Google Analytics is without a doubt the most used web analytics software around. For many companies it has become an indispensable tool, helping them understand and interpret their online presence. Google Analytics has now a new look, that comes along with a couple of major improvements.
Once you click the red link that leads you into the new interface you will surely notice the difference. The account home page in addition to showing all your accounts, now shows all profiles in one list and you can immediately jump into the section of the most interest: visitors, traffic sources, content or conversions. However, for agencies or annalistic specialists who manage multiple sites, this new arrangement comes with a high price. You can't sort accounts by number of visitors or change in visits anymore. This was very convenient to discover at a glance, which accounts required your attention.
The main navigation bar of the new interface is pleasant.
The New Dashboard
The next big change is the new dashboard. You can now create more than just one Dashboard per profile, and you can create up to 20 custom reports - now called "widgets" - per dashboard. A widget is basically a small window with one to three metrics that can be displayed either as metric, pie chart, timeline or table.
The new dashboard allows you to add up to 20 widgets
Again, the new feature comes with a drawback. Before, you could easily add a new report from within any report, even custom reports and have a direct link to the full report. Now you have to manually create each widget, without having the possibility to link the widget to the complete report. Kind of painful. But even worse: there is no way anymore to add a map to the dashboard!!
Read about the new Dashboard on the Google Analytics blog
Plot Rows are a completely new feature that might be very helpful for faster insight into your data. With Plot Rows, you can display up to two rows of a report table and compare it to the overview. For example, you can quickly find out what traffic source contributed to a peak in your timeline. As mentioned, currently you can only plot two rows and compare it to the overview. If you want to compare more rows at the same time, I suggest you switch to the motion chart view, which is still one of my favorite features in Google Analytics.
Where did the traffic spike come from? Twitter!
Motion Charts: Quickly find out what's going on
Read about Plot Rows on the Google Analytics blog
Improved Custom Reports
Custom Reports now have their own tab in the main navigation bar, this moves them more into the spotlight. With custom reports you can pretty much create all reports you want, that don't come out of the box. And for what I could see, there are really no metrics or dimensions missing from the list. Custom reports combined with Advanced Segments can answer pretty much any question you have about your web traffic.
Custom Reports: Analytics à la carte.
Read about Custom Reports on the Google Analytics blog
Switching between profiles
It also seems that Google has given considerable thought to improving the workflow of this tool. For example, if you switch between two profiles, you will remain on the same report/view within the same time frame. This will help you compare your different profiles.
Hopefully, Google will apply the same for switching between Dashboard and Reports and will also keep in memory your preference to see information grouped by day, week or month. I suppose that's why it is still called "beta" and these bugs will be ironed out with the upcoming releases.
And even more: Site Speed Analytics Report
Just two weeks ago, a completely new metric was added by Google: Page Load Time. To measure your page load time you will need to update your tracking code. This new metric will tell you how long it takes to load a given page. According to Google, "the page load measurement in the Site Speed report starts from the user click and includes loading of the elements on a page. It uses W3C's Navigation Timing spec."
Reports are based on a 10% sampling rate and speed is only measured when appropriate browser supports is available. This new addition shows once again, that Google is taking page load speed seriously and is doing its part to make the web a faster place.
Read about the Site Speed Analytics Report on the Google Analytics blog