One year after the redesign

Thursday, June 19, 2008 | 10:30 AM


Anyone remember the previous Google Analytics interface? Here's a screenshot of the dashboard:

And another of a report with cross-segmentation clicked on:

Just over a year ago, after extensive user interviews, surveys and live usability studies, we completed a substantial redesign project and released a completely new Google Analytics interface.

And voilĂ :

The redesign addressed an important shift in the analytics industry's customer base. Not only are more businesses using web analytics than ever before, but an increasingly large number of business generalists (non-web analytics specialists) in these companies are using web analytics to drive decision making. We redesigned Google Analytics to help these legions of new users ask insightful questions of their data and get actionable answers.

Instead of adding reports with specialized information, the new Google Analytics places data in context making it easier to discover information relationships via navigation and data visualizations. We created a custom dashboard and introduced sparklines. We developed new graphing tools and added a new type of date slider that allows you to view spikes and dips in traffic as you set date ranges. And one of the most popular new features is one of the simplest: the ability to e-mail reports and schedule these e-mails so that information can be easily shared with key stakeholders (as well as curious counterparts).

When we announced this new version, we committed to continue adding new features in a steady stream of updates. I believe we've made good on that commitment, but you can be the judge. Below are my highlights from the last 12 months:

1. Internal site search: We've always shown you which keywords people search to find your site. Now, internal site search tracking shows you how people search once they're already on your site. See the keywords and search-refinement keywords people use, and the pages from which they begin and end their searches. And, find out how search on your site affects site usage, conversion rates, and e-commerce activity. Here's a shot of the insights you can get with site search data (click to enlarge):

2. Industry Benchmarking: With Benchmarking, you can compare your site data with site data from a variety of industry verticals. And the accompanying data-sharing settings let you control whether and how Google services interact with your data to enable and disable these features. Here's a screenshot (click to enlarge):

3. New visualizations and analysis features: You can now view many reports by hour or day and graph data by day, week, or month. You can also graph two metrics against each other over time—we call it multi-line graphing. So, for example, you can compare the number of visitors vs. bounce rates for a certain week, or see whether visitors who come to a website through AdWords spend more or less time on your site than visitors overall. In this screenshot, we've chosen to look at visitors trending in weekly units as opposed to daily. This makes it easier to spot trends when looking at longer time periods. And we're looking at visits compared to conversions:

4. New ga.js tracking code: Our new pagetag allows for a more flexibility and customization. Its just as easy to install as the old code, but allows more sophisticated users to track e-commerce transactions in a more readable way and take advantage of advanced tracking features. We've also added the Google Analytics codesite to help developers take advantage of documented customizations.

5. Correlations with offline marketing with Google Audio Ads and TV Ads integrations: Audio Ads and TV Ads customers can now track whether their Google radio and TV campaigns sent additional traffic to their website based on when and where the ads run.

6. Website Optimizer: Google's free multivariate website-testing tool is out of beta and available to everyone. And now you can even log in with your Google Analytics account.

7. Urchin Software: If you have content behind a security firewall or on an intranet or internal network that prevents you from using Google Analytics, you might want to consider Urchin 6. You can also track your website with Urchin and Google Analytics together.

8. Support and Help Centers in eight additional languages: We've added Thai, Filipino, Indonesian, Czech, Hungarian, Portuguese (Portugal), Turkish, and Polish. This brings the number of Google Analytics supported languages to 25.

9. Authorized Consultants (GAACs): This is the year of the Authorized Consultant. We've added six new GAACs in the past few months, bringing our worldwide total to 51. We have also added Website Optimizer Authorized Consultant and Urchin Software Authorized Consultant networks.

10. You: We have a sophisticated, engaged and vibrant user base from whom we're learning daily. We're so excited about the future: it's palpable at Google, and it all comes from you and our ecosystem of users, bloggers, consultants, and developers. We have many more new developments underway that I believe you'll enjoy so I hope you continue to stay engaged with this blog, our Google Group and our codesite.