While Matomo shows your analytics within a single date range by default, you can also compare date ranges. This is useful for understanding differences between arbitrary date ranges. For example, comparing the most recent month with the prior month, or the even same month in a prior year.
Date Comparison Use Cases
The date comparison feature can be useful for many reasons, but it really stands out with non-linear comparisons. For example, if you run an annual black Friday sale, you can compare your website traffic during the months where your sale is active each year. Comparing traffic during similar times allows you to see whether you’re improving year over year. Alternatively, comparing the sale month with the prior month without a sale will give an indication of the impact it has on your traffic.
However, you are not restricted to comparisons that follow simple calendar months. You can also select custom date ranges. For example, if you sent a mail campaign in the second week of August this year, but sent one in the first week of March the prior year, you can compare those dates. The comparison of these custom date ranges might show that one month generates a better response. To ensure you can remember specific campaign dates, you should also make use of annotations so you can easily see them within Matomo.
Understanding the date range comparison options
When enabling date range comparisons within a report, there are three different ranges available.
This option will compare your selected data with the directly preceding period. If you have selected a day, it will compare with the previous day, or if you have chosen a month, then it will compare with the previous month, and so on. This option is useful for reviewing shorter-term growth trends and the immediate impact of website changes.
This option compares data from your selected date range with the data from the same period of the previous year. This kind of reporting is especially useful for seasonal businesses where month-to-month growth may not be relevant. An example might be an ice rink that is only open for a few months a year. Comparing the first operating month of each year, to the same month of the prior year can provide feedback on pre-season marketing.
This option allows you to set any reporting period. This feature can be useful if you’d like to compare marketing campaigns that happen on an irregular schedule. For example, you might run an offline promotion at a few different times of the year, and want to review the online impact within those periods.
How to configure date comparisons
- To select date ranges for comparison, begin by visiting a report that contains data you want to compare.
- Click the button showing the date to open the date selector.
- Click the Compare to: checkbox and a green tick will show comparisons are enabled.
- Within the dropdown, select either Previous period, Previous year or Custom to use any date range.
- Click the big green Apply button and the reports will reload within both ranges charted.