If you have to run a report in Google Analytics that shows traffic over time, you’ll need to use a custom report. Custom reports allow you to choose Month of Year from the Dimension drop-down. Then all you have to do is choose your date range, and the report will break down traffic by month. There are a couple gotchas along the way, which I point out in this short, three-minute video.
One caveat to be aware of though is the formatting for Month of Year is jacked up. So you’ll need to take a few additional steps to format them as dates in Excel.
If you want to learn more about working with custom reports in Google Analytics, check out the other video I did demonstrating one and this post describing how to create a pivot table-friendly custom report in GA. Of course, you’ll need to know how to use pivot tables in Excel for that second post to be of value. If you don’t, I provide a soup-to-nuts video tutorial on how to create and work with pivot tables here.
I rarely ever work with standard reports anymore. And neither will you when you see how much more powerful custom reports are, especially because they include report filters. If you ever have to choose between working with a filter or advanced segment, choose filter every time to avoid sampling.