Getting a Grip on Googles New Analytics Feature

Google Analytics has become ubiquitous among marketers, web developers and business owners alike. And the resources available to support them are now equally broad.

While most of the online resources are useful, it's hard to find a good overview of new feature changes.

Google has now narrowed that gap by introducing a new page called Product Release Notes. This page offers users a summary of recent feature updates to Google Analytics.

Keeping Users in the Loop

It's similar in format to Adobe Marketing Cloud Release Notes, also a summary site of feature update information.

Google's Product Release Notes summarizes the updates and changes, providing users with a helpful overview and explanation of what the changes mean to their analytics capabilities.

Google shares this information on its site about the Product Release notes:

"Release notes will be updated periodically and will have the most comprehensive list of new features or changes to the Google Analytics product. So, if you see something new in your account and have questions, we recommend starting here. We’ll point you to the relevant documentation to get you up to speed on everything you need to know."

Previously, Google Analytics users had to rely on updates from blog commentary in various media to understand if Google had made a change.

A Google Plus page, managed by analytics group Cardinal Path, had become a popular resource for questions and answers from various analytics experts.


Subjective Bias

But there is a big disadvantage that can occur when seeking information from open Q and A sites.

Each individual interprets the value of a feature change in his or her own way. Some may find a new feature valuable, while others may feel like a feature is not.

Moreover, community members can be at the informational mercy of the solution providers. Everyone finds out about a change at the same time, so no one ends up with a deep knowledge at the start to provide insight what-to-dos.

A central source like the Product Release Notes can eliminate guesses regarding feature introductions and their potential influence on reporting.

Other Options

The Product Release Notes is just one of several notation sources available. We noted an alert tool along with several diagnostics tools in the CMSWire post How Google Analytics Tools Can Minimize Data Errors.

Among those tools, I suggested using the annotation manager, located in the admin section under the view column. Annotations can be used to mark events that have influenced a marketing campaign, and be a potential starting point for timeline-related data.

Users should also use the annotation manager to journal updates as they are implemented. Adding annotation increasing the visibility of changes alongside reports against a time line. Thus users can then appreciate how the changes have been rolled out over time compared against website performance.

The best analytics practitioners notice the changes that are happening in the analytics spaces, including the features that impact their reporting activity the most.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by Cats in trees.