Google Analytics are a valuable free tool you can use to get all kinds of actionable data about your website’s performance. Every website should have GA installed, even if you don’t know what to do with the information it gathers right now. GA will gather that information and it will be there when you’re ready, or when you hire someone like Haden Interactive to find the useful information in that large collection of data.
Google is well know for making frequent changes and improving things all the time, so it should come as no surprise that there are some changes on the way in Google Analytics. A recent announcement from Google says, “we’ve been working to build a simpler Google Analytics while still retaining the key functionality that people frequently use.”
Sometimes that kind of statement means that you’re going to lose something you’ve been relying on, but this time you may be willing to give up the things that are going away.
The navigation bar circled in the screenshot below will be gone. “Admin is now pinned to the bottom of the navigation,” Google says.
The left sidebar will be resizeable so you can have more space in the main pane. They’ll also be redesigning the menus with the Material Design standards in mind.
All the options for customizing reporting will be together in the left sidebar. You’ll be taken to the last page you were looking at as soon as you log in. You can change the default date range, which currently is the past 30 days. And you won’t have a “Home” page any more. Instead, you can change which page you’re looking at from any page.
You can do that right now, as it happens. Apparently they’re letting us get used to the new feature before they take away the old one.
I will miss the Home page, personally, because I have a lot of properties and it’s handy to be able to scan the entire group and see whether any of the accounts have something going on that I need to look at. People who just have a couple of websites to mind will not be inconvenienced.
What’s going away?
While the navigation and organization are changing, just two reports are being removed. One is the very handy In-Page Analytics. This report allows you to see where people are clicking and how far they’re scrolling. We’ve seen a lot of glitches with this report, and that may be why it’s heading out.
However, you can still see the data with a Chrome extension.
The other report heading for the chop is the Intelligence report. These are the alerts that you have suddenly got a lot of traffic from Indiana, or that your visitors time on page went way up last week. It’s basically an alert that shows you unusual events… and that’s often where the useful data shows up first.
You will still be able to get these alerts on the mobile version of Google Analytics, on the Assistant page.
Is this Google encouraging us to use Chrome and their mobile app? Are they planning to simplify the basic free version of GA enough that more of us will need the paid versions? Will these be great improvements that make an already excellent tool even more wonderful? Your guess is as good as mine.
But overall, it doesn’t sound as though these changes will lead to much gnashing of teeth.
Need help getting actionable insights from Google Analytics? Call Rosie at 479.966.9761 and find out how we can help.