the 3-pack for searches like “Wedding Photographer” “photographers near me” and so on.

Where Customers View your Business on Google

Google My Business Insights Graph - Where Customers view your business on Google

This graph can be a little confusing. Notice if you hover over, in this case it says “53” search views that day, but the graph is up near a hundred. That’s because it adds the two together (it added the search views and map views together). If you don’t want to be confused by that, you can uncheck one of the boxes and look at the other by itself.

This shows you how many people saw you on, and how many on In normal human language, the Search is whenever someone sees your knowledge panel, sees you in the 3-pack, or sees you after clicking on “more places” below the 3-pack. Maps is whenever someone finds you after doing a search directly in Google maps.

Customer Actions

Google My Business Insights Graph - Customers Actions

This graph is cumulative as well, the number on the graph for any given day is all the checked items for the day added together.

This graph tells you how many people actually interacted with your business listing. Clicking on your website, clicking to call (on a mobile phone) requesting driving directions, or looking at your photos. There’s a few interesting things to note, thanks to Joy Hawkins for asking Google for clarification on some of these points.

Driving Directions:
If you have enough people looking up directions to come see you, this shows you what part of the city they were in when they did the search.

Phone Calls:
This number won’t match the number in the ‘actions’ graph above, since this graph (by default) shows the last 4 weeks, while the one above shows the last 30 days.

Using this information

Google doesn’t give you a lot of control over how you view all this. Compared to Google Analytics, it’s really bare bones. There’s a few important questions you can answer using Google My Business Insights though:

Are your SEO efforts paying off? Ultimately, getting more bookings is the real number you want to see move up, but how your website shows in the organic results, and how your business shows in the local results are an important sign of how things are going. Look at your “Discovery” number on the top graph, and see how that changes month-to-month. If it goes up, then you’re doing good. Keep in mind you’re going to see a natural dip heading towards winter, and a rise heading into summer, just because the number of people looking for a wedding photographer is seasonal.

Do you need to improve your business profile?
One of the best reasons to build reviews, is because it makes it much more likely that someone will stop and take a look at your portfolio if they find you in the search results. If you’ve been building reviews lately (especially if you just recently got the magic 5th review that gets you your stars) you should see the number of actions go up. To decide if your business profile needs improving, look at the “customer actions” graph, and see how many calls and website clicks you’re getting. If you’re getting a lot of discoveries in your first graph, and very few calls and website clicks, then you should work on getting more reviews and make sure you have good images uploaded to your profile. Remember to click the photos check box in the customer actions graph so you can actually see your calls and website clicks.

How does your business fare now versus this month last year?
The Wedding business is very seasonal, so it’s not really fair to compare how you’re doing now to how you were doing last month. If you hold steady from September to October, that might mean you’ve been doing a great job, because there are less people looking for wedding photographers in the winter.

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t actually let you compare to last year. You can only look at the last 7 days, the last 30 days, or the last 90 days. If you plan on investing in your SEO, it’s important to know how you’re actually doing, so it’s worth it to make a spreadsheet and save one particular number on the first of every month: your discoveries from the top graph. Just log in, note down the number of discovery views you had in the last 30 days. If you want to save everything, here’s how you export all the data from Google My Business Insights into a spreadsheet for later.

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