New Google Analytics

March 17, 2011 | Jonathan Weber

The little elves in the Google Analytics factory are always making improvements, but this is a biggie. They’ve been working on this under wraps for a long time, and today Google Analytics finally pulled back the sheet on a new version. It introduces a new interface and builds a platform for further improvements going forward.

What’s New

There are lots of new things, and we’ll be covering many of the features in detail over the coming few weeks. Here’s a run-down of some of the highlights:

  • Dashboard with improved customizability.
    New Dashboard

    Even though I just wrote a couple of weeks ago how the GA dashboard might be better than you thought, now it’s even better. You get to choose the format of widgets (charts, tables, single metrics) and you get to title them yourself with something meaningful. And, you can create multiple dashboards and use them for different profiles. So far conspicuously missing: the ability to export or email the dashboard.

  • Improved organization of reports.
    Report Navigation

    The report navigation is re-organized to make a little more sense, grouping together similar reports and making similar data accessible right within a single report instead of multiple similar reports.

  • New report design. It does all the same kinds of things as before, but with a streamlined interface. It also has some little nuggets of improvements we’ll cover later.
  • Pet peeve yay! When you navigate around and switch accounts or profiles, GA remembers better where you are — which report, which date range, even which advanced segments. There are exceptions, though — Robbin found that when you switch from custom reports to regular reports, your advanced segments get turned off.
  • Speaking of advanced segments, Pet peeve 2 yay! You can now apply multiple advanced segments (still up to 4 at a time) but you no longer have to select “All Visits” as one of the four.
  • New, improved custom reports. The ability to save a filter with a custom report, among other improvements. Currently, my “old” custom reports aren’t showing up here, so not sure what the migration plan for those is.
  • Rejiggered management interface. Probably the least sexy but most important part of this all. The account management interface is re-arranged to make a bit more sense of account, web properties, and profiles and allows for better management of shared items between users (like advanced segments and custom alerts). Although it’s not very exciting (and it’s not all there yet), this lays the foundation for better account management features and sharing of customizations between users.

More screenshots:

New report interface

New top navigation


New Custom Reports

Don’t Panic

With all the changes, you might be worried that everything you know about Google Analytics is going out the window and you’ll have to learn it all over. Don’t fret: almost everything you already know is still here. In some cases it’s a little rearranged or streamlined, but your favorite reports are still available and all the same data is still there. There’s even a report finder to help you find your old reports in the new version.

I Want It!

You may or may not be able to see this now. Google is rolling out beta access in waves over the coming weeks. When you get the option, a link will appear at the top of your GA reports that says “New Version”, like this:

New version link

For some time, while this is still a beta, you’ll have the ability to switch back and forth between the new and old versions — so just in case there’s something you used to know how to do but haven’t figured out yet in the new interface, don’t worry, you can still do it.

Most importantly, remember that it’s a beta. Although the Google Analytics team, Google Analytics Certified Partners, and others have used and given feedback on this interface, the GA team will be closely monitoring how a broad spectrum of users make use of this new version, and the feedback they give, to continue to make enhancements and correct issues.