The New Google Analytics Interface – A Primer

By Jessica Shieh, Digital Strategist

If you use Google Analytics (GA) to track your website and have signed in within the past couple of days, you’ve probably noticed the option to view a “New Version.” when On Tuesday, April 20, 2011, Google released the latest version of Google Analytics and we’ve prepared a quick primer on the highlights of the new interface.

So, what’s new?

Newer, Faster Interface – the Google team completely redesigned the interface; some obvious changes include the tabular links at the top of the page and the Help Widget that is located on the lower left hand corner that provides key word search assistance. Those of you who have been using GA for a while will definitely notice the shift in the Directory of Analytic Reports (the left column with the list of reporting filters), so there might be a learning curve as you familiarize yourself with the new locations of frequently used filters. If you are having difficulties finding the reports you need, the Report Finder is a very handy tool.

Customizable Dashboard – If you have used GA in the past, you know that the dashboard is the first item you see when you choose to review a website a profile. It usually gives you an overview of the overall performance of the website, and prepares you to get your hands dirty and dig deeper into the data. In the old version, each user could only create one customizable dashboard, but not anymore! With the new version of GA, each user can create up to 20 dashboards. GA admins can really customize each dashboard to highlight important metrics that might differ from department to department (i.e., your sales team might want to see Goal and Conversion related information whereas your content editors may be more interested in content and visitor-related information).

Event Goals (Yay!) – As you may know, goals are important because, if they are defined and configured correctly, they are key indicators of the effectiveness of a site. Events are typically used to track interactivity that is difficult (if not impossible) to measure by URL (without inflating pageview via virtual pageview), such as downloading a PDF, watching a video or printing a page. Combining the two, we are now given a tool to track low commitment interaction that can signal deeper engagements later. An example of this would be downloading a white paper (low commitment) on the site before deciding to submit a demo request form (deeper engagement). With the release of this new feature, we can finally measure conversions and a level of engagement that we couldn’t before. Now only if funnel visualization would work with event tracking goals…

Cloud Visualization – Cloud visualization (a.k.a. term cloud, word cloud, tag cloud) refers to the visual depiction of word content of a site. The color, size, intensity or weight is manipulated to reflect the importance/ frequency of each word. That’s a lot of words for “a different way to look at your data.” Curious? Here is how you can take a look at your Cloud. Access the new GA, navigate to Traffic Sources > Incoming Sources > Search > Overview > Organic, click on the view icon, select “Term Cloud” and check out the search term for incoming traffic for your site!

The Google Team is planning to roll out even more features in the future. Personally I am looking forward to more accurate in-page analytics and I really REALLY hope that funnel visualization for event goals are on top on Google’s list!

Have questions? Contact Q’s Measurement and Analytics team at jshieh@agencyq.com or angela@agencyq.com.



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