Google Analytics has a wealth of data for those who care to mine it. However, some might prefer to get a quick idea of what’s going on without that mining. For them, Motion Charts are a great option. Motion charts also can help you see relationships among different metrics that might not show themselves as easily on the line graph.
The screenshot at left is from the Google Analytics for our lab site, FreshPlans. This is the keyword report, found within the Traffic Sources section.
You can see the drop-down menu showing Line Chart mode, and below it the Motion Chart. If you click on “Motion Chart,” you’ll see a new screen like the one below.
You can see changes in the chart over time on this page, in the form of an animation. Use color and size to watch different metrics, if you choose to. We could, for example, see both how popular various keywords were and how long people stayed on the page over the course of the time being watched. We’ve chosen just to look at the popularity of the keywords.
You can see from the line graph above that we had a large spike in traffic on Bunsen Burner Day (we were featured at the Google Doodle). Since most of the visitors on that day were searching for “Robert Bunsen,” we can really see how the motion chart works by watching the movement of that keyword:
“Robert Bunsen” began the month as just one of many keywords showing up for the day, but we can see that on Bunsen Burner day it zoomed over to the right. After Bunsen Burner Day, this keyword returned to being just one of the pack.
This feature was available as the “Visualize” button in the old version of Google Analytics. Now it’s under “Motion Chart” in the new version. As of this writing, you still have a choice between the two versions.
You can use the motion chart with any of the data at Analytics which uses a chart. So, you can look at referral sources and chart the bounce rate for various referring sites. You can see the conversion rate for various landing pages. You can check bounce rates for different languages over time.
Once you’ve identified a trend or relationship with the motion chart, you can look more intently at the phenomenon with the other areas of Analytics, or you can slow down the motion chart and pause it to look more closely at individual dates.