Local Search Expert
Sep 12, 2012
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Now, honestly, I've been ignoring the threads on here about the GMB analytics updates. I've seen a lot of these updates over the years and they almost always seem unreliable or tell you less than nothing.

However, when I log in today, I was very, very surprised at what I saw:

GMB Analytics.jpg

There are some pretty interesting data mines here.

First, there is no other place to find your branded searches vs non-branded searches data anymore. You use to be able to piece it together from Google Analytics data but then Google did away with that with the "not provided" update. You could try to piece it together through Webmaster tools based on modeling but considering how incomplete GWT's search analytics data is, I wouldn't trust it much.

But now with "How customers search for your business" here is a way to at least to get a little help.

Here are a few of my takeaways:

There's no way these are clicks, they have to be impressions. Which tells you almost next to nothing. The "direct" search might as well be a click so they are somewhat helpful, but "discovery" makes me think you're one of the 20 businesses that shows up in the local finder. Who cares?

I'd love to hear more thoughts on what you're doing with this specific data set.

Second, "Where customers view your business on Google".

Do you think this data is accurate?

Based on the sheer amount of volume, it looks like this has to be impressions, not clicks. If so, this again says next to nothing for us really except that we're ranking better organically than on maps.

Are you trusting this data? Any insights (pun intended) that I'm missing?

Third, "Customer Actions" is a bit more intriguing.

156 people visited our website? Google Analytics says it's way more than that. Maybe that was just through our GMB listing? Are these uniques? Probably not.

492 people requested directions to us? That's a lot of people. Are those uniques? If so, that's a lot. If not, I can see that data being accurate for us.

135 calls? Sheesh, I sure hope so. No real way to know if they are new or previous customers except at the point of contact. So without knowing if these were branded searches that led to calls or unbranded searches, doesn't really tell you much again.

9.61k photo views? Not sure how that's even possible...


Anyways, my whole takeaway from this is...I'm disappointed again. It looks like GMB is telling us just enough to get local businesses excited at their stats but for us pros, we know the truth. Little to no substance.

But I would love for any of you guys to poke some holes in this for me. I'd rather know the truth.

Have you found your dashboard stats to be realistic?

Are you more optimistic about having access to this data n

And can anyone confirm from Google that these stats are somewhat legitimate?

GMB Analytics.jpg

Eric Rohrback

Oct 3, 2012
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I had to dig a little for this (couldn't remember if it was SEL, SEW, SEJ... they're all the same at this point), but Andrew Shotland wrote a really nice article detailing what you're talking about - How do you deal with local SEO KPIs that don't pass the smell test?


Don't focus on data from these tools, focus on what really matters for your client. Educate them on what the data means, but don't lead them to believe these are 100% accurate and can be trusted. They're to be used a guidance, not absolutes. :)

Adam Potaznik

Jan 26, 2016
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Photo views in general puzzle me. In my goal of reaching Level 4 local guide to get 2TB of drive storage for 2 years, I took about 140 photos of exterior shots of local businesses in Melbourne, Australia. In nine months these have garnered a combined 1.5 million "views" when looking at Your Contributions in Maps.

I don't know how a steel picket manufacturer got 854 views in 50 days. It's plausible though.

Franchises definitely get more views, Boost Juice (like Jamba Juice) however local businesses with common words also get heaps of views Nashi SANDWICH and COFFEE bar, The CHICKEN bar. Top shop (80k) and Target (30k) in six months is decent.

I took one photo with the fisheye lense I use for creating virtual tours and it got 28k views for a cool little sandwich place called Mason Dixon, which is a lot compared to the rest.

Mobile Essentials, a crappy little shop that just sells chinese cases for smartphones and tablet accessories (you know the ones) but is in a great location, Emporium mall, got 43k views. But right next door, Timberland concept store is still on 10k.

Going back to keywords, I think it really does matter for photo views because a little beauty shop which is nothing special to look at, but has the name of large popular mall in the title is on 134k views (Essential Beauty Melbourne Central) but Witchery a famous brand is still on 1,764 and Rodd & Gun has 650. Aesop on 878, Oroton 1,976.

So make what you will of those numbers.

Personally I would love to see more local analytics as long as they are accurate. However it would likely only be useful for myself, as convincing business owners to even value local SEO is still a struggle in general.


Dec 12, 2013
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Great post.

I am intrigued by the numbers. I would LOVE IT if the discovery numbers could be better understood - and better, if you could show trends so that you can prove what you have done.

I think your instincts are correct, the discovery number is probably impressions. The percentage of discover traffic doesn't really come close to match what I see in WMT. So, I think you are right, it has to come from something other than the local 3 pack.


LocalU Faculty
Top Poster Of Month
Jul 18, 2012
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I agree that the new Insights are hard to make sense of and I think Andrew's article did a fabulous job of showing the discrepancies between platforms.
I asked Google some specifics about the data and posted the answers on this article: How to Interpret Google My Business (GMB) Insights


Apr 4, 2016
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Anyone else seeing a drastic drop in photo views in the customer actions section? Not seeing a corresponding drop in visits, calls or directions. I'm curious to know what was the cause of the steep drop in photo views without recovery.
Drop occurs post Oct. 20th. photo views drop.jpg
Saw two other accounts in which the photo drop happened a few days post-Possum. Any ideas?

photo views drop.jpg
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