The top 10 new Google Analytics features you should be using

As most of you would have noticed by now, the old version of Google Analytics is being phased out, means that users have been getting familiar with the latest version and all of the updates that it has to offer.

We thought that even though Google have been rolling out with one new feature after another, it would be helpful to highlight the top 10 features of the new Google Analytics as listed on Mashable. Along with a breakdown of the features, we’ll be sharing some feedback from the blog team on the changes – let us know yours in the comments!

Dashboards – the homepage of Google Analytics received a much needed makeover with the rollout of the latest version. Users can now create up to 20 personalised dashboards, developing widgets, and formats that make the most sense for their business needs.

For example, each department can create their own dashboard so that they can quickly access the information that relates to their divisional goals. (Please keep in mind that Dashboards can only be shared by users on the same login.)

 

Keyword Clouds – This is a great alternative to using a long list of keywords in order to spot trends. Users can now evaluate a keyword cloud that makes it easy to visualise top keywords based on different user-selected criteria. This can include visits, bounce rates, and pages per visit.

BTBD blog team: ‘You really need to stay focused on the data you’re looking for as there is so much that it can tell you it is easy to get lost, this feature breaks that down to begin with to spot the immediate trends.’

 

Real-Time Data – For the first time, Google Analytics offers real time data solutions. With real-time reports, users can view the activity on their sites as it happens and get insight to the top active pages, top referrals, keywords, and geographic locations driving traffic.

 

BTBD blog tem: ‘It’s very intuitive, making a lot of data easier to understand and evaluate.’

Site Speed – Speed reporting is now standard on Google Analytics and no longer requires extra coding. These site speed reports give information about average page load time and can be very important.

Slow sites can have a negative effect on the quality score for paid search and visits can cost more when they’re being directed towards a slower site. This may also be an important factor in search rankings.

Search Simplifies Navigation – The new menu search makes the usability of the site much better.  The tool makes it easy for users to quickly navigate to the correct report. In addition, Google has also created an account search that lets users directly access the correct profile, rather than scrolling through in an effort to locate the right one.

 

Webmaster Tools – The new integration incorporates Google Webmaster Tools data into Google Analytics. This tool gives users a better sense of which Google property drives more traffic. In addition, Webmaster Tools provides impressions, average position, and CTR (click through ratio) data for Google Analytics.

While the numbers are not 100% accurate, they can be used to evaluate relative trends and to provide insight into data lost due to Google’s search update. Keep in mind the report is limited to a single part of Google Analytics.

Social Engagement – You should be using Google Analytics to track how visitors interact socially with your site.

A 2010 study showed that 54% of small and medium sized businesses said they already use or plan to use social media, and 17% planned to increase their social budget again from 2010-2011. With more companies making a push towards social, it’s becoming really important to analyse social interactions.

The new Google Analytics reports break down how many of a site’s visitors are socially engaged with the site and catalogues which social source and action occurred. Now, you can determine how many of your visitors +1’d site content vs. how many Liked it, as well as the pages that prompted this social action.

Social plugins such as ShareThis and AddThis easily integrate with Google Analytics, passing information on social interactions back to Google Analytics with minimal changes.

Visitor Flow and Goal Flow Visualisation – Flow visualisation was announced in October but only recently started rolling out to most users. It consists of two reports: Visitors Flow and Goal Flow.

The Visitors Flow reports can be used to visualise the “flow” of visitors through the site, while the Goal Glow is an improvement on the original Funnel Visualization reports. The Goal Flow report is valuable because it simplifies evaluating a conversion funnel.

Multi-Channel Funnels – The multi-Channel Funnels are a series of reports that help to provide attribution information. What this means is that when a person visits your site first from a paid search ad, then from an organic search listing and then from a link on Twitter and finally one from an email link. Rather than just attributing the credit to the final tunnel, the Multi-Channel Funnel allows users to view further back than the final channel. Now Google Analytics shows every interaction that a user has had with the site in the 30 days prior to the conversion. Using these reports, departments can take credit for their assists to conversions, and companies can make more informed decisions about which marketing activities have the highest ROI.

 

Event Tracking – Events can now be used as goals. If you want to find out how many people downloaded a PDF you can. Users can easily track these events without affecting other metrics or having to use special code, as before.

BTBD blog team: ‘We are still getting to grips with the new features, but everything is positive and we look forward to the added benefits they’ll hopefully bring’

Which new feature sounds the most appealing to you?

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