The secret is out: Microsoft is developing an analytics tool for Adcenter that will compete directly with Google Analytics. The information was leaked a few days ago by Dave Naylor, who learned of the analytics tool (codenamed “Gatineau”) at a Microsoft briefing in London. Somehow he got a hold of some screen shots and published them on his blog. This prompted a blog response from Ian Thomas, a Microsoft rep involved in Gatineau’s development and transition to the market. According to Thomas, Microsoft was about to make a public announcement about the tool when the leak occurred.
As many have already witnessed, Google Analytics has updated their interface to create a more user-friendly environment. One of the biggest changes is the new dashboard, which can now be customized to show a number of preferred reports at sign-on. Reports and graphs may be dragged and dropped to create a personalized home page within the interface, assisting in making the most pertinent information available at a glance.
The new interface has become easier to navigate as well by allowing use of the back button and adding links to related sections from within each report. Moving around within the interface is very natural feeling now, and less clicks are required to jump from report to report. Some newer features include automatically e-mailed reports and better designed graphs of analytics information.
New Internet advertisers can now easily take advantage of this quality analytics software thanks to simplified terminology and easy to find descriptions available in the new interface. This new platform also helps us to share information with our own clients more easily and with less training. Google Analytics is currently one of the most robust analytics programs on the Internet. With increased competition for keywords and positioning, quality programs like this have become an imperative step in the creation of a successful PPC program.
A few days ago, my co-worker Jennifer showed me something in Google Analytics that I found very interesting.
When performing a Date-Range Comparison on any number of reports, be very aware of exactly where you put each date or date-range. Google Analytics uses two dates for a Date-Range Comparison: a “First Date” and a “Second Date”. The images below show that I’ve selected February 2007 as my First Date, and March 2007 as my Second Date:
Most people, like myself, would think of using the First Date Calendar for the earliest date (as in the Date Range that happened first), and the Second Date Calendar for the latest date (as in the Date Range that happened last). However, look at what happens when you do just that:
Do you see that? It lists the First Date (February) below the Second Date (March). This is “backwards”, simply because we are all programmed to read things from top to bottom. It’s also not what we are looking for — the month of March had more Visits and Pageviews per Vist than February, so how was there a -26.17% and -9.70% Change, respectively?
So, if we’re trying to look at a comparison between February and March, to see how March did in comparison to February, you would have to make the First Date your most recent date (March), and your Second Date your oldest date (February). When you do that, your report will then look like this:
Now, that’s better! There was a +35.44% increase in Visits, and a +10.74% increase in Pageviews per Visit from February to March.
So, when you want to compare two Date-Ranges, make sure you use your most recent date as your First Date, and your oldest date as your Second Date.