Google Analytics Adds Real-Time, Social Media Reports

Google has updated its Google Analytics suite to improve the collection of Website data to help measure user patterns and responses. Additions include real-time, mobile and social media reports.

After being available as a beta release for more than a year, Google's new version of Analytics now officially replaces the old version that's been both loved and cursed at by business users since its debut.

"After a year of supporting both the old and new versions of Analytics, we are now fully transitioning and leaving the old version behind," Paul Muret, director of engineering for Google Analytics, wrote in a July 17 blog post.

The new version of Analytics, which is used by Website owners to track the success of their online advertising campaigns, analyze their Web traffic and evaluate what is and isn't working to pull in eyeballs, includes a host of new features such as:

  • Real-Time: Now site owners can see what€™s happening on a Website as it happens to see the effects of online campaigns, television ads or public mentions of a site at a live event.
  • Multi-Channel Funnels: Allows users to visually see how all the different parts of a marketing campaign add up to customer conversions over a 30-day period.
  • Social Reports: Users can create targeted reports to help measure the impact of social marketing initiatives and evaluate the effects of social media on their site statistics.
  • Mobile Reports: These reports can help site owners see how visitors from mobile devices and AdWords mobile campaigns engage with their Websites, with details on the number of pages visited, time spent on the site and more.
  • Content Experiments: Site owners can use this feature to show different versions of a page to different visitors and then use site data to determine which version is most effective with the audience.

The beta version of the new Google Analytics was released more than a year ago in April 2011 so that users could run it alongside the old version while bugs were fixed and more features were added, according to Google.

Another new feature in the latest version of Google Analytics is the ability for users to share reports with others through email automatically by setting up a report release schedule. The reports can be exported to PDF files, as described in a Google blog post this past April.

Google Analytics was launched in November 2005 to give Website owners deeper insights into who was viewing their Web pages. It sounds quaint today, less than seven years later after its debut, but it was seen as a way for Google to "keep pace with advertising-related strides made recently by rivals Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN, the two other leading Internet portals, revenue-wise," according to an eWEEK report at the time.

In April 2009, Google expanded the project by making its Google Analytics Data Export API available to software developers so they could help expand its capabilities. The release of the API cleared the way for developers to use a standardized platform to integrate analytics data with their own business data, to integrate Google Analytics into their existing products and to create stand-alone applications that they could sell.

In 2008, Google expanded its analytics efforts to Google Docs and Google Sites, allowing the analytics tools to be used with other popular Google properties to expand their use with customers.