Google Analytics Version 5 Announced

Posted by on Mon, Mar 21, 2011
Filed Under | Analytics, Google Analytics


At the Google Analytics Great Users’ Event (GAUGE) last Thursday, Google announced a new version of Google Analytics (V5).  There is an exciting list of new features and changes to discuss. Google has indicated that this release is more than just a new interface skin; it also included many infrastructure changes.  We’ve been using the interface and find it extremely fast and intuitive.

As with any major interface change, you’ll find that reports are in different locations and experienced users will have to adjust to these changes.  Google has provided a Report Finder utility to help you locate the new locations of reports if you are having difficulties.  Additionally, keep in mind that this is a beta release and you’ll find some things that are not yet available on the new version.  You’ll be able to move between the new version and the old version (V4) during this period.

Navigation Changes & Account Management

As a Google Analytics Certified Partner, we manage hundreds of accounts and countless profiles under a single login.  In the new version, Google has implemented a new home screen that allows you to quickly get to the profile for which you are looking.  Even if you don’t manage a ton of accounts and profiles, you’ll still find time savings in the ability to jump directly to a report section (Visitors, Traffic Sources, Content, or Conversions).

GA V5 Report Section Navigation

Once you have selected a profile, the navigation has changed to place the dashboard, your site reports, and custom reports as top-level elements.

GA V5 Top Level Navigation

Google has also hinted that you’ll soon be able to create your own navigation sections and assign custom reports to those sections.

The account management functionality is essentially the same as v4, but the interface has changed.  The only functionality change is that you can now edit the name of the web property.

Multiple Dashboards (and Widgets)

Google has provided an often requested feature to create multiple dashboards.  You can now create several dashboards on your profile.  This is helpful if you want to provide a different dashboard report to various departments or roles in your organization.

Another dashboard enhancement is the ability to create various widgets:

  • metric
  • pie chart
  • timeline
  • and table.

You can also customize the name of each widget.

GA V5 Dashboard Widget

Events as Goals

One of the most exciting new features of v5 is the ability to setup event based goals!  This can be used for a wide variety of purposes, but a few that immediately come to mind are:

  • Set a goal when a user downloads a PDF file (requires additional tracking code to fire event).
  • Create custom goal values for events.
  • Measure interactions and engagement on your site (watching a video for 2 minutes, getting a shipping quote, etc).

Powerful Custom Reports

In Google Analytics v5, you can now create two different types of custom reports: Explorer or Flat Table.  The explorer report type is the same as the v4 custom reports, while the flat table allows you select multiple dimensions in a flat-table view (which is VERY powerful).  Additionally, you can now filter your custom report and save that filtered report.  To learn more about the power of custom reports, read our blog post on what’s new with custom reports in v5.

Term Cloud Visualization

A brand new visualization option in v5 is the word/term cloud visualization.  This is available on various reports and creates a visualization that shows the importance of terms (keywords, sources, etc).  The larger the term, the more popular it is in the data set.  This is a great way to visualize large or complex data types for quick analysis.  We dive into this new feature in another blog post.

Good Prominence of Targeted Keywords

Advanced Segment Changes

In version 4, when you selected more than one advanced segment, it was required that you also include the ‘All Visits’ segment.  In version 5, you can now select multiple advanced segments without including ‘All Visits’.  When you apply advanced segments, a legend at the top of the page instantly shows you the percentage of total visits that you are looking at (which can help put things into perspective).

Another new feature is that you can apply a date range comparison to multiple advanced segments that are created.  This creates a lot of data, but Google did a great job in visually structuring the reports.

Interactive Help

Throughout the interface, you’ll find interactive help links to the left of the report.   For example, on the ‘All Traffic’ source report, there is an interactive help topic that visually walks you through adding a visitor type as a secondary dimension.  An overlay will appear that shows you exactly where to click on the interface, step-by-step.

GA V5 Interactive Help

Conclusion

The Google Analytics version 5 changes have brought a lot of new and useful features to the product.  This is both an exciting and important step forward for this easy to use and now more powerful analytics tool.

If you want to be considered for early access to this beta, fill out the beta request form.

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This post was written by:

has written 29 posts on the Web Analytics Blog.

Joe is the Analytics Director and a Partner at Blast Analytics & Marketing. He understands Google Analytics like nobody else and is a master of many programming languages.

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