Google Analytics Improved Reporting and New Features
Google announced that their new Analytics platform would go live mid-April, and that date has arrived. Next time you login to your GA dashboard, you may notice something different. Where previously you could toggle back and forth between the new and old versions of Google Analytics to become familiar with the new layout and features, this is no longer an option as the old dashboard is gone.
Analytics is the tool of choice for Boomtown and other marketing professionals – and this new version of GA has some of Google’s muscle behind it. This version still includes core measurements like page views, visits, and visitor numbers, but what is different and here to stay is the ability to easily drill down different menus to figure out what these stats mean and how they relate to each other. A deep look at audience behavior, measuring engagement, and what’s going on with numbers (and their context) is Google’s aim.
We think that it’s more important than ever to figure out what you want to measure and define in terms of site goals – first identify what metric is significant and then detail how to track these factors over time. As a Boomtown best practice, we set up goals for all clients and review Google Analytics in depth regularly, particularly for month end reporting.
A Brief Review of New Features
The “Audience” tab provides a visitor overview – probably the most familiar report for those familiar with the old version of Analytics. This section provides all the basic metrics you’re interested in, including visitors, page views, visits, and more. Other reports here include demographics (now with more in-depth information provided by Google, including geography and language), behavior (how often visitors visit, how much content is consumed per visit, whether or not they are new or returning visitors), social media reports, mobile reports, and technologies used.
In the new version of Google Analytics, you can find a report called “visitor flow”. This diagrams where visitors are coming from and where they entered your site. Also, their path after arriving. You are able to magnify this diagram and zoom to different levels of detail. This provides a better look at what content is working and what connections visitors make between different web pages.
The “Traffic sources” tab provides an in-depth look at where your visitors are coming from – in the “content’ area, you’re allowed to look at site traffic from which particular content visitors are browsing and links back to you site from advertising, keywords and social media. You can also check to see which pages are most popular. Analytics has a real-time feature that allows you to see who is on your website currently, where they’re coming from, and the search terms that brought them there.
Another new analytics feature is the sharing of customized dashboards and metrics. Google allows you to create multiple analytics dashboards that you can share with others via a link – it also allows you to set up summary report and automatic emails. This can include high level reports, specific reporting, and summaries.
A Look into the Social Analytics Feature
“Social Analytics” is now available as a main menu option on the left side of Google Analytics, visible under the standard reporting tab.
No configuration or setup is required for this new feature—new social analytics are available to everyone. This is very convenient as social media tracking previously involved setting up custom segments and custom reports.
What this update adds is the convenience of social metrics grouped together – the contribution of social media to conversion can be now easily assessed as a group. This update will be useful for the additional detail on social media sharing and comparison as GA now automatically groups main social referrals.
Boomtown is excited to start fully implementing Google Analytics’ new features into our reporting and Internet marketing strategy. Have you gotten a chance to play around with the new version of GA? Should you have questions, contact a Boomtown rep.