New Google Analytics Features & Announcements

Today Google announced a number of new features for Google Analytics. I’m really excited about these features because they will greatly improve our ability to understand our site site visitors and what they want to do. You should know that this is a true beta. Google is taking signups for the new features and they should be rolled out to beta testers soon.

Links for More Information

It would be impossible to thoroughly explain each feature in a single post, so I’ve written a number of articles to cover everything you need to know.

GA.JS: New Google Analytics Tracking Code
GA On Site Search Pt. 1: Overview & Setup
GA On Site Search Pt. 2: Reporting & Usage
GA Event Tracking Pt. 1: Overview & Data Model
GA Event Tracking Pt. 2: Implementation
GA Event Tracking Pt. 3: Reporting
Urchin 6 Software
Automatic Oubound Link Tracking

New GA.JS Tracking Code

The first big change is a new version of the Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC). The new code is object oriented, has a smaller file size and enables a number of features. The old tracking code is not going away (yet), so you don’t need to rush out and change all the tags on your pages. But you may want to given the next announcement…

Event Tracking

Google Analytics now supports Event tracking. A lot of people have been asking for it and now it exists. Google changed the GATC to enable event tracking.

You can now use Google Analytics to logically track anything, like video player interactions, visitor clicks, etc. The beauty is that you no longer need to create extra pageviews. Google has created a logical data model to help understand visitor actions and intent. I must admit, when I first heard that they were adding Event tracking to GA I was skeptical, but this feature is completely awesome! It is really well done.

Internal Site Search Reporting

The next addition is a series of reports that focus on internal site search. These reports provide a structured, logical way to evaluate the value of your onsite search. I’ve been testing these reports for a while and they are truly remarkable. I can’t tell you how much insight I’ve gained into site visitors by using them. Setup is really easy and I think everyone is going to like them. Note that the search reports are not related to, or affected by, the new tracking code.

Urchin 6 Software

And finally, Google announced a new version of Urchin software. Urchin 6 will be available in beta form starting October 22. For those of you unfamiliar with Urchin, it is a log analysis tool. You install it on your server, it crunches your log files and produces pretty graphs. Urchin 6 is a complete upgrade from Urchin 5. It has a new data processing engine and a new interface. It’s NOT using the current GA interface, it’s using the OLD GA interface. But it is a huge upgrade.

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    1. Alex says

      Hello Justin,

      i’m about to launch an ecommerce application and my host offers Urchin 5.0 (soon I hope to be 6.0) as part of the package. I have traditionally used GA.

      They have suggested, that if want to use both GA and Urchin at the same time, I can use a combined code of the format:


      -Is this a sensible set up?
      -Will I easily be able to “switch off” the Urchin tracking if I decide to remain with GA (and not lose history)
      -In the light of the new GA code and features and also Urchin 6.0, will I be able to do this going forward (ie combined code).
      -Is it more adviseable just to pick one application and stay with it?

      thank you!!!


    2. says

      Hi Alex,

      To answer your questions, in order:

      1. Yes, that is the correct setup.

      2. Yes, to turn off the Urchin tracking just remove the usrv line from the code.

      3. Yes, you will be able to use this setup with Urchin 6.

      4. I suggest going with GA over Urchin. It’s got more features, and in my opinion, the interface facilitates analysis.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the questions.


    3. says

      Hi Justin,
      I’ve just bought your book on O’Reilly and I’m starting reading it.

      Do you know if there is a way to track iTunes podcast downloads using GA ?

      Maybe tracking every file or the XML file ?
      And how ?


    4. says

      Hi Luigi,

      I’m not sure if you can use GA with iTunes. I do know this, GA collects data using JavaSciript and cookies. So the browser must execute the JS for tacking to work. That means that it will be tough to track XML files UNLESS there is some user action that you can capture and use to create a pageview on GA.

      Hope that helps,


    5. Shawn says

      I have installed the new Version 6 beta, but it keeps telling me that the Task Scheduler service is not running. I have checked the services and the Master Scheduler service is running, but the Slave starts and stops right away.

      Any ideas?

    6. says


      The “Task Scheduler service” message is a known bug in Urchin 6. Urchin should still process data. If it does not, then contact your Urchin provider for a patch that will resolve the issue.


    7. Arnoud says


      Something I cannot find about this migration is wether you will be able to keep your history after you change the code. Or is the history lost?


    8. says

      Hi Arnoud,

      Yes, all of your historical data will remain unchanged. The new ga.js just alters the way future data is collects.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment.



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