Web apps have become a ubiquitous part of our daily online routine. We spend much of our day in web apps like Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, WordPress, even Pandora or Workamajig. They’re great tools. But they can also drive you crazy when an update gets pushed out, and all-of-a-sudden you’re faced with a new interface, unfamiliar layouts and strange features.
When Google Analytics announced a major update to its web app earlier this year, we’ll admit we didn’t jump on the bandwagon right away. It’s such a deep application to start with, the prospect of new tools and reports seemed a little overwhelming.
But now that we’ve made the jump, we couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the changes. After reading about the new features in this article from Mashable, we had to agree that Google Analytics has made some great updates, and added some very useful new stuff. According to Mashable, here are a few of the best:
Dashboards. These seemed like a pain in the old version of Google Analytics. With the overhaul, they’re much more user friendly. You can create up to 20 personalized dashboards, each one including multiple widgets, with the formats and data that are most important to you, with just a few clicks.
Term (keyword) clouds. If you’re a visual person, a keyword cloud can be a much easier way to spot trends and visualize the relative importance of different words instead of looking at long listings of terms.
Real-time data. The old GA would only give you data that had been collected through the previous day. True data freaks will like the new real-time reports, where you can view activity on your site as it happens, showing visitors and interactions in, uh, real time.
Site speed. GA now gives you information about average page load times on your site. This can help you troubleshoot slow load times, which can affect your Google quality score, search rankings, and conversions.
Social engagement. GA can now provide some basic information about how visitors interact socially with your site. The reports show you how many of your visitors shared content from your site, and which pages prompted their interactions.
Flow visualizations. Probably one of the coolest new features (or we’re just suckers for diagrams and charts.) These reports visually display the ‘flow’ of visitors through different pages on the site, or through conversion goals. Now that’s an analytic an agency person can appreciate!
There are more new features, in addition to these. So, have you switched over yet, or are you holding off? Whatever you do, be aware that the new version becomes mandatory for all users in January, 2012.