New GA Feature: Date Range Selector

20070504_date_range_selector.pngAs soon as you log into Google Analytics you’ll notice that the old date range selector is gone. The new date range selector is located at the top right corner of every page. If you click on the dates a large box will appear with lots of options.

20070507_date_range.png

There are two ways to specify a date range in the new GA. You can use the ‘traditional’ calendar method and choose days, weeks or months. Or you can use a new timeline selection tool.

The timeline selection tool is accessed via the timeline tab in the date range selector. The timeline selection method displays a graph of your visitation data over time. This small graph makes it easy to identify spikes in your traffic. If you see something that piques your interest you can drag the date range slider to cover the spike in traffic.

20070507_timeline.png

You can use the ‘handles’ on each side of the timeline slider to expand or contract the time segment.

The date range selector still let’s you compare two date ranges. Just click the compare to past checkbox and you can enter two date ranges using the timeline view or the calendar view.

20070507_compare_to_past.png

You’re probably wondering why the timeline selector was added to Google Analytics. It’s all part of the new paradigm. The new GA interface is meant to facilitate analysis. The timeline selection tool makes it easier to identify time segments that may need more analysis. No more specifying a date range in a calendar and then checking the reports to see what happened. You can now identify major traffic changes right from the date selection tool and drill down on that time segment.

The timeline selection tool looks like the date range selection tool in Google Finance, huh? ;)

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    Comments

    1. Mike says

      The date range selector is a pain. Did they test that with actual users? I end up just entering dates.

      If they had tested with users, they would have ended up with what AdSense has: preloaded range links: Today, Yesterday, Last 7 Days, This Month, Last Month, Previous Year. Nobody uses anything beyond that.

      And where’s the most popular report, the intraday graphs? Andy why doesn’t the graph shrink to fit for periods less than one month?

    2. says

      Hi Mike,

      Believe it or not, yes. They did test the date range selector (and the entire interface) with lots of users.

      I believe that it is pretty simple to segment the data based on the following time segments:

      * Today
      * Yesterday
      * This Month
      * Last Month

      At most, it takes 3 clicks (one to open the date range selector, one to choose the calendar tool and one to click on a day, week or month) to select the above time ranges.

      Year is a bit tougher, I’ll give you that one ;) As for last 7 days, that’s _always_ sucked in GA. Even the old version had no easy way to select the last 7 days.

      I wish the date range was sticky, so you could always have the same range appear when you log into GA.

      The intraday graph will be back. Google is adding that functionality back into the application. You can expect it in the next few weeks.

      As to your last question, why the graph does not shrink. The reason is to give you context. If you only select a week, how does that week compare to a larger range of time.

      Hope that helps and thanks for the feedback!

      Justin

    3. Manuela says

      I think the new data range selector is not so immediate but neither so bad…
      But what about the hourly view of visits? Isn’t it available anymore? Or how can I get this information now?
      thanks!
      Manuela

    4. says

      Hi Manuela,

      The hourly reporting is missing. Google is working to get that feature implemented soon.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Justin

    5. lemiel says

      Missing hourly report and not shrinking/extending graph is main reason to use old interface for me. Days after July 18th without it will be not like they was before.
      I will wait for hourly report.

    6. says

      I wish the date range was sticky, so you could always have the same range appear when you log into GA.

      Exactly.

      And it’s 6 clicks a day for each website to simulate a dynamic date range
      Select Date range
      Select Start Date
      Define Start Date
      Select End Date
      Define End Date
      Confirm

      Good HCI practice is different….

    7. says

      Hi JB,

      I think you only need 3 clicks to set a date range:

      1. Click the start date
      2. Click the end date
      3. Click Apply Range

      Hope that helps,

      Justin

    8. says

      Let’s agree on 4 – you have to open the dialogue..

      That’s 4 too many.
      I want to define a default view. Period.
      Which good HCI design should support

    9. Vitus says

      [[“I wish the date range was sticky, so you could always have the same range appear when you log into GA.”]]

      AGREE!

      It is a MEGA-pain to go through my 20+ sites and have to set the data range on EACH and everyone off them just to get the high-level idea of the general traffic on my sites…

      Speaking of multiple sites – why not a little list/indicator that I could define for an overview of sites with key info for my use?

      Vitus [jeeeez! New GA! dang!]

    10. says

      Hi Vitus,

      There are a few ways to get ‘roll up’ reporting across multiple domains. you could use the same account number on all the sites and the segment the data using filters. Or you could use a hack to place multiple account numbers on each page to track traffic in multiple profiles.

      But the date issue… there’s now way around that.

      Justin

    11. Anne says

      Hi,
      I just installed the Analytics and am having trouble with the Timeline. When I try to change the date range, I noticed that the dates stop at November 11. All dates after that are grayed out, thus I can’t expand my range. How can I ‘ungray’ these dates to change my range?

    12. says

      Hi Anne,

      I think the problem is that you’re trying to set the start date to a date that is AFTER your selected end date. Whenever you want to choose a date in GA you first need to click in the start data or end date field. Then click on the appropriate date in the calendar.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment.

      Justin

    13. says

      Without changing the current profiles on all 20+ domains that I have, is it, or will it ever be, possible to view the same report across multiple domains at the same time, even if it’s a download? e.g. We run several car dealership’s sites that have the same structure and I’d like to compare the pageviews between sites 1,3,4 and 6 because they are in a similar geographical region. Currently I have to create 4 CSV files, about 20 clicks each, then massage the date in Excel – or just enter them all in by hand…
      Thanks,
      Darryl

    14. says

      Hey Darryl,

      There is a way to create the data in the format that you’re looking for.

      You can put the same tracking code on all the sites to get ‘roll up’ reporting. Then apply an advanced filter that attaches the domain name to the request URI. Then you can compage the same page even though it may be on multiple domains.

      Hope that helps and thanks for reading.

      Justin

    15. Mikael says

      A “Last month” predefined entry would really a huge plus. I cannot imagine why it has been removed.

      By default, I was getting the last 30 days. But since I have played with the end date, it is not dynamic anymore: every morning I have to set it to today’s date. This is extremely annoying.

      I like the interface and the range selector. But being able to define/select dynamic ranges, at least the standard “Last 30 days”/”Last 7 days”/”Last Day” would really fill a gap.

      Anybody knows if it is in Google plans to add this at some point?

      Everything else just rocks!
      Thanks,

      –Mikael

    16. says

      Hi Mikael,

      As of right now there are no plans to change the date range selector. But your ideas are good. It would be nice to have a pre-defined setting for last week.

      As for the date range including the current date, I like the fact that GA does not include the current date. Intra-day data is often incomplete and I don’t want it skewing the rest of my data.

      Thanks for the comment and thanks for reading.

      Justin

    17. g1smd says

      For those people that require “sticky dates” when moving between profiles, the Google Analytics Suite (GAS) which runs on Adobe AIR offers that functionality.

      You just need to select the appropriate data profile and then click on “Apply Range” (bottom left) to re-affirm the required date range.

    18. ck says

      My range selector defaults to the day that I set up GA. Is this normal? Can I set it to default to the last week or last anything? After a few months, it’s going to be a pain the way it is working now.

    19. Suma says

      Since the last post on this thread was only a month ago, i’m hoping its not inappropriate to post here. My date range does not seem to be defaulting to the last 30 days ending on _yesterday_. Today is Sep. 1 2008. The default date range on my profile still shows Jul 31st to Aug. 30th, while Aug. 31st has come and gone. Or is this because Aug. 31st has not yet ended in the US West Coast Time (Pacific time ?) ? That’s not right. I have indicated in my profile that i’m an Australia user.

    20. says

      Hi Suma,

      Great question, I’m not sure why your account is lagging by a day. But I think your theory may be right. IT may be that the timezone for your account is set to US PCT time, rather than your local time.

      The timezone for your GA account should match the time zone of your AdWords account. If you’re not using AdWords then the timezone can be set in the profile settings. That may change the default reporting range.

      Hope that helps,

      Justin

    21. says

      I agree the dynamic timeline default date set to when I first setup the account is VERY annoying. Other than the occasional visit for info, I don’t see a practical daily purpose for using GA unless this is remedied. On other free stat sites this is much quicker and easier to get instance info of that day’s traffic

    22. Hugh says

      You have to “enter a single date in mm/dd/yyyy format”. Come on Google! People live outside of the US you know!! How about being able to set the locale to allow dates to be entered (and displayed) in dd/mm/yyyy format? Of course, better still, give us a calendar drop-down for selecting the dates.

    23. says

      How do I change the dates so they stay that way? Every time I go in, my dates are from 2008 and I have to arrow over to the current month, and of course, each month that goes by, I have to hit the arrow several times to put me into the current three month period. I’ve tried entering new dates into the Date Range box, but it always defaults back to dates from 2008.

      • says

        Ellen,

        GA should default to the last 30 days ending yesterday. I would check to insure that you don’t have a browser plugin that changes the date range.

        Hope that helps,

        Justin

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