As you readers of Web Analytics blogs all know by now, Google released new functionalities to Google Analytics on Friday. I haven’t had as much time as I would have liked to play with them, but the new Custom Reports and Advanced Segmentation capabilities are pretty impressive for a… free product! I will have the opportunity to write more about what I think of those new additions soon.
One of the reasons I’m excited about the new features doesn’t exactly have to do with them. No. I’m excited because finally Google Analytics got more complicated. Say what? I can hear you think. Yes, more complicated, or at least, more complex. Take segmentation, which constitutes by far the core of analyzing any marketing data; you need real work to squeeze out the benefits from it. Brain juice, i.e. people spending time. Same with custom reports: all that slicing and dicing means time investments in order to find the gold nuggets.
Again, so what? GA is getting closer to products that have demanded such efforts for a long time. Yes, and the reason why I think it’s good, besides the added power, is that many organizations will now have to pay more attention. Among all the talks about how good Google Analytics is to Web Analytics awareness, which of course represents a good thing, I couldn’t help but noticing that many organizations out there are just not really paying attention to their data.
Meeting and talking lately with literally over a hundred companies about Google Analytics, it struck me how so many among them had it installed but were not doing much with it, or thought there was no learning curve really. Yes, the general sentiment seems to be that GA is a very simple product. Why invest in training, configuration, analysis? Isn’t everything to know just there in the numbers at their face value? Sure, there are many companies pushing the application to its limits, trying to apply the arcane advanced custom filtering to get more juice. But it has been my impression for some time now that, in general, we were back at caring about basic traffic numbers, when we care at all.
I haven’t been convinced that Google Analytics was, at the end of the day, solving the acute adoption problem.
Not that I am now convinced the new additions will change that, but I think more organizations will be in a much better position to appreciate the complexity of truly rich Web Analytics. GA can no longer be just another application plugged in by the webmaster to spit out reports.
Hopefully, more people will now realize that this free thing deserves way more focus, because it’s got plenty to tell them.
And put people to work!