Google Analytics Just Got WAY Better - API, Segments & Reports

Josh Chambers, Former Viget

Article Category: #Strategy

Posted on



Google Analytics just rolled out some pretty amazing features that anyone who is into web analytics can get excited about.

The new features:

  • Custom Reports
  • Advanced Segmentation (Soooo good)
  • Motion Charts (sort of blew my mind)
  • New Dashboard and User Interface
  • An API! (this, this is just amazing. Dios mio)
  • Integration with AdSense

Let's just go down the line and give a brief recap on a few of these tools (with a few videos for those of you who are already spacing out), and why they matter to you -- even if you're not a data nerd.

Custom Reports

  • No, this doesn't mean you can export reports in a sleeker, cooler, more useable, non-sucking, manner (that's where the API comes in). However, it does mean you can build a report to include just about any combination of data you can think of.
  • Why does this matter to you?
      For too long, our hands were tied with canned reports. Who says including goals, exit rates, PPC cost data, and only a particular page shouldn't be a report? Now you can create it with a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to save it down, and use it over and over again.

Advanced Segmentation

  • So, what I often do for our GA clients is build a profile with an advanced filter that only shows paid traffic, another that only shows organic traffic, and at times, a profile that shows only traffic from a certin source. Bascially, that's what this new feature does. While there still might be times to build a new profile with custom filter segments, this just makes it a one-button-click and you've got a custom segment. And, the most amazing part, it works retroactively. So, you can segment all your historical data. That's a huge advantage over custom filters as they only display the data from the day you implemented them and onward.
  • Why does this matter to you?
      What if you want to know how paid traffic is converting versus how organic search traffic is doing? What if you only care about what pages visitors with a bounce rate over 60% are visiting? It's honestly a few clicks away now. 


Motion Charts:

  • These little guys still need some work, but they have potential. You can now isolate one visitor, one page, one piece of data, and shifts throughout your specified time period. Like I said, it's still a bit rough, but it does allow you to see some connections in data you might not otherwise see. This is, however, way in the weeds.
  • Why is this important to you?
      For those of us who need very in-depth data, it can allow us to get a bit deeper than before. And, if nothing else, this shows that the Google Anlaytics team is thinking ahead of the curve, and has the capabilities to do some pretty cool stuff with data.

The Google Analytics API (still in private beta):

  • For a long time, Google Analytics has been a walled garden. You were stuck with a generic PDF or a .csv file that made me doubt my intelligence. Trying to make reports look good has been up to Snagit, and your favorite MS Office product. However, with a data API, the sky is the limit.
  • Why is this important for you?
  • Reporting! Now, you'll have the ability to build custom reports and plug your data in to your own format. Additionally, this will allow us to explore data in new ways as we can access the raw data and pump it into whatever app we can dream up (don't you think a local restore seller would like to see their data in a helpful Google Map Mashup?). There are limitations, but this alone is the biggest GA change in years. 

Hope you found this helpful. Check out Google's post on the above issue for a few more bits of information, and keep an eye out for some API apps from Viget Labs. I'm also curious about what creative ways others are using advanced segmenation, custom reports, and eventually the API. Got anything yet?


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