So the new generation of Google Analytics is released. Though still in beta, its a significant milestone and one that marks a new phase – Phase II. I talked about Phase I for Google Analytics at last year’s eMetrics summit in London. The initial phase was about shoehorning an existing product (Urchin) into the Google infrastructure – integrating with Adwords, scaling to handle traffic from mega sites, internationalising into 16 languages and of course making analytics accessible to all by giving it away for free.
So after the long wait, what does Phase II have to offer?
For me, the emphasis has been in 3 areas, which I list in reverse order of significance for my own usage:
- Performance improvements
- Feature improvements
- UI redesign
1. Performance improvements: You will probably only notice this if you are a high traffic web site (usually this means above 1m+ pageviews per day). A huge engineering effort has taken place to provide a more efficient way of storing and accessing data. This has resulted in faster data access, particularly when drilling down into the reports i.e. cross segmenting.
2. Feature improvements: New or improved features include a customisable dashboard for your summaries, pdf data export added, email scheduling of reports, and improved date range selection with dragable timeline.
3. UI redesign: As you can see, new features, although significant, are not the main purpose of this new release – it is the user-interface that has been given the most attention. As I discussed in my last post, simplifying web analytics so that data from your web site is more accessible and gaining insights on its performance more discoverable, are the keys to taking web analytics to the next level i.e. becoming mainstream. And the new user-interface is what I mean by accessible and discoverable.
So what about new features?
Essentially the front-end changes and back-end re-structuring that have taken place, now allow new features to be developed and published much more rapidly than before. So now that GA is fully Google-ised you can expect Phase III to include new integrations and new features to provide an even richer analytics experience. The trick though, is to always keep it simple and intuitive.
Have you had chance to play with the new Google Analytics? Please share your thoughts, positive or otherwise, by leaving your comments.