Surprise! New Google Analytics Features

It looks like the team at Google Analytics has surprised us all with some new features. What a great way to celebrate the holiday season. Many of these new changes were actually announced by Brett Crosby at Emetrics and are just now getting rolled out to all of us.

New Multi-Line Graph

Google has added a new features to help with analysis. It’s called multi-line graphing. We now have the ability to graph multiple lines of data in the data-over-time graph that appears at the top of each page. There are two ways to use this feature.

Google Analytics Multi-Line Graphing

First, you can compare two metrics in the graph. This is a great way to determine if there is a correlation between the two numbers. For example, let’s say you want to see if conversion rate stays the same if visits increase. Now you can do that.

Google Analytics: Graph two metrics

The second way to use the multi-line graph is to compare a specific segment of data to the overall site data. This helps you analyze how much the segment of data affected the larger set of data.

The graph below shows AdWords visits (blue) and the total site visits (gray). We can clearly see that there was a big bump in traffic but it was not caused by AdWords.

Google Analytics: Compare Data to Site Average

I’ll have a more in-depth post on this tomorrow.

New ga.js Tracking Code

The new ga.js tracking code is now live. For those of you that don’t know, Google created a new version of the tracking code that supports many new features, primarily event tracking.

The new tracking code is very different. Many of the functions that exist in urchin.js do not exist in ga.js. Things like urchinTracker() and __utmSetVar() are gone. Don’t worry, they’ve been replaced with new methods like _trackPageview() and _setVar().

You don’t need to migrate to the new ga.js, you can continue to use the old urchin.js. However, Google will not update urchin.js in the future. If you want to take advantage of new features you must upgrade.

Check out GA.JS: New Google Analytics Tracking Code for more information about why the basic page tag has changed, how it has changed and if you should upgrade to the new tracking code.

To help facilitate the transition, Google has published a migration guide to help you transition from urchin.js to ga.js. It’s a great resource that does a good job of mapping old tracking code settings to new tracking code settings.

How do you get the new tracking code for your site? For existing websites, there is a new tabbed interface that provides the urchin.js tracking code or the ga.js tracking code. Just click on the “Check Status” link for a profile and you’ll see the tabs. Google will automatically supply the new ga.js tracking code when you create a new profile.

Google Analytics Tracking Code Tabs

Caution: do not use the new tracking code and old tracking code on the same page. However, you can use the new tracking code on some parts of your site and the old tracking code on other parts of the site.

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    1. Daniel Waisberg says

      That’s great news! I suppose now I will have to stop writing to you asking questions about the new GATC implementation… and start doing my homework 8-)


    2. says

      I saw the new reports and was checking some favorite sites for an explanation. Thanks for being the first to cover it. You scooped the GA Blog!

    3. says

      Hi Justin, I have several questions about the new GA code.
      1) Once the new GA code is installed site wide, can we still see the old reports from the old code?
      2)Do you recommend installing the new code site wide, or only on certain pages?
      3) Also, will profiles, filters and goal settings be affected by the new code? Will we have to redo everything?

    4. says

      1. The new code does not change the reporting or interface in any way. It’s simply a different code base for collecting the data.

      2. I recomend testing the new code in a development environment first, and then rolling it out site wide.

      3. See #1. Noting in the admin interface or reporting interface will be effected.

      Great questions! Thanks for reading!

      Don’t worry, the migration is not that bad. It’s mostly swapping old functions for new ones. If you’re a geek then you’ll appreciate the new Object Oriented coding style, it’s much easier to understand.

      Thanks for reading,


    5. says

      Good to hear from you Gahlord.

      An update is in the works. I’ve actually been chipping away at it for some time. I want to include Event Tracking in the next version so it will not be published until Event tracking is live for everyone.

      All I can say is ‘soon’.

      Thanks for the comment.



    1. […] As Google Analytics unlocked a few new features, they also made the new ga.js the default. I’m working on upgrading my Google Analytics for WordPress plugin to work with the new version, but I though I’d let you guys know some of the things I ran into. The first one is that adding search engines now has a different, and in my opinion much more readable, code: […]

    2. […] Along with some other features, Google Analytics today launched Google Analytics Custom Tracking. This is a new website (, a section of that deals with the Google Analytics Tracking Code. The site does a nice job of pulling together information about ga.js and Event Tracking. Plus it has a snazzy movie of Avinash, what a bonus! […]

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