The first, most noticeable one, is the appearance of the Intelligence button in the main navigation. This is an alerting service that will automatically notify you of significant changes to data patterns. Be sure to change the Alert Sensitivity setting to high if your site doesn’t get large numbers of visitors.
Intelligence has already given me useful insights. I wrote an article about Michelle Obama Image Spam recently that received prominence in the Google search results and was also linked to from Obama’s web page. My site received an unexpected wave of traffic.
Google Intelligence notified me of the unexected spike in traffic on the day of posting, and provided me with 4 Alerts letting me know I had:
- more Visitors than normal, up 306%
- more New Visitors than normal, up 394%
- more Organic Search visitors than normal, up 493%
- and finally more Google Organic Search, up 406%
Custom Alerts lets you set a number of options to have alerts sent to you if anticipate something unusual might happen. In the example below, I am setting up an alert in case there is a significant drop in AdWords (PPC) traffic. You can apply alerts to any of the profiles in your account and choose whether it should be on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. You’ll notice that the settings follow the pattern for Advanced Segments with the “condition matching” format for choosing what data to use.
I’m sure you can think of many other uses for this tool – how about setting up an alert ahead of an email campaign or some PR being published, so that you are told if traffic from a certain source rises above a threshold?
Another significant change is to Goals. Previously you were limited to four Goals per profile, which were views of a particular page. Now, you have four sets of five goals (i.e. 20 goals) and you can choose from URL Destination (page view), Time on Site and Pages per Visit. You can see below the new format for choosing Time on Site as a Goal:
This is brilliant news for sites with multiple goals or goals with more subtlety than simply the view of a particular page.
Another excellent new feature, Advanced Filters let you analyze your data with much greater granularity than previously available – it used to require exporting to a spreadsheet and some fancy formulas.
Now, you can very quickly drill down into specific detail within a report. The example below shows me filtering a report by a particular keyword that led to a conversion. I’m looking for those phrases containing that keyword that actually generate revenue. You can see at the bottom how filtering can be applied – it’s very straightforward:
Other New Features
Other items of note, which some of you will find useful:
The Unique Visitors metric can now be used against any dimension in custom reports, so you can see unique visitors in a particular segment.
Multiple custom variables: Some advanced users will be utilising custom variables (using additional Analytics code) to track things like users who are logged in or users who viewed a particular page/section. Analytics now supports multiple variables at once.
Share Custom Reports and Advanced Segments: If you have a report or segment you’ve created and want to share it with someone else so they can use it in their own Analytics account, you can now do that with the Share link under the Manage Custom Reports or Manage Advanced Segments page.
So, there you have it – some very useful and powerful new features, as Google tries to keep its free Analytics software up to speed with the paid-for packages available. If you want help on using and understanding Google Analytics, take a look at my training events page for upcoming Analytics courses.