Google launch new Analytics version 5 beta

Yesterday, New Accounts Home screen

The newly designed accounts home screen, demonstrating filtering profiles with the new Search tool

On the top line reporting level, there is now the ability to create multiple Dashboards instead of just being limited to one, so you can create a perfect mix-and-match overview for each department of your organisation, be it marketing, technical / development or just management in general!

As mentioned before, some of the reports have been merged or grouped in order to provide a more logical structure. For example, the bulk of the Technical Reports (e.g. Browser, OS, Screen Resolution etc) have now all been grouped under a single “Browser & OS” report within the “Technology” subsection of the Visitors category, taking a lot of the clutter out of the navigation without trading off any of the functionality that has come to be expected from Analytics. The changes to the structure, as well as improvements to the Analytics platform itself, have resulted in an interface that is now much faster and easier to work with.

Browsers & OS Report
Several reports are now merged under one Navigation entry. Here, Technology related reports (highlighted in red) are grouped under the “Browser & OS” report.

Features wise, there is a lot of ground to cover. One of my favourite new aspects is the ability to now create Goals based on Events, providing a much more flexible means of measuring site interaction and avoiding the need (in some cases at least) to use virtual pageviews to track a goal, which will inevitably inflate your overall pageview count. Goals have previously been rather weak and flimsy in Analytics - especially if you have multiple goals with the same destination page – and so having the chance to use events instead opens up a fantastic number of new possibilities.

Advanced Segmentation – one of Google Analytics’ key features – has also received some attention in this update. Up to four segments can now be compared without the need to include “All Visits” as one of the four. Creating and testing new Advanced Segments is also much easier to work with, and you can now actually create and preview segments while viewing real reports to get an instant visualisation of the results, making a very useful feature even more of a joy to use.

Testing out a new Advanced Segment with the improved editor
Advanced Segments can now be created on the fly and tested against actual reports

Of course, there are plenty of other features I could go into, ranging from the brand new “Term Cloud” visualisation option for Keywords and Referrals, to the updates to custom reporting – all topics for another day! The only annoyance that has kept me from adopting the new interface full-time is that percentage differences are mysteriously absent when comparing values for two date ranges (e.g. comparing the total visits between two months). A perplexing disappearance, but one I’m sure will be corrected soon enough.

Month on Month comparison
Where are my percentages?

Naturally, as the new interface is still in Beta testing, there are a few areas which still need improvement or aren’t fully available yet. Google are relying heavily on feedback to make sure the product evolves the way its users want it to – so if your account has the option to try out the new interface, give it a go and let Google know your thoughts, be it positive or negative!

If you haven’t got the option to try out the new UI just yet, don’t worry – you can either wait for Google to make it available for more accounts, or you can apply for whitelisting via their Beta Sign-Up page.

Stay tuned for our more in-depth coverage of some of the exciting new features in the next generation of Google Analytics!