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10 Years of Google Analytics – Google Analytics Features

27th November 2015 by Lauren Pearson | News & Events

This month marked the tenth anniversary of the launch of Google Analytics, which over the last decade has become one of the leading providers of web analytics in a competitive market. Part of this success can certainly be put down to its cost, or lack of – as it provides a free base package whereas competitors such as Adobe Analytics do not.

Another potential reason for users to choose Google Analytics is the fact that it provides a very intuitive interface, which helps users to implement the service without IT assistance and coding skills. This also means that it requires less time to learn how to harness the web analytics software.

Google Analytics provides various features for their users to gain qualitative and quantitative data analysis from their websites and their competitors and drive continual improvement of the online experience for customers which will then allow desired outcomes to be achieved.

These features from Google Analytics may be provided as part of the free base package but that doesn’t automatically ensure that all users will make the most of the software.

For example, this month, Brian Clifton launched a survey to determine which features are regularly used, and who uses them. Search Engine Watch have published a follow up article discussing which of the ‘essential’ Google Analytics features are used most/least regularly and why they think that is.

Google Analytics featuresAs you can see from the Search Engine Watch infographic – currently, a large percentage of users are using custom reports to get a quick insight into the qualitative and quantitative data captured. Event tracking and advanced segments are also features which seem to be used by the majority of Google Analytic users. The key point is that all of these features are very easy to utilise and require a low learning curve.

The issue appears when we take a look at the users of the more complicated features, as there is a clear correlation between the difficulty of features and how frequently they are used. Content experiments for example seems to be a feature which is scarcely used, which is likely down to an issue with the implementation. Unlike the majority of Google Analytics, content experiments would require the businesses’ IT departments to setup the feature.

Data import, intelligence events and enhanced e-commerce are further examples of scarcely used features on Google Analytics, something that is almost certainly down to the businesses not having the skilled analysts on hand to make use of the features. However, in the mature market of analytics, it simply isn’t necessary to struggle on without having analysts who can provide a human interpretation of the collected data. That’s why at Yard we have a team on hand who have the necessary expertise to make the most of Google Analytics’ features, but also why we offer training sessions to our clients, to enable them to extract key insights themselves going forward.

A new feature of Google Analytics that is currently in beta is calculated metrics, which will allow the user to create new metrics from existing metrics. As a result, more relevant analysis is provided and greater actionability is enabled. Both results can be achieved without leaving the product. An example of a Calculated Metric could be Pageview per Goal, so the user can see the how many pages are viewed before a goal is completed:

Name: Pageview per Goal

External Name: (automatically populated)

Formatting Type: Integer

Formula: {{Pageview}} / {{Goal}}

In our opinion, the three main Google Analytics features which will definitely improve the quality of data coming into a business are: segmentation to separate visitors to provide more meaningful data; campaign tracking which aids the marketing strategy as it is crucial when it comes to understanding which marketing channels are valuable and which are not; and multi-channel funnels and attribution modelling which allow the company to understand their marketing mix and how much value is provided to the business.

– Jac Priestland, Nathan Stockford and Ben James, Yard

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