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October 16, 2007

eMetrics: What's new with Google Analytics? by Brett Crosby

By Alex Cohen

BREAKING NEWS.  eMetrics has a tendency to bring out new and exciting news in the industry.  Last year in DC, Google announced their free multivariate testing tool Google Website Optimizer.  This year was no exception. I made a few predictions about Google Analytics.  What's new with Google Analytics?  Here's the live scoop from eMetrics DC!  It's a beta, so you need to sign up (open to all eMetrics attendees, probably going to be announced to others shortly).

  • Internal Site Search - How are people using your search feature?  How do you leverage that to understand, qualitatively, what your visitors want to find?  Remember when I asked Jeff Gillis about this?  Yeah, Google Analytics has 7 new reports, including query refinements.  It answers questions like, "Who searched and where?"  "Where do they search?"  Any search that uses a query parameter can hook into this.  It includes all metrics including ecommerce and content consumption.
  • Event Tracking: Web 2.0 Rich Internet Apps - Flash?  Web 2.0?  They can be a web analytics nightmare.  You can now use GA to track user interactions with RIAs, AJAX, Flash, AIR, Silverlight, etc.  You can get sub-page level web analytics without force a page view (on-click event). 

    GA uses a new event hierarchy: object, action, label.  Ex: YouTube player is an object, controls like play and pause are actions, label is whatever you want to call it, the content of what you're looking at.  New code will be released to address RIA tracking.  There will be a whole section of reporting interface with all of the details you laid out, just like traffic sources and other sections.
  • Tagless Outbound Link Tracking - You used to have to tag outbound links manually or with code.  Now Google Analytics will track it automatically for you.  Again, it will be swept into the reporting interface.
  • ga.js - GA is offering a new code ga.js to replace urchin.js.  You need to adjust your tags to use the aforementioned new features.
    • It's also a faster, smaller source file
    • Auto-detection of server protocol (http or https)
  • Urchin Software from Google - Google is finally releasing a new beta version of the Urchin Software they purchased.  It's software, which isn't available with GA.  The cost?  $2995, but free if you bought advanced support. 

This definitely raises the bar for web analytics vendors, though in more subtle ways. 

For Search Marketing Gurus, Alex Cohen from Digital Alex


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