Just when Yahoo launched their own Web Analytics service to compete Head-to-Head with Google Analytics, Google polished up their Analytics service and added 7 brand new features (currently in Public beta) that really takes Web Analaytics to the next level.
Thanks to Googler Avinash Kaushik who was kind enough to give me access to this Public Beta features of Google Analytics. Avinash is currently Analytics Evangelist at Google and he is also the author of the #1 book on Web Analytics, titled “Web Analytics – An Hour a Day“. [You can check out the book in Amazon].
New Features of Google Analaytics
The features of the old Google Analytics was somewhat limited for advanced tracking. Which is why many users (especially big organizations) spends money on other paid web analytics service like Omniture.
Some of the new exciting features of Google Analytics are:
- Auto User Interface refresh
- Google AdSense can be now be integrated into Google Analytics
- Advanced visualizations such as Motion Charts is now available
- Make Custom Reports
- Advanced Segmentation Options
- The Google Analytics API.
- Automatic importing of AdWords cost data into Urchin.
The two public beta features that I was given access to are – Advanced Segmentation & Custom Reports. The rest of the features are still in private beta and only available upon invitation.
This is something that I was looking for in GA for a long time. Consider all that GA provided you previously were plain “facts” or raw data. E.g. – How many people visited your site, how did they come to your site, Which keyword they searched for etc. What can change these data into rather useful “information” is if you can actually combine some of these together and come up with a more meaningful query that may help you to make some sense of it.
For example, What if you want to know – How many people searched for your brand name and came to your site from United Kingdom and has made a Purchase? Or How many Visitor came to your website from a particular Adgroup that you were running in Google Adwords during a specified period of time, say from 12:00 Midnight until 6 am.
So all these advanced query involves operators (AND, OR) and Conditions which can help you to take few raw data and then combine them according to your specific needs. Many experts were already doing it manually using spreadsheet and combining/comparing all the data using formulas and doing a lot of mathematical calculations. But with google’s advanced segmentation feature, I guess any average Joe can now become a Web Analytics Expert!
Some Default Segmentation Presets
So basically now you can mix and match and play with different variables provided and come up with your own custom Segmentation. This will definitely help you to know your visitors & market better and create a better online marketing plan.
This is something that I’m yet to explore, but it seems like a easy-to-use interface that lets you build customized reports based on your own needs & requirements. This was a highly demanded feature by the webmasters and I’m glad that Google has finally decided to implement it.
If you want to get a more detailed overview of Segmentation & Customized Reports of Google Analytics, I strongly urge you to check Avinash’s post. On his blog, he has provided step by step screen shoots of some of his segmentation ideas like the following:
Idea #1: How to segment out your own Brand Search Keywords.
Idea #2: Find out the % Visits with a high “Degree of Engagement”.
Idea #3: How to Segment Precious Customers.
Idea #4: How to Use Segmentation to do Ad-Hoc Analysis.
My Two Cents
My hat tip to the Google Analytics team for coming up with some of these wonderful features. Especially the advanced segmentation is really going to help me save a lot of time that I spend now combining data from different metrics in Excel and then coming with a custom report for my clients. Hopefully we will be able to see more exciting feature from GA in near future.
Update: Check out this video that shows you to create and use Advanced Segments in Google Analytics to isolate and analyze specific parts of your traffic.