2012 Google Analytics Summit Recap

2012 Google Analytics Summit

It was a busy week at the 2012 Google Analytics summit. If you’re in the online marketing space you’ve probably heard many of the announcements and some of the features we’ll all see in 2013.

Here’s my recap of what’s coming from Google Analytics.

Universal Analytics

This was the big news. Universal Analytics is the next generation measurement platform that will help businesses measure their ever-changing digital world. UA (get it, UA) includes a number of technologies, like the Measurement Protocol, User ID sessionization, Custom Dimensions, and Dimension Widening. There’s too much to post here.

Check out my post on Universal Analytics for all the details.

Universal Analytics will be available for ALL Google Analytics users.

Visitor Segmentation

Another change to Google Analytics is PURE Visitor Segmenttion. We’ve always had advanced segmentation, but now it’s changing to be visitor level. This is a really big deal, because it means we can create segments like ‘revenue per user > $500′.

You’ll also be able to use the new Visitor segmentaiton to do cohort analysis. For those that are unfamiliar, a cohort is really just a segment based on date.

For example, show me all of the people that first visited during the first week of October, 2012.

Creating Cohorts in Google Analytics

I should mention that this is NOT part of Universal Analytics. It’s independent of Universal Analytics.

Visitor Segmentation will be available for ALL Google Analytics users.

Attribution Modeling

Bill Kee, the product manager for attribution, announced that Attribution Modeling would become available to ALL Google Analytics users. Now all businesses can experiment with different attribution models to better understand the return on ad-spend.

Attribution modeling is really an experimentation tool. It’s not a magic way to allocate your ad-spend. You use attribution models to observe the return on your ad-spend under different conditions. In some circumstances you’ll notice that you get a better (or worse) return on your spend. Using this knowledge you can then adjust your ad-spend and observe the impact.

I’ve got a more thorough post on Attribution modeling due out in a couple of weeks.

In addition to opening the attribution modeling tool up to everyone, it now includes the ability to increase the look-back window to 90 days. This is a huge benefit to all many businesses that have a longer sales cycle.

Google Analytics Attribution Lookback Window

Cost Data Import

This technology, built on the Dimension Widening feature, will let you import cost data into Google Analytics. Now you can view the ROI for all marketing campaigns, not just your AdWords campaigns.

Better analysis for everyone!

Adding cost data involves using our cost data import API. First you need to create a CSV of your cost data. Then you use some type of script to send the data to Google Analytics.

Don’t worry, there is an easier way.

Some of the amazing Google Analytics partners created automatic import tools that will automatically import cost data from Bing directly into GA.

Read more in the official Google Analytics blog post about cost data import.

Cost data import will be available to ALL Google Analytics users.

Acquisition Section

Google has completely revamped the Traffic Sources section of Google Analytics and renamed it Acquisition. It now includes paid, owned and earned media.

Google Analytics Acquisition Report

Click for a larger view of the Acquisition Section

You’ll also notice the report is grouped into three sections: acquisitions, engagement and outcomes.

Part of the acquisition report will be the addition of Channel Groupings to all Acquisition reports. You’ve probably (hopefully!?) used the channel grouping feature in the Multi-Channel Funnel reports. This features let’s you group traffic channels together into a custom group.

Or you can just let Google Analytics group them for you, just like the Multi-channel Funnels report.

One thing that’s cool here is we can now automatically classify certain referrals, like mail.yahoo.com as traffic from an email campaign. Or you can customize it. It’s up to you :)

The Acquisition section will be available to ALL Google Analytics users.

Premium Expansion

Google Analytics Premium has been growing and growing. And 2013 will continue that trend. In 2013 Google Analytics Premium will expand into a number of new countries including:

  • Japan
  • Brazil
  • France
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Norway

I think that probably means that I’ll make it to a few of those places :)

That’s about it for upcoming changes. But there was one other change at the GACP summit this year.

For the first time Premium customers were invited to the summit. They provided a new dynamic to the entire event. One thing that’s very unique about the summit is the feeling of community. And the premium customers certainly added to that.

Thanks. We appreciate your time.

On a personal note it was great to see so many friends. Brian Clifton, Matt Trimmer, Caleb Whitmore, Davide DeSantis, Juan Damia and so many more…

This was my first time attending the summit as a Googler and I learned a lot. It’s amazing how much time the Google team spends preparing for this event. Almost all of the product managers took the time to do presentations, sometimes multiple presentation, while still pushing out many of the announcements you heard this week.

And a huge shout out to Jesse Nichols for all of his work organizing the event. There were 450+ people from 46 different countries in multiple locations and Jesse made it all happen seamlessly.

Until next year partners, see you in the Forum.

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    1. says

      Justin –

      Thank you for this very important update. The new features announced at this years Summit are really powerful. Each one of your subsections truly deserves a blog post (or posts) of their own. The GA team is definitely keeping us analysts on our toes. :-)


    2. says

      It’s great to see the changes Google is rolling out, especially the custom dimensions and metrics. Our team came back from the summit all fired up and we’re looking forward to working with our clients with all these new features.

    3. says

      Wow, some really significant developments coming up. I particularly like the new Acquisition section. Good work, looking forward to seeing it here in the UK.

    4. says


      Great updates and thank you for your post. Are these available right now (especially for users in India)

      If not, would you know the timeframe by when they are expected?


      • says

        @Hari: Google doesn’t provide specific timelines. I think it will probably be a couple of quarters. Some things are launching sooner, like the cost data import. Keep an eye on the official Google Analytics blog for the official launches.

    5. says

      Hi Justin,

      Many thanks for the debrief! I realize that things may still be fluid in terms of functionality, but can I assume that custom dimensions and metrics will only be in UA?

      Many thanks,


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