As soon as you log into Google Analytics you’ll notice that the old date range selector is gone. The new date range selector is located at the top right corner of every page. If you click on the dates a large box will appear with lots of options.
There are two ways to specify a date range in the new GA. You can use the ‘traditional’ calendar method and choose days, weeks or months. Or you can use a new timeline selection tool.
The timeline selection tool is accessed via the timeline tab in the date range selector. The timeline selection method displays a graph of your visitation data over time. This small graph makes it easy to identify spikes in your traffic. If you see something that piques your interest you can drag the date range slider to cover the spike in traffic.
You can use the ‘handles’ on each side of the timeline slider to expand or contract the time segment.
The date range selector still let’s you compare two date ranges. Just click the compare to past checkbox and you can enter two date ranges using the timeline view or the calendar view.
You’re probably wondering why the timeline selector was added to Google Analytics. It’s all part of the new paradigm. The new GA interface is meant to facilitate analysis. The timeline selection tool makes it easier to identify time segments that may need more analysis. No more specifying a date range in a calendar and then checking the reports to see what happened. You can now identify major traffic changes right from the date selection tool and drill down on that time segment.
The timeline selection tool looks like the date range selection tool in Google Finance, huh? ;)