Earlier today at the Search Engine Strategies conference in Chicago, Mr. Phil Mui, Google Analytics Senior Product Manager, announced several new features for Google Analytics that build on last month’s big feature release. This included the new Intelligence section, Custom Alerts, and Multiple Custom Variables.
Today’s announcement included the introduction to Annotations, the news that custom variables are now segmentable and available in Custom Reports, and the release of a new Analytics Setup Wizard. Let’s review each feature!
Annotations are the first of its kind in Google Analytics, as they allow you to insert data into a Google Analytics trending graph. By using annotations, you can make notes and keep track of dips and spikes in traffic, right on your trending graphs. This should hopefully cut down the amount of time needed to track information down between departments of your organization, and it should also help capture the “tribal” intelligence that floats around your company:
Annotations are available in every trending graph in all reports. You also have the option to either make them private, so only you can see them, or make them public, so that any user with access to the profile can view them. Finally, you can favorite your most important annotations by clicking on the famous yellow-star, like you can in just about every Google product.
No more hunting down your webmaster / IT director / marketing manager for an explanation of why traffic sky-rocketed, when marketing emails got sent out, or how long the server crash lasted. No more looking at bulky spreadsheets filled with launch dates and release notes. Now, with annotations, you can keep a logbook of everything important that happens in your organization!
2. Custom Variables now Segmentable, Available in Custom Reports
Multiple Custom Variables, which allow you to collect unique site usage data for your most important buckets of website traffic and visitors, can now be segmented using an Advanced Segment. Previously, the only way to view these metrics was to crack open the new Visitors >> Custom Segments report. Now, you can perform deep-dive analysis like you can with virtually every other metric or dimension!
3. Analytics Setup Wizard
The next time you create a profile in Google Analytics, you’ll notice a new tracking code setup wizard that will guide you along the way. Depending on your needs (tracking sub-domains, multiple top-level domains, integrating Google AdSense or even tracking PHP or dynamic content pages), you’ll be able to configure your tracking code appropriately so that you or your web team can track everything as accurately as possible!
BONUS: New Version of the Google Analytics API
How about a tease? Later this week, Google Analytics will be making a separate announcement for some exciting new features to the Google Analytics API, including support for Advanced Segments and support for the new metrics and dimensions that have been made available to Google Analytics in recent months!
Look for all of these exciting new features to be available in your Google Analytics accounts soon!
Ever since Google Analytics officially released Advanced Segmentation about a month ago, I haven’t been able to stop using it. How can you blame me? It’s awesome to slice and dice data in ways I could never have sliced and diced data before – and the things that I can learn about my website’s data are invaluable.
Here are three of my favorite advanced segments (so far) with Google Analytics. In parenthesis below, I outline what each segment means. The first segment is a default segment; while the second and third segments are custom advanced segments (The names of the second and third advanced segments are also “custom”):
1. Visits with Conversions / Visits with Transactions
(All Visits that have converted / made a transaction at some point in a visitor’s history with the website).
As I mentioned above, this Advanced Segment is one of the “default” or “pre-packaged” Advanced Segments that Google Analytics provides, without having to create your own. And, it’s one of the best ones. With it, you can see how visitors that have performed the actions that you have defined are behaving, what pages they are landing on, how often they return to your site, and anything else that you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask. You can learn a lot about your converted visitors with this segment (and get insights and ideas on what you can do to get them to convert again).
2. The Power of your Brand
(Dimension: Keyword; Condition: Contains; Value: the first word of company name; AND Dimension: Time on Site; Condition: Greater Than or Equal To; Value: 30; AND Dimension: Pageviews: Condition: Greater Than or Equal To; Value: 3)
Would you care to know how strong your brand name is, and how engaged visitors are that used your brand name or company name as their search term? This segment can give you excellent insight to your customers or potential clients who already know you by name, which means they are well beyond trying to find you, and are most likely closer to reaching out to you, or buying from you.
3. Social Media Awareness
(Dimension: Sources; Condition: Contains; Value: The name of any social media site: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc…)
Measuring the traffic that your website receives from social media platforms is becoming increasingly important towards these last few months of 2008, and you can expect Social Media to really become important in 2009. This advanced segment puts you in the game by allowing you to see all of the traffic from the more popular social media websites that are out there. Monitor this segment over time to get a feel for how interesting and engaging your social media initiatives are – if they are interesting, and if you have a strong social media presence, traffic will start coming your way before you know it.
BONUS Advanced Segment:
4. Are You Experienced?
(Dimension: Visitor Type; Condition: Matches Exactly; Value: Returning Visitor; AND Dimension: Days Since Last Visit; Condition: Less Than; Value:7; AND Metric: Time on Site; Condition: Greater Than; Value: 180; AND Metric: Transactions; Condition: Greater Than or Equal To: Value: 1)
This Advanced Segment excludes all pretenders, rookies, and newbies, and focuses on allowing you to analyze what your most experienced, best customers are doing. Use the clues that you find in your reports after applying this segment to learn what makes your best customers tick, and compare that against your customers who do not engage with your website at this level.
There are thousands of different possibilities with Advanced Segmentation, which means that once you start creating your own, you’re bound to come up with an advanced segment that will meet your specific needs, answer your specific questions, and become favorites of your own.