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March 28, 2022

How To Interpret Google Business Profile Insights

Google Business Profile (GBP) is probably the single most valuable tool for those businesses that rely on their online presence to attract customers

I am a huge advocate of GBP (previously called Google My Business) because it provides an extensive array of important insights.  It’s also customisable, really easy to use and free!  However, to get the full benefit of this tool, you do really need to interpret the insights properly.

This article unpacks each of the sections of Google My Profile and answers all your questions about how to interpret the insights.  Plus you’ll get some great insider tips too!

Finding Your Google Business Profile Insights

First of all, log into your Google My Business account, you need to go directly to and login. The insights tab is on the left navigation.

If you’re new to using Google Business Profile, my free Beginners Guide to Google My Business will get you started.

How Customers Search for Your Business 

This chart reports on impressions, not clicks and includes direct, discovery and branded searches.  Note that an impression is when a user only sees an advertisement, and a click – or engagement – is when they take action on the ad.

What’s the Difference Between Branded, Direct and Discovery Searches?

A branded search is when someone searches for a particular brand that is related to your business and which is sold by other businesses too.  The search will return a set of results, including your website.

A direct search is when a user searches for your business by its name or address.  The search will return a knowledge panel of your business.  These users are often people who already know your business name and may well be existing customers, so you should really attribute the majority of these impressions to a combination of your marketing activities.

A discovery search is when someone is searching generic categories for a product or service (eg skin clinic near me, best pizza near me etc).  Your listing is included in the results.  Your SEO efforts will have a significant impact on this type of impression.

Where Customers View Your Business on Google 

It’s best to interpret this data by clicking on each box separately, ie Search or Maps.  If you look at the graph when both boxes are checked, the data is cumulative and this makes things a bit confusing.

These views in Insights are recorded as the number of unique visitors to your profile.  It’s important to note that a user will only be counted once a day, even if they use different devices or multiple platforms to visit your Google Business Profile.  This number will generally be lower than the overall number of views you find on GBP and in email notifications.  But don’t panic when you see this discrepancy!  It’s just because GBP Insights deals with unique visitors.

Tip:  This is a great metric for fine-tuning your marketing strategies which boost your exposure.  You should check it on a regular basis.

This is an example of a listing in search

There is an example of listing on Google Maps

Customer Actions

This section shows you where your driving directions came from, how many phone calls were made to your business and info on ‘Chat to You’ (provided you’ve set up this feature on GBP Messaging)

Driving Directions   

Here you can see details of where direction requests came from.  A point to note is that if you’re located in a building with other businesses, Google may include driving directions to them too because they share a similar address.

Phone Calls                  

Be aware that this graph shows data for four weeks, whereas the Actions section shows data for 30 days.  To avoid confusion, a good idea is to set up a spreadsheet so you’re comparing apples with apples.  You can use this data to see when your customers are most actively contacting you to find your products or services and can then tailor your special offers and marketing promotions accordingly.

Chat to You

This is the newest feature that generates data for Insights.  Remember to set up GBP Messaging if you want Google to collect this information.  If you are using a third-party messaging service, the data generally won’t show up here and you’ll see a zero (even though you’ve been getting messages).


Photo Insights

This data includes both impressions and clicks.  That’s why you may see a disproportionately higher figure for photo views than actual visits to your site.

You also get a comparison between the number of times your business photos have been seen and how many times other photos have been viewed (eg those posted by customers).

Tip : Use these insights to gauge what your customers actually want to see.

Popular times and visit duration

Google says it uses aggregated and anonymised data from users who have opted-in to Google Location History to determine popular times, wait times and visit duration.  You can’t manually add this information to your location and it only appears if Google has sufficient visit data for your business.

If this insight does apply to your business, ‘visit duration’ will be calculated on how much foot traffic there’s been over the past couple of weeks whereas ‘popular times’ takes into account data from the past few months.

Search queries

This insight focuses on the search terms that people have typed into Google to find your business – and is probably the one that website owners are most interested in and these now only appear in the “new profile performance” tab that you can find at the top of the page.

It’s really useful in helping you target queries that give you the greatest exposure.   What’s more, you can use this information to get new keyword ideas and I recommend you keep a close eye on this particular metric because keywords do change constantly.

However, when you’re looking at this metric, don’t be surprised if the number of search queries seems fewer than other metrics which appear in Insights.

The reasons for this are:

  • Search queries are only for unique users
  • Search queries are only included if they meet Google’s privacy threshold
  • Data is not updated in real-time

A last word on interpreting Google Business Profile Insights

The Insights section on your Google Business Profile gives you a wealth of valuable information which you can use to your advantage.  Depending on the nature of your business, you’ll probably find that some metrics are more useful than others, but I highly recommend that you use them all to achieve the maximum benefit.

If your business could do with a helping hand with regards to your Google Business Profile, or if you’d like to learn more about the bigger SEO picture, have a look at my new online course, The SEO School.  The course is self-managed and really easy to follow and you’ll get practical solutions (and heaps of insider insights) that you can implement into your own SEO strategy as you progress through the various modules.   If this sounds like a good idea, find out more at The SEO School.

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