Thanks to my blogging colleague, Joe Patti, for pointing out a tremendously useful article at mashable.com from 12/1/2011 by Rachael Gerson that does a terrific job at outlining the impending updates at Google Analytics. And by impending, I mean you’ve got one month to prepare before Google flips the switch on everyone’s account and the old version goes away for good. But know that the improvements are fantastic, I’m particularly excited about the following improvements:
- Real-Time Data: This will be an enormously useful tool to marketers who want to see what sort of impact an email blast, social media mention, etc. has on website usage at the very moment those initiatives go live.
- Social Engagement: Say goodbye to all the time you spent creating custom reports to track and drill down into specific social media usage. I’ve been playing with this feature quite a bit via my Adaptistration Analytics account and one point worth noting that I’ve discovered is not all social sharing services play nice with Google. Gerson asserts that ShareThis and AddThis pass along info to Analytics with “minimal changes.” My jury is still out on this one as I’ve noticed that the social bookmarking plugin I use produces Analytics data with a large number of holes, but I’m still excited that I at least have the ability to discover that’s the case.
- Visitor Flow & Goal Flow Visualization: All I have to say about this one is “come to papa.” At first sight, this incredibly powerful tool might seem overbearing and in fact, it is. But all you need to do is take some time to begin trimming away the elements you don’t need up in front of you and you’ll be rewarded with an easy to follow visitor flow with exportable data. This will be especially helpful to groups who want to improve conversion rates tracking for outbound box office clicks, etc.
- Multi-Channel Funnels: Finally, a way to track user interaction, even if the sources are from multiple referral points, over as many as 30 days! If you aren’t already familiar with multi-channel funnels, check out that point in Gerson’s overview (point #10), she does as good of a job as I’ve seen describing a comparatively complex function.
If you haven’t switched over to the new admin interface yet, you can do so at any time after logging into your Analytics account via a link toward the top, right side of the screen. And when you do, make sure you set aside some time for all of the exploration set to follow as most of the new features are so fun to play with, time will slip away.
Has anyone out there already made the switch? If so, which features are you finding most useful and what do you think your colleagues should know about?