How to Animate Google Analytics with Motion Charts

Data Analytics

Have you been using Motion Charts to help visualize trends and changes in your Google Analytics data? Chances are you’ve looked over this little known, rarely talked about feature in Analytics. But it actually offers an impressive articulation of relationships among multiple dimensions over time. These relationships can spot trends and help shape your marketing initiatives and campaigns. And they look cool doing it.

Why use Motion Charts in Google Analytics?

Motion Charts are simple to use and can offer valuable data insights for all users, from beginners to pros. And a lot of data trends can be compared at once. You can plot dimension values against up to four metrics and see how they change across time.

Motion Charts make it easier to identify trends that occur in your data over time. They also reveal more insights and patterns in your data — using up to five dimensions, including time — that may be difficult or impossible to see in the static line charts.

Not sure where to find the Motion Charts? They’ve been hiding under your nose the whole time. Go to Acquisition Report > All Traffic > Referrals and click the three dots on the upper right next to the line chart.

Select the button with the three dots next to time frames to access Motion Charts in Google Analytics.

How to use Motion Charts

Now let’s explore the anatomy of a Motion Chart. Each bubble represents the dimension you wish to analyze. This example uses referrals. You can select or deselect as many data points (or referrals) as you want.

Then you can add up to four metrics to analyze your preferred dimension over time.


Metrics can be included in the following graphical elements:

  • X- and Y- axes
  • Bubble color
  • Bubble size

If you prefer to only compare a few metrics, you can make the size and colors of the dots steadfast, or you can organize your x-axis alphabetically by whichever dimension you’re using, such as Referrals, AdWords keywords, etc.

Once you have your dimensions all set up, it’s time to incorporate time. Select your desired date range — a month, week, etc. — and press play to watch those dots move over that time period. You can even change the pace of the time change to better digest the shifting dynamics of your bubbles.

Certainly, this all sounds great and wonderful, but what are some of the most practical and valuable applications for these Motion Charts?

One of the best ways is to analyze PPC keyword and ad group performance over time. Often, when we’re in our AdWords accounts, we look at averages over time, rather than trends over time. Averages can lie, but with these Motion Charts, we can see precisely where some of our AdWords keywords and ad groups fail — and where they thrive.

Some key dimensions to analyze include, of course, conversions, as well as bounce rate and time on site to determine how consistently your ads are performing. This will also determine whether any noticeable trends occur throughout the month or week.

Bubble Motion Graphics Google Analytics

How to activate other Motion Chart types

In addition to a bubble chart, two other Motion Charts are available. However, these charts offer fewer metrics to compare. You can toggle between the chart types by selecting a tab in the upper right of the Motion Chart.

You can also add trails to better monitor each bubble’s movement.


The bar graph is elegant and its movements are fun; however, you can only add metrics to the x- and y-axes and to the color.


The line chart is also an interesting option, given the right data sets. But this chart only offers two metrics to compare (the y-axis and the color) and doesn’t move over time.


Motions Charts are fun and easier to use than you think. When you want to visually compare multiple metrics over time, click over from your static line charts and give them a try.

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