Understanding the New Google Analytics Interface

I’m not going to sugar-coat this. The new Google Analytics reporting interface is radically different than the old reporting interface. It will take you some time to get comfortable using the new version. You may even be lost the first time you log in. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. In my opinion, understanding WHY the interface changed so much will help speed the learning process.

An Overview of the Concept

The new interface is designed to help you analyze your data. I know that may not seem possible, but that’s the reason. Let’s take a step back and think about analysis.

The key to analysis is to keep asking questions. Whenever you examine a metrics you should always ask a follow-up question. For example, let’s say you had 10,000 visits yesterday. That’s great, but you should be asking, “Where did they come from?”

The new user interface helps you answer those questions more intuitively. The data is presented AND CONNECTED in such a way that it almost forces you to ask the questions. It also provides the answers to those questions. This is really, really powerful because it will prompt, or force, people to ask questions about their data. When you get right down to it, the interface is holding your hand and leading you through a segmentation process.

Drilling Down: the process of Segmentation

Let’s look at an example.

Here is the Search report from the new GA. You’ll notice that the report shows ALL traffic coming from search engines. This includes paid and non-paid. If you want to segment the traffic, and separate paid and non-paid traffic, just click on the appropriate link at the top of the page.

Once we’ve segmented the data by paid and un-paid I can drill down even further using the segmentation feature. In the old GA the custom segmentation option was attached to each line of data. Remeber the little red chevron? In the new interface the segmentation option is a drop down box below the verbal description of the report. So, if I choose Landing Page, and yes you can now segment by landing page :), Google Analytics will segment the entire report by the landing pages used for non-paid search. After segmenting, the resulting data set is the performance of non-paid landing pages. If click on the ‘Paid’ link and instantly see how the landing pages for your paid campaign performed. People are going to love that feature! Talk about making a case for landing page optimization.

Let’s take a step back ‘up’ and segment the report by source. If I click on a search engine GA will display all the keywords for that search engine.

Context for your Data

Another really cool way that GA helps you understand your data is by providing context within the interface. You probably noticed that there are three tabs along the top of your report data. The first tab is the Site Usage tab. It displays the percentage of total that the current data set represents. For example, the previous image shows that Google sent 17,055 visits via search which was a total of 22.75% of all traffic. See, context for your data. It relates the current information to the big picture.

Segmenting by Success

20070508_tabs.pngThe other two tabs let you perform a different type of segmentation. The Goal Conversion tab shows you the conversion rate for each line item in the report. AND, the column headers no longer say G1/Visits! They actually use the NAME OF THE GOAL!

The E-commerce tab displays revenue based columns for each line item in the report. The e-commerce tab will only show up if your profile has been configured to be an e-commerce profile.


The new Google Analytics uses your data to help tell a story about your website. The way the new reports are organized and linked together can literally lead you through an analysis and help you uncover answers as you browse the reports. It will take some getting used to, but in the end, this new presentation of data will help lots of people. I truly believe that the new interface will help a larger population of users tackle analysis and not just reporting.

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