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Google Analytics Unveils A New User Experience

Google has just announced a new version of Google Analytics, introducing a completely new user experience. The product got a significant face lift and it now looks more enterprise-like.

The last time Google Analytics released such a major version was 1.5 years ago; we covered the release in-depth on this post, but basically the release included the intelligence engine, custom variables, expanded goals, expanded mobile reporting and others.

Below, I share a few screenshots of the new face of Google Analytics (still in closed beta) and explain how they will change product usage. The new version of Google Analytics will gradually rollout to users in phases according to Google.

Main Navigation

It is interesting to see that Google Analytics has adopted the look and feel of the new Google navigation bar released back in February. As we can see below, the new navigation bar prioritizes the following:

  1. Account Home: page where we can find all the accounts to which we have access to.
  2. Dashboards: page where we can find all dashboards from a specific account.
  3. My Site: the place where all reports live, which is now divided between reports and intelligence.
  4. Custom Reports: page where we can manage and create custom reports.
  5. Account Manager: links to all accounts we have access to.
  6. Settings: page with all the accounts in which we can change the settings (i.e., those we are granted with administrator access)

Google Analytics navigation

Account Home

The Account Home got a face lift in v4 (see link above), turning it into some kind of dashboard. However, it looks like Google has abandoned this idea and now we will not be able to see metrics on this page, as is currently the case.

The good news is that instead of the metrics, we now have links that can be used to jump to specific reports on a chosen profile. The icons link to the main reporting tabs: visitors, traffic sources, content, and conversions.

Google Analytics Account Home

Multiple & Improved Dashboards

This is probably one of the biggest hits of the release: the capability to create multiple dashboards, each containing any set of graphs. This is a much wanted feature, especially for large organizations, where employees have very different needs from the tool. Now dashboards can be set by hierarchy, department, interest or any other rule.

In addition, as we can see in the screenshot below, the tool has also adopted Google’s naming convention, now all boxes are called widgets. And the widgets are significantly more customizable than in the past. Now it is possible to define which metric you want to see as well as which visualization you prefer.

The only strange change when it comes to the dashboard functionality is that they can no longer be found on the header of each report. Traditionally, there has always been a button in all reports that enabled adding the report to the dashboard; this was a good shortcut to adding interesting views directly to the dashboard, and now this process will be more difficult.

Google Analytics Dashboard

Report Nomenclature

Besides changing the UI of the product, we can also see that the names of reports have changed. For long time users, the names will sound a bit strange, but they do seem to be more accurate and intuitive. Here are a few examples:

  • Network properties & browser capabilities now sit under one tab called Technology.
  • Top Content is now Pages
  • Goals are now Conversions
  • Visit Duration and Page depth are now Engagement

User Interface Improvements

In the screenshot below we can see some of the improvements on the UI of the new Google Analytics version.

New Google Analytics Interface

Closing Thoughts

As we have seen above, this release is very significant and I believe it is great news for users and the industry in general; once again, Google has raised the bar, especially when it comes to usability and data visualization.

However, I still believe there are some very important issues that should be addressed by Google in the near future. As I wrote on my Google Analytics Wishlist, I think the most critical improvements needed are:

  • Import API for Marketing Campaign Data: the possibility to import into Google Analytics different campaign cost data from places like Bing, Facebook, Yahoo and others.
  • Adsense Clicks as Ecommerce Transactions: the possibility to track adsense clicks as goals but using the amount received per click as ecommerce transactions
  • Website Optimizer / Webmaster Tools integrations: being able to use one platform for online marketing activity (see my thoughts on Analytics and Webmaster tools integration)

Did you like the new look and feel? What would you like to see changed on Google Analytics?

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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