What the New Google Analytics Features Mean for Your Business
Continuing to tread on the territory of the major paid analytics vendors, Google Analytics just announced a number of new features that raise it to yet another level. These powerful, time-saving additions allow you to spend more time analyzing and interpreting your site’s performance, and less time foraging though the data.
Among the major additions are; automated and custom alerts based on significant changes in your data, advanced table filtering, expanded mobile reporting, the ability to share advanced segments, and more.
What do these new features mean for your business? Quite a bit. Read on for the details.Engagement Goals
You’ve always been able to set goals for transactions such as purchases, downloads, leads and so on, and then determine which traffic sources or site content are top performers. However, sometimes a site’s goals are simply to increase engagement with the site and are not transactional in the traditional sense.
Now you can measure the engagement and branding success of your site by setting thresholds for Time on Site and Pages per Visit.
Example: For your software product marketing site you determine that a Page per Visit rate of 10 or more indicates high engagement with your content and significant interest in your product. With this Page per Visit threshold set, you’re now able to monitor whether recent content cross promotion efforts are positively or negatively affecting this new and important metric.
View the Google video:
Expanded Mobile Reporting
With mobile marketing maturing rapidly, and applications growing in number exponentially, this is a very timely addition.
iPhone and Android app developers, rejoice! You’ll be able to use your favorite free analytics tool to gauge your apps performance as well.
Example: You’ve just launched a new location-based app, which makes restaurant recommendations. Until recently, you could only track downloads and general feedback. Now you can uncover usability issues, and the most popular screens and features within the app to guide its improvements.
Advanced Analysis Features
Want to know which organic keywords are your top performers? The introduction of the advanced segments feature made this task easier, but the new Advanced Table Filtering makes narrowing down a lot of data on the fly a snap.
You can now filter any table of data by custom parameters, quickly narrowing down the results and removing the noise.
Example: When viewing the Network Locations reports, you want to see which organizations sent visits but filter out all the telecommunications companies which don’t help your analysis. Further, you want to see which organization showed high engagement and are repeat visitors. While it’s possible to set up an advanced segment to accomplish this, this type of filter can be done on the fly from any list report.
View the Google video:
Unique Visitor Metric
Good news for custom reports. Now “Unique Visitors” has been added so you can see how many actual visitors (people) are represented in each report as opposed to just overall visits.
Sharing Segments and Custom Report Templates
Very convenient new feature! Formerly, if a new advanced segment were created it would only be available via the profile it was originally created for. Now, just click the “Share” button and a URL is generated which you can easily send to a colleague. Advanced segments can also be copied so you can build upon existing ones rather than starting from scratch. This is also a huge plus for agencies, which utilize the same rough segments for multiple clients.
Here’s the big one that many were waiting for. Google Analytics is now much smarter! It proactively monitors for events that are significant and then issues alerts. The events could include a spike or drop in traffic, or any major change in goals or behavior patterns.
There is even a slider control that lets you adjust the sensitivity. Move it further to the right and more events will be flagged. Move it to the left and events will need to be more significant to register.
Example: Your site experiences a 250% increase in average referrals from Facebook on a given day. This is logged in Google Analytics automatically and is retained so you can look back overtime for patterns or responses to campaigns. You can also elect to have this alert emailed to the appropriate people.
As the title suggests, you can tell Google Analytics to watch for the events that are important to your business. Daily, weekly, and monthly alerts are possible and can also be viewed in the interface or emailed directly.
Example: A hardware ecommerce site manager wants to be alerted when the average order size for lumber drops 20% or more for the contractor segment. Once set, the manager can be alerted of this event instantly.
View the Google video:
Some of the features are live now, others will be rolled out in the coming weeks. It’s great to see Google Analytics continue to mature. These features offer more actionable and meaningful data with powerful options analysts will appreciate.