Back in April this year Google unveiled the spangly new version of Google Analytics which aimed to provide users with much more functionality and better usability in their analytics package. Since then many people have switched over and loved the new features it offers, whilst others have remained faithful to the old version which they are more familiar with.
Which was fine. Until Google sneakily announced
this week that the sun would be setting on the old version of Analytics in January 2012 and that all users would have to switch over to the new interface from then on. There was very little fanfare around the announcement, though it’s clear that many users will miss the familiarity of the old interface and need to get up to speed on the new features quickly, with just 7 weeks to go until shutdown...
So what’s so special about the new interface? And is it worth all the upheaval? Well, Google have introduced a number of new features which allow users to dig deeper into the traffic visiting their site and how they behave once they’re there. Some of the key additions include:
· Flow Visualisation
This feature allows you to visualise how users navigate through your site and makes it much easier to identify key areas of the site or particular segments of visitors. You can use it to highlight if users are behaving as expected, which options they are choosing at different stages and when they are dropping out which could prove very powerful.
· Real Time Reporting
In line with Google’s other attempts at presenting users with fresher data
, the real time reporting feature allows you to see exactly what is happening on your site at the time of asking. Whilst it can’t necessarily provide you with a lot of actionable data, it’s a nice ‘toy’ and makes it possible to see how adding new content to a blog or on real time platforms like Twitter can affect visitors in......you guessed it.....real time
· Multi Channel Funnels
Our favourite feature is undoubtedly the multi channel funnelling capability which is now available. For SEOs across the land, it has always been difficult to prove the full ROI from a campaign because of the ‘last click wins’ nature of Analytics. This meant that even if a user found you through search originally, if they returned through a branded search or directly and then went on to convert then the credit would be given to the final interaction. No more!
Multi Channel Funnels allows you to break down the conversion process of a user and identify the different ways they interacted with your site on the way to conversion. This depth of reporting means online marketers can see exactly where conversions are coming from and how different platforms affect the process. Do people have a higher conversion rate if they interact with social media at some point? If a person finds you through organic search are they more likely to convert than if they find you through PPC? Questions like these can now be answered and go one step further to proving the value of different marketing activities.
Things to Improve
So that’s the good points. Are there any bad?
To be honest, we don’t have too many complaints. However, one particular gripe lies in the new formatting of date comparison data. Where this used to give you an exact percentage of the increase/decrease between the two time periods selected, it now lays the two individual figures next to each other with no percentage between the two time periods in sight! We loved the easy insight this feature gave you into the progress of different traffic metrics and would love to see it come back. So if you’re listening Matt Cutts....
It’s clear that the good points of the new version outweigh the bad, with much deeper analysis on offer and a much higher capability to identify which traffic performs best for you and your business. If you’re one of the people who still finds themselves returning to the comfort of the old, familiar version then now’s the time to take the plunge. The clock’s ticking...
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