Google Analytics – Winds of Change

In Analytics, SEO Strategy by Marius Badenhorst

Version Five of Google Analytics imposes some interesting new changes to a system which many came to enjoy using in order to track their online campaigns. The updated look and feel has also altered the reporting in a few ways, some drastic, and some for the better.

Google is attempting to layer a Chrome-like look onto all of its tools and analytics is their latest product to receive a new coat of paint. Today we look over these changes and see how you can adapt and then easily transition to the new, shinier Google Analytics v5:

The most glaringly obvious change is the new interface which eschews stark white borders and functional text for an pleasing look which takes a few minutes to get used to; but once you are familiar with the new look analytics, the streamlined aesthetic will assist you in more easily monitoring your campaign. When you first logged into the old look analytics, there was a snapshot of your accounts with bounce rate, visits and so on; the new screen allows you to handily jump straight to the most accessed pages – visitors, traffic sources, content and conversions to be more precise.

The newly tabbed interface facilitates a greater user experience and gives you the option of creating as many dashboards as you wish, with configurable widgets for added flexibility. For instance, if your business only requires content data then a customizable widget will ensure that the pertinent data is always on the front page of your reports. For everyone else who needs the full Monty, the ‘My Site’ button will display the usual statistics much like the old reporting system did. Any search marketing solutions based company worth their salt has already started incorporating customized reporting into their data, as should you.

Intelligence reporting is now built straight into v5, in contrast to the older reporting model where it was in the ‘Beta’ section. Intelligence reports allow you to set variables and detect variations; such as receiving an alert if your sites traffic dips below a certain level or if your content reaches a specific amount of views.  Other key enhancements include the page speed report and enhanced overview reports. Very recently, Google has said that page speed counts towards the overall rankings and learning to improve the speed of your site can be beneficial to your campaigns.

Sadly, one of the greatest failures in the beta version of the Google analytics tool is the loss of the ability to add secondary dimension drill-downs in custom reports. Users have bemoaned the loss of this feature which basically removes the ability to create high-level reports which could be drilled into on the microscopic level to analyze where each campaign was performing, or underperforming. Hopefully when v5 comes out of beta, this tool will be restored to full usefulness.

Excellent new for Webmaster Tools lovers, V5 of Google Analytics now enables users to view their webmaster data directly on their analytics page. Why this was not integrated sooner, no-one knows. Users can sign up for the pilot program here. You will have access to a new section called ‘SEO’ which offers data for queries and landing pages.

In summation, the new look Google Analytics tool is made up of the myriad improvements which Google has made to its analytics over the past years. The redesigned interface, combined with better access to your most pertinent details will ensure that v5 only goes from strength to strength as companies begin to harness its possibilities. For those who cannot handle the change, simply click ‘old version’ in the top right corner and enjoy the old Google analytics interface. For further details, the video below highlights the new features.

About the Author

Marius Badenhorst