The Battle for Free Web AnalyticsIt has only been a few weeks since Yahoo introduced Yahoo! Web Analytics, a new free web analytics tool based on the former IndexTools software. They haven't officially released the software to the broader audience yet, but they have provided some insights into what can be expected. Google, on the other hand, has offered their web analytics software for some time now. While it's not a bad offering -- especially considering it's free -- it has lacked the some of the features that an enterprise level analytics product needs to really be of value to a business.
Google Analytics UpdatesOf the updates Google is announcing, several are expected to be available anytime while a couple of others are still in Private Beta. As of this morning, we haven't seen anything new in the Analytics Dashboard. You can also watch YouTube videos of some of the new updates.
New Account Management DashboardMove between your accounts and profiles easier with a new account management dashboard. Even more importantly, you now have a bird's eye view of some key performance metrics for your accounts from the dashboard. You don't have to go into each account dashboard to get the basic view of what's happening on your site.
New Administrative Dashboard
From this new dashboard, see how many visits your site has had, what the average time on the site was and what the bounce rate was. In addition you can view the % of change in a number of metrics including Visits, Bounce Rate and Time on Site. You can view all this information based on a particular Day, Week, Month or Year. Some of the data is even color coded to let you know immediately of any issues. The new dashboard is definitely an improvement over the current one.
Advanced SegmentationAnalyze subsets of traffic on the fly. Google makes a couple of predefined segments available out-of-the-box including: "Paid Traffic" and "Visits with Conversions", or create your own.
Segments can be applied to current or historical data and you can compare the performance of the two segments side by side. Segments are not filters. Filters are applied to information coming into your account to provide customize final reports. They modify data at the pageview level. Segments do not actually modify your data. They simply enable you to filter the data in your report so that you can see how different types of visits are performing. There's a good blog post by Avinash Kaushik on how to use the Advanced Segments, along with a YouTube video.
Motion ChartsMotion Charts are pretty. They also provide a view of multi-dimensional analysis to your reports.
You plot your data into four different dimensions -- x-axis, y-axis, size, color -- and then watch how the data changes over time. When you click on each dimension you get a menu of metrics that can be applied to that dimension. This functionality looks and feels confusing, but Google provides a couple of samples to show you how it works. There is also a YouTube video for this new feature.
Custom ReportsCreate your own custom reports now and save them for viewing later on. Using a drag and drop interface you select the information and metrics and how you want the results organized. You can also create tabs which are basically multiple levels of sub-reports.
Here's a nice little step-by-step diagram showing how to create a custom report:
Steps to Create a custom report
Watch the YouTube video first to really understand how to build reports that provide you with valuable information.
The Data Export APIWant to play around with your analytics data? Integrate it into other applications? Build your own custom dashboard? Now you can using the Data Export API. The API is still in private beta -- so you'll have to wait on this one.
AdSense IntegrationUsing Google AdSense and Analytics? Now you can view reports on both of them in Google Analytics.
The integration of the two will provide you with good information on how your revenues and impressions are working in relation to your traffic. You will first have to link the two accounts together and if you are integrating several different websites, you will have to make a code small change to the sites you aren't marking as the Primary Domain. You can also link only one Analytics account to your AdSense account.