Data & Analytics

How To Use The Time Lag Report in Google Analytics

How long did it take for a customer to convert? Knowing that answer can help your remarketing and creating a better experience with your brand. Learn how and why we use the Time Lag Report in Google Analytics to make brands shine.


Video Transcription Below. Enjoy and don’t forget to leave your comments below.


Good Morning.

My name is Duane and hello from beautiful Montreal. You may remember me from such conference stages as MozCon, BrightonSEO, HeroConf and SMX.


Today I want to talk about the often unused Time Lag Report in Google Analytics. Last time we talked about the Multi-Channel Funnel report and in the future we are going to talk about the Path Length report to end our Google Analytics series.


Similar to the Multi-Channel Funnel, you are going to want to tweak the settings on the Time Lag Report to fit your needs and get the most out of how you use it. The default settings in Google Analytics is rarely something you want to leave as is. You want to make sure you customize your settings to fit your needs and business use case.


Setting Up The Time Lag Report

Even though you don’t have to setup any custom settings to use the report. There are some tweaks you should always make to the settings.

  1. Pick you conversion. By default Google will have all your goals selected. Unselect all the goals that doesn’t matter to you.
  2. Pick your Type, which should be All instead of Google Ads. I would only pick Google Ads if I was building remarketing lists that only had a Google ads traffic as a  source.
  3. Move your sliders to 60 days. We pick 60 days as all our conversion tracking for clients is set to 60 days as a standard. Google Analytics by defaults does 60 days out of the box. It’s good to have all your conversion tracking set to a similar look back window.

Once you change those 3 settings, you are good to go.


Using The The Time Lag Report In Google Analytics

The Time Lag Report is great for understand how you customers visit your site and when they convert. Most customers will visit your site more than once before they convert. They may see and click a display ads, then come through an organic link and finally see a Facebook ad before converting. Knowing this will help with your remarketing, email marketing and even what your sales team does.



How many times have you looked at a product and then been chased around the Internet by ads for that brand? I’m looking at Harry’s razor…I love the product as a customer but there ads won’t stop following me around the internet.

One way the time lag report can help with this is showing you how many days between someone clicking on an ad and converting. If you know most people convert within 3 days of clicking on an ad, then test out a 4 or 5 day remarketing lists with your next campaign. You can also look at frequency capping your remarketing as well.


If you know a lot of people converting within 3 days but you also see a spike of people converting at 20 days and even 45 – 50 days. Those are remarketing lists you can build out ot test not showing someone an ad between days 4 – 18. Then start showing someone ads again at 19 days to remind them about your brand. This would go a long way to helping your brand stand out and not annoy people.


Also, make sure you create a remarketing list of people how have purchased your product and exclude them as an audience list to make sure you don’t keep showing them ads when they have bought the product.


Email Marketing

Your email marketing is going to be no different. Following the example above, if you know people buy on the 20th day and you have their email address. Send a reminder email about what they left in a shopping cart on day 18 or 19. Email marketing is a lot harder as there could be a host of reasons why someone left an item in their shopping card but it’s always worth testing to see if you can get more people to buy who have a genuine interest.


Sales Team

If you have your conversion value data in Google Analytics, one thing we look at is spikes in the average order value (AOV) in the time lag report. If we see that people at day 20 make a larger purchase then those at day 3. Is there an opportunity for your sales team to follow up with higher value leads within 3 weeks of being on your site. More sites have the ability to know who we are and what we are looking at on their site than ever before.


Making sure your marketing and sales teams have access to the same data and can use out of the box reports like time lag can help your brand create a more delightful experience. That is it for this week. See you next time.

Author Info

Duane Brown

Food Nerd. Wanderluster: 40 countries. Marketer. [Report] #PaidMedia 2019 Salaries:

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