It seems like every other week, Google announces some new feature or improvement for Google Analytics. In late October, they announced a slew of new features including Multiple Custom Variables, Analytics Intelligence, and Engagement Goals. Barely a week ago, they announced asynchoronous tracking to improve your analytics data. And as a Holiday Bonus, they have just released a set of new features at SES in Chicago! This bonus feature set includes: Annotations, new features for Custom Variables, and a new Analytics setup wizard.
When there’s a drastic change in your Analytics data, how do you go about finding what caused the change? Was there a launch of a new Adwords campaign? Was there a website update that caused issues with your site? At best, companies would have kept logs in a system outside of GA. In the worst case, one would have to run around finding the culprit that caused the issue.
Not anymore! With the newly launched annotations, you can denote unexplained changes in data, and easily find out what caused the change. So now, the tech team can add a note when they launch a new feature or the marketing team can note the date a campaign was launched. Then, if the change has a drastic effect on the data, you can easily find out why – saving you hours of work!
Custom Variables: Segmentable and Available in Custom Reports
When custom variables were first launched, they provided a great way for businesses to gain key data points unique to their site. The only thing missing was a way to slice and dice that data across other metrics other than the ones provided in the default report.
Now, you will be able to segment your visitors by custom variable keys and/or values. This will allow you to gain greater insights into your visitors. With the initial release of custom variables, there was only a report on goals and e-commerce transactions completed. With this new release, you can segment your visitors, and compare segments across most of the GA reports.
In addition, GA now allows you to create custom reports based on custom variable keys or values. Now, you can see how your custom variables affect any of the metrics available in GA!
And finally, the last of the new features in the Holiday Bonus…
New Setup Wizard
On most websites, installing GA is as simple as getting the code and pasting it onto all your pages on your website. Very little configuration is involved, and you can start to collect data in as little as 15 minutes. The hiccups occur when you have more advanced tracking requirements, and the base GA code just won’t cut it. In these cases, you have to dig through the documentation, and figure out what functions to use and how they affect the tracking. This can be frustrating for most, and we have seen many poor implementations, because the docs are unclear.
GA has tried to ease the implementation process by providing a Setup Wizard. Using the wizard, you can select from a variety of options, and the code will be tailored to your needs. For example, you can specify that you want subdomain or cross-domain tracking, and the appropriate function calls are added to the code.
All of these new features continue to make Google Analytics POWERFUL, FLEXIBLE and INTELLIGENT. I hope you enjoy discovering and learning about these new features. I know I will.