Google Analytics’ Game-Changing Features
At today's eMetrics Summit in Washington, D.C., Google announced some pretty important new features for Google Analytics. These are significant additions that bring Google Analytics much closer to being a true enterprise solution.
A few of the most important changes:
- This is huge! Analytics Intelligence: Will provide automatic alerts of signficant changes in the data patterns of your site metrics and dimensions over daily, weekly and monthly periods. For instance, Intelligence could call out a 300% surge in visits from YouTube referrals last Tuesday or let you know bounce rates of visitors from Virginia dropped by 70% two weeks ago. Instead of you having to monitor reports and comb through data, Analytics Intelligence alerts you to the most significant information to pay attention to, saving you time and surfacing traffic insight that could affect your business.
- Number of allowed goals (success events): This has been increased from 4 to 20
- New types of goals: Allows you to set thresholds for Time on Site and Pages per Visit (important for lead-generation sites).
- Unique Visitor Metric: This allows marketers to see how many actual visitors (unique cookies) make up any user-defined segment.
- Multiple Custom Variables: Use custom variables to classify any number of ineractions and behaviors on your site.
At this time, we do not know what type of implementation these new features will entail. I would guess that the custom variables will take the same amount of labor to implement as they do with Omniture.
So, why are these new features game-changing? Google Analytics has no hard cost (still have labor costs of implementation and analysis), has a very user-friendly interface, and now has these very advanced features. Companies will need to look very carefully at their web analytics goals and see if a paid solution is really a better fit for them. Mind you, there are still places where Google Analytics can't compete (i.e. support, plus other customized reporting).
All of that being said, we don't know where paid solutions are heading either. Adobe bought Omniture several weeks ago, and that could have a big impact on their user interface. Adobe has stated that 50% of their corporate strategy will be directed toward Omniture Optimization products. We also know that Omniture is working on a new release of SiteCatalyst. Fuel has signed up to be part of the beta testers, and I'm really excited to have some input on the version.
The Analytics industry is constantly changing. One thing is certain: when we look at this industry in 2-3 years, it will look nothing like it does today.
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