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Announcing: Improved report usage metrics in modern workspaces

Headshot of article author Kay Unkroth

Today, we are excited to announce the release of a new and improved usage report for Power BI reports in modern workspaces. If you are a Power BI report author, you probably know the existing usage metrics report. Beyond the capabilities of the existing report, which shows you how your reports are being used, who’s using them, and whether they are accessed via the web or mobile app, the new and improved usage metrics now also enable you to keep an eye on report performance. For example, you can determine the typical report opening time broken down by consumption method and browser type. The following screenshot shows the new Report performance page for a sample report.

As the above screenshot indicates, you can launch the new and improved usage metrics report, by clicking on the Usage metrics option in your Power BI report’s ellipses menu (…). You must also switch the New usage report toggle in the upper right corner from ‘off’ to ‘on’. Note that this toggle is only available for usage metrics reports in modern workspaces. You only need to toggle this switch once because the setting applies to your user account across all your modern workspaces. Reports in legacy workspaces, on the other hand, cannot take advantage of improved usage metrics.

Note: You can verify the workspace type by opening a workspace’s ellipses menu (…) in the left-hand navigation bar of Power BI. Modern workspaces provide menu options labeled Workspace settings and Workspace access, while legacy workspaces show different menu options.

Comparing the old and new usage metrics report, you will find that the Report usage pages both show unique viewers and ranking. However, it is important to call out that the measures—and therefore the displayed results—are fundamentally different between old and new. This is because the old and new usage metrics use different definitions and methods to track report usage. The old usage metrics report relied on client-side instrumentation and tracked every report page transition as a separate report view. The new usage metrics report relies on the ViewReport activity event in the Power BI service to count report views. The new usage metrics report tracks page views separately. Accordingly, the report view count is typically smaller in the new usage report. If you want to see which report pages your users work with the most, then on the Report usage page, click on Pages in the lower right area. The following diagram illustrates the difference between report views and page views in the new and improved usage metrics report.

Relying on the ViewReport activity event in the new and improved usage metrics report has several advantages. For starters, the report now tracks report open requests (i.e. views) with a clear, reliable, and comprehensible criterion. Regardless of client environment (such as direct Power BI, embedded Power BI, or Power BI mobile), every user opening a report in the Power BI service triggers a ViewReport event. Moreover, report usage metrics and the upcoming admin usage metrics will deliver the same precise results because they rely on the same activity events. An admin exporting ViewReport events by using the new Activity Log API and analyzing the activities in a custom report will see the same results as a report author looking at a usage report. The activity events are now the single version of the truth. For details about the recent release of the Activity Log API and cmdlets, see the announcement Introducing the Power BI Activity Log on the Power BI blog.

The Report performance page in the improved usage metrics report is probably the most exciting new feature. Among other things, you can see the opening times for your reports by day and by a rolling 7-day window. There is also a trend indicator to help you recognize possible performance issues. Make sure you check the Report performance page frequently following report modifications and optimizations.

Another advantage of the new and improved usage metrics report is better support for customizability. You can create a copy of the usage report, create a new report directly in the Power BI portal or connect to the underlying Usage Metrics Report dataset in Power BI Desktop, and analyze the data in Excel. Analyze in Excel is available to Power BI Pro users for both old and new usage metrics, but the old usage metrics only offer ViewersCount and ViewsCount measures, so you can only analyze viewer and view counts by date, distribution method, platforms, users, and so forth. In contrast, the new and improved usage metrics report is designed with Analyze in Excel in mind.  In addition to viewer and view measures and some helper functions, the new Usage Metrics Report dataset offers measures for load times, trends, and workspace stats. In total, there are almost 50 measures in the new usage metrics report. More measures give you more flexibility to create meaningful custom usage reporting solutions for a report or workspace. The below screenshot shows an example of a custom usage report for an entire workspace, built by using Analyze in Excel.

And that’s it for a quick introduction of the new and improved usage metrics report. For more information, check out the FAQ page in the new usage report. Among other things, it explains how ranking and performance trends are calculated. Of course, you can also find detailed information about the Usage and Performance pages in the product documentation. A subsequent blog article is going to go deeper into the design of the underlying dataset, cover the measure definitions, and explain in more detail how to create custom usage reports that can help to answer additional questions you may have about the usage of your reports within a workspace in Power BI. So stay tuned for more information about the new and improved usage metrics on the Power BI blog!