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NOTE: Google Business is Continually Changing and Adapting so phrases and data may vary.

The Google Business platform has grown exponentially over the past year or so. Yelp was very much the top dog for reviews, photos, and other features for businesses, but Google Business has really taken over the top spot, and rightly so! I think most businesses get very frustrated with Yelp, primarily because they allow reviews but if you get a 5 star review it can often be put in to the “filtered” section. They just say, “it’s part of our algorithm”. No rhyme or reason to it.

But as Google Business has grown, there are a lot of questions that are being asked from clients about the “Insights” portion. What do they mean? What are they telling us as a company trying to make better marketing decisions? Is it showing proper data analytics?

We will do our best to break down to the Google “Insights” to help explain what they mean.

For an educational overview of Mobile vs Desktop breakdown and the displace to track website clicks, driving directions and bookings in Google Business, please review the 2021 Google Business Insights Update.

When Searching: How Customers and Users Find Your Business



This chart is only reporting on impressions (not clicks).


In essence, this data is people that are searching for your business by name or location. We typically attribute each impression as being derived from other marketing endeavors (traditional, social), because the user has already heard about you.

A majority of these impressions are most likely existing customers as well. Confirmation from Google that impressions count in this area when search results only list a single business listing.


This entails individuals that are searching generic categories and see your listing (chiropractor near me, pizza shop near me, and so on). We can safely attribute these impressions to SEO strategies and efforts.


These are simply searches for a particular brand that your business sells that returns results, competitors may sell the same brand, so you won’t be the only one listed. Example: The keyword “JLG Equipment” is a brand that numerous businesses use to sell or rent their products.

How Do Differentiate Between Direct and Branded Searches?

On the flip side, if you move further away than your direct location and do the same search, you will get a 3-pack. This is counted as “branded”

Knowledge Panel 1


However, if you move a little further away from him and do the same search, you now get a 3-pack. This would be counted as branded.


How do Customers View your Business on Google?


When you don’t check both boxes, it can be a bit confusing. The graphic is a cumulative (the top of the graph includes the total of both numbers). So if the graph is up near 60 for July 25th and you’re thinking what the heck, when you hover over it, its saying 17, you aren’t alone. Here is actually how the numbers are seen, the total searches on Maps was 41 and the total searches on Search is 17. Thus, the total number of the two is 58, which is what the graph is showing. To make it less confusing, look at the graphs separately by checking only one box, either “Search” or “Maps”.

NOTE: As of March 4, 2021, Views in Google Business Insights are the number of unique visitors to your profile.

A user that has viewed your profile is a “unique” visitor to your profile. A user can be counted a limited number of times if they visit your Business Profile on multiple devices or platforms such as desktop vs mobile; or Google Maps vs Google Search. To breakdown the device and platform, a user can only be counted once a day. Multiple daily visits ARE NOT counted.

This metric can represent the number of unique visitors, but it may be lower than the number of “views” you see on Google Business and in email notifications.


Driving Directions

This section provides you information about where your driving directions came from if you have enough of them. Google will also provide details about which areas your driving request came from, including ah eat map. If you have a high amount of requests for driving directions, its probably because you are in a building and Google is counting these requests that were actually for other businesses within that building.


Phone Calls

Don’t be surprised if the number of calls shown in the graph don’t match the number under “Customer Actions”. This graph shows 4 weeks, the actions section shows 30 days.

Chat To You

This is a newer feature that has been gaining some steam over the past few months, but it appears that spammers and bots have figured this feature out rather quickly as many of you may have already seen.

You will first need to set up messaging in order to utilize the Google Business Message features and before Google will collect data to present. NOTE: If you are using a 3rd party chat feature then the insights might show 0 for this statistic.

google business 1

In this example, the business is using Podium for this feature and has been receiving messages but GB Insights shows zero.

Photo Insights
Photo Views

In this example, a church in a very small town gets an average of 20-40 photo views a day. The monthly photo views exceeds the number of people who attend the church. Google counts these photo views as “impressions” since the photo appears in the 3-pack or knowledge panel, and if a user clicks to go to the photos, these really aren’t clicks but impressions and can be misleading.

This particular section will also compare the # of times your business photos have been viewed, compared to photos from other businesses. Takeaway, they show up more prominently in the knowledge graph and/or the local 3 pack rankings.

photo views

Photo Quantity

This section compares the number of photos that appear on your business compared to the photos from other businesses within your Google Business category of products or services. As you are aware, it breaks them down by “Customer Photos” and “Owner Photos”.


Popular Times & Visit Duration

This data gets pulled into the insights section of a Google Business account that has a decent amount of foot traffic (visitors to the building or establishment). If you have “Popular Times” in the knowledge panel, then most likely will see this data in insights as well.

Visit duration is calculated differently, it is based on how much foot traffic you have received in the last few weeks where “Popular Times” is looking at the data from last few months.


Search Queries

This section focuses on the search terms that people type in to Google to find your business or within a business category in which you provide services. The numbers under Search Queries might be smaller than any other metrics you see in Insights because:

Search queries show the number of unique users
It only includes searches that meet Google’s privacy threshold

It is important to understand that the dat here is shown for “1 Quarter”, it is not representing the last 3 months. It doesn’t get updated in real-time and often will show the same data for a few weeks.


Does Google Insights Data Include Data From Google Ads?

Yes. If a business is running Google Ads that has added the Location Extension, the users will be taken to the Google Business listing whenever they click on that location extension.

If an individual (user) clicks on the ad in the 3-pack the person would get taken to the Google Business listing (not the website). Clicking on the listing would count as a search in the insights. If the listing shows up as an ad and then also as a listing organically in the 3 pack, it would count as 2 searches – impressions – on GB insights.


Does Google Business Insights Include Voice Searches?

The answer is no. For example, if a user searches for a painter near them on their Google home device or using Google Assistant, then this data isn’t counted. It only includes visual searches, bus with anything “Google” related, stay tuned!


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