5 Google Analytics Updates that You Should Know About

Last week at the 2013 Google Analytics summit there were 15 new features discussed. That’s a lot! Many people have asked me what I think are the most important announcements so I thought I would write a quick post.

Personally, I love all of the new features. But here are five things that I think will have a lasting impact on Google Analytics and, potentially, the industry.

New Admin API

What: The ability to create users, adjust permissions and configure view settings (like goals) all via an API.

Why: People have been asking for this feature for a LONG time – at least 5 years. Many of GA largest users are platforms (ecommerce platforms, content platforms, etc.). With this new API these platforms can automatically create GA accounts AND configure them when a customer signs up for service. This means less work installing and configuring GA for the end user. This change should drive greater adoption of Google Analytics.

Learn More: Check out the official Analytics API developer documents to learn more. Please note that these new APIs are in beta. You can sign up for the beta here.

The Analytics ABC’s

What: A new report format that groups data based on user acquisition, user behavior and business outcomes.

Why: We often talk about the customer lifecycle, and how certain data describes certain parts of the cycle.

Google Analytics reports are now divided into Acquisition, Behavior and Outcomes. And Audience – but AABC’s doesn’t make as much sense.

In addition to dividing the reports into a new information architecture, some of the reports, are also divided into ABC’s. You’ll notice that the metrics in the reports are grouped by acquisition metrics, behavioral metrics and conversion metrics.

The new Acquisitions overview report shows channels performance based on metric groups. Many reports will now display metrics in groups based on acquisition, behavior and conversions.

The new Acquisitions overview report shows channels performance based on metric groups. Many reports will now display metrics in groups based on acquisition, behavior and conversions.

For example, the metric New Visitors helps us understand if we’re attracting new or repeat traffic.

Also part of this change is the ability to see data based on your channel groups. This dimension of data was previously only available in the Multi-channel funnel reports and model comparison tool. Now you can create your channel groups once and access them from almost any report.

I really like the Chanel Grouping feature because it let’s me customize how I look at my traffic source data. Plus I can hide any mistakes I make with Campaign Tracking.

This will be a significant change for most users.

Learn more : Coming soon!

Understand your audience with demographic data

What: The addition of your site user’s demographic data into Google Analytics.

Why: When we talk about analytics we always talk about understanding the behavior of site users: what they do on a site.

But understanding who our users are is also critical. Knowing things like gender, age and interests can help us augment our marketing strategy and drive specific tactics, like generating creative.

There’s new demographic data in Google Analytics. You can now view the age, gender and interests of your users.

This data is now available in Google Analytics. You can view aggregate data for your users as well as segment by various demographic traits.

Learn More: Coming soon!

Google Tag Manager’s new Auto-event tracking

What: The ability to track almost every website action, like clicks and form submissions without any additional JavaScript.

Why: Implementing analytics tracking, especially complex tracking like tracking button or link clicks, is a lot of work. It usually involves custom JavaScript that is complex to implement and needs to be maintained.

Auto event tracking eliminates all of the JavaScript. There are a series of new tags in Google Tag Manager that will automatically listen for user actions and, if you want, capture those actions. Then you can collect the data with Google Analytics or any other tool.

Listen, Capture Collect. How the Auto-event tracking works for Google Tag Manager.

Listen, Capture Collect. How the Auto-event tracking works for Google Tag Manager.

This is a huge benefit for analytics users as we can now easily measure things like outbound links, file downloads and arbitrary clicks.

Learn more: Check out the Google Tag Manager help center for more information about the listener tag.

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    Comments

    1. Colby Phillips says

      I have a Google Analytics account that was transitioned to the new ABC format, which I think looks great. However, when I try to look at past traffic channel data, like say organic channel traffic from January through September 2013, I get a message that says “Channel data is not available prior to July 25, 2013. Select an alternative dimension.” This is an account that has been active for several years, and I used to be able to see all the historical data before the new ABC format change. Is there a new place/way to look at the historical data? Thanks

    2. says

      Hi Justin.

      Just finished your Digital Analytics Fundamentals course. Amazing! Thanks!

      Quick question. If I am considering implementing REMARKETING, should I use the Classic Analytics or is it soon going to be available in Universal Analytics?

      Thanks.
      Best
      Eduardo

    3. Dancho says

      Hi Justin,

      As we have to enhance the GA tracking script if we want to get audience with demographic data, I am wondering if it works also through Google Tag Manager? If I adjust the tracking code and add it as Custom HTML tag?

      many thanks for your help

    4. Daniel Anderson says

      Should I still use campaign tracking on my email links, even though there is channel called Email under acquisition. Will they be counted twice under acquisition?

    5. says

      I am a very small inbound marketing agency and measurement plus analysis seems so critical for all my clients but it’s my job to show them why and how. I often have to use the phrase, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. You were very clear in this post how important it is to pay attention to analytics. I am learning how to separate the key KPIs from more useless reports which seems to be expanding all the time. If I had one item of value that I could offer to your readers, it’s to learn which are the 5 to 10 reports and key performance indicators that make their decision making process smoother. Your blog posts seem to be, and should be of great help in this area. Education is everything.

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