Google Analytics has more or less been in functional incubation since Google acquired web analytics company Urchin in March of 2005. Even after the exciting release of Google Analytics in November of the same year, and numerous minor and major updates over the next half decade, only in recent years has Google Analytics become almost as ubiquitously used and trusted as Google Search.
In 2012, Google Analytics made some significant strides towards further solidifying its place as the leading free web analytics and metric measurement platform.
Google Analytics began its slew of major updates early on May 2012, with the first set including:
- Social media analytics – Google announced that Analytics now provided 4 social reports that measure social marketing impact on advertising initiatives and its effect on your ecommerce performance.
- Report exporting and sharing – This update includes a share button for custom dashboards, advanced segments, and reports, and the option to download or email reports from the Export tab.
- Events flow report – From the Flow Visualization tab, you can view downloads, embedded gadgets, and videos as Events, and track their flow.
- Attribution modeling – This feature basically lets you assign credit to different elements within your marketing campaign tracked by Google Analytics, making it easier to measure impact and performance.
Come the following month, Google Analytics launched yet another update, this time featuring:
- Content experiments – Basically an A/B testing feature for content, this feature assists in fine-tuning content to see what works best.
- Social report trackbacks – This feature builds upon the May social media reports update by adding trackback data, information that shows content social sharing info.
- Easy dashboard library – A convenient feature that allows you to create custom dashboards instead of relying on standard ones within Google Analytics.
Just this past month, Google Analytics struck out with two more updates. The first one featured:
- Mobile app analytics – End-to-end measurement of customer paths within a mobile app, allowing measurements of metrics across all stages of user experience.
- Intelligence alerts widget – A quicker, easier way to be alerted for unexpected dips or surges in website analytics through automated or custom alerts.
- Browser size analytics – Allows you to simulate what your website looks like in several browsers.
- Google Analytics app for Android – On the go Analytics access through any Android device.
The second batch of July updates worked on:
- Remarketing – Data from previous website visitor behavior now lets you target them for remarketing through targeted ads.
- Content experiments launches in 100% of all Analytics accounts – A/B content testing is now final and available to all Analytics users, with improvements like copying experiments and use relative URLs, among others.
- Page Value metric – What was previously (relatively little) known as the $index value is now Page Value, the metric that measures revenue contribution of every single webpage.
In little over half a year Google Analytics has delved into social media reporting, mobile analytics, and A/B testing. It has also improved on existing features and metrics, and afforded users more convenience through customized reports, dashboards, and sharing options. Today, Google Analytics offers better insight and actionable data, and even offers to perform the best action based on the data gathered.
While webmasters and entrepreneurs look forward to newer, better functions in the next half of 2012, the existing features and improvements introduced by Google Analytics are already making a huge difference.