Google Analytics – New Version, New Look

May 8, 2007 1 By Tad Reeves

I just logged on to my Google Analytics, and got a wildly different opening screen for my stats. Instead of the old layout, with the last week’s visits/pageviews, the dotted geo map, and the breakdown of referring traffic, there’s a new, much more simplistic set of graphs and charts, and a majorly carved-down nav.

Just showed up on a refresh of the page at 3:20pm today.

I’m still trying to decide on whether or not I like the new look of the site, but heck – statistics sites are all about data and usability and that’s where there are a couple of major improvements that can immediately be seen.

1) Cute little trend graphs:

There are now cute little baby trend graphs that make it easy to see, at a glance, what the key metrics for the site are, and how they are doing over time. This rocks, as a lot of times, these numbers by themselves don’t really mean too much. As  L. Ron Hubbard wrote in a management essay:

“Trend monitors all graph readings.

“Viability monitors all graph readings.

“The place you are on a chain of command monitors all graph readings. The higher you are the longer the trend you read.” — LRH

[argh – in the middle of writing this, I got an e-mail from Google promoting the new version of GoogleA. So much for the preemptive blog post!]

2) New Maps and Map Segmentation:

At first glance of the home page, I was convinced that they thoroughly butchered one of my favourite features of GoogleA, which was the mapping. (i.e., big green, continent-only segmentation). However, they now let you view the geo overlay by continent, country, down to City, with a much better representation of such. Also, they include more cross-category reporting, etc. It’s not so bad, so I won’t complain.

3) Nifty New Path Reporter:

There is a nifty new means of reporting on top paths, where you can easily select a page, then select a path, and you can then see where people ended up. Looks more intuitive than the prior path reporting, but not quite where WebTrends is at on this.

4) Improvements to the Site Overlay:

The look has changed, and there’s been a minor feature set add to the site overlay feature, which lets you go through your site, and visually see what people are clicking on. A little drop-down at the top lets you switch between viewing the number of clicks, or the goal value of the clicks.

Duplicate links are still tough to track, so if you have more than one link that goes to the same place (i.e. a side nav and a top nav and a body link) you need to make sure to identify them differently in the code,or GoogleA will treat them all the same way.

5) E-mail reporting:

You can now communicate reports easily to others in the same way that other more expensive (i.e., it costs something) programs do.

You can e-mail reports as PDFs, CSV, TSV, or XML.

That actually rocks. You have no idea how many times I’ve done screenshots of a report for someone and then sent it to them.

All told, though I was put off by the megasimplistic presentation of the initial reporting and graphs, but I think this is a successful upgrade, for sure. I’ll definitely be putting it to work.