New Google Analytics

New Google Analytics

As you may know, Google is currently in the process of rolling out its new, “improved” Google analytics interface. I’ve had access to this for a little while now, but it wasn’t until earlier this morning that I consciously noticed myself flicking back and forth between the new interface and the old interface that got me thinking, is the new interface actually any better than before?

Gripe number 1: % Change

This morning, I was looking at some year on year data for a client, something that I do on a daily basis. So I set my date ranges, and looked down at traffic sources, and realised that the important stat, % change, wasn’t there. Here’s an example.

Before (old version):

After (new version):


This is a massive flaw in my opinion. This feature is something I use all the time, and something I will be going back to the old interface for.

Gripe number 2: Data Export

I’m often exporting a lot of data from analytics. One of the problems with the previous interface that has been carried over is that the maximum number of rows that can be exported in the interface is 500.

Obviously you can still use the “&limit=” trick in the URL, to push this up, but this has now be limited to 20,000 rows. Not only that, but the exports have been cut down beyond all recognition. Graph data seems to have been removed from all the exports. I couldn’t believe that. When I make a presentation, I always like to export the graph data and redo the charts in a nicer style, (I know I’m a graph Nazi). Again this is something I do regularly, so will struggle to live without this.

Also, data from the other tabs has also been removed, and the export matches the data of the view you’re seeing when you export it.

Before (loads of data!):

After (hardly any!):

Gripe Number 3: Total Conversion rates

They’ve gone. Total conversion rates have gone.

In the previous interface, you could see a total goal conversion rate, as well as being able to see the conversion rate for each of the goals individually. I always find this quite useful when looking at the overall success of a keyword or traffic source (especially at a quick glance), so it’s a real shame this is gone.

Gripe Number 4: No weekly date selection

If you do weekly reports in analytics, or check stats on a weekly basis for certain campaigns, or KPIs, one thing you’ll notice that the weekly date selection has vanished. This is only a minor gripe, but one worth mentioning.
Before:

 

After:

 

Good stuff 

All of that said, there have been some real nice additions to the new interface. Obviously there’s much more access to custom variables now, which makes analytics as a whole much more powerful (for advanced users).

We’ve also seen some lovely new dashboard features, with much more customisation and can definitely be really useful.

There are a couple of little things I’ve noticed over the past week or so that’s been really helpful. These are the unsung heroes of the new interface:

Plotting Rows into charts

It’s really nice to be able to plot the rows of the table, on to a chart, so you can see the comparable data over time. This has been especially useful so far when looking at a list of keywords, or traffic sources, and spotting something unusual. Being able to plot that information straight onto a chart to analyse it further has been particular helpful.

It would be even nicer if you could export that data into excel!

‘Time on site/page’ exports

Exporting time on site, time on page to excel in the old interface was a real pain. It would come out in seconds. This isn’t particularly helpful, and requires further processing to get it into a nice customer friendly format.
Before:

After:

Now though, you can see the format has changed here. The time is now outputted into a nice readable format.

Sticky Date Ranges:

FINALLY! In the old interface, changing between profiles was always a pain in the backside. Not because it was difficult to do, but every time you did, you’d have to reset the date range. This is made even worse if you’re comparing date ranges as every time you have to pick 2 new date ranges!

Making the date range sticky not just between profiles but also between accounts is in my opinion one of the best bits of the new system!

My suggested upgrade

There’s one thing in analytics that annoys me more than anything else. It was a problem in the old interface, and it’s been made no different in the new interface.

Date Selection


 

 

The compare to past tick box is something I use regularly. As I mentioned earlier, I love doing month on month and year on year comparisons of data. I’d love to see, when clicking the “compare to past” box, another selection box, to be able to make a quick selection for “month on month” or “year on year”. It’s so frustrating having to click through a year’s worth of months, every time you want a y-o-y comparison.

A summary

In summary, I am both happy and sad about the new Google analytics interface. There are some excellent additions but some strange choices in things that have been removed. Some things will make me quicker, some things that will slow me down.
So overall, I’m out undecided. What about you?