Posted October 22, 2008 2:00 pm by with 22 comments

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If you saw the post from the Google Analytics Blog this morning announcing the updated user interface and thought that was all they had up their sleeves—you’re wrong. The UI is just the updated wrapping to go with major upgrades coming to Google Analytics in the coming weeks. (Update: the official announcement.)

The upgrades are part of an enterprise-class bundle of features that will be available to all Google Analytics users. The new features are: custom reporting, advanced segmentation, integration with AdSense, a beta API and motion charts.

  • Custom Reporting: GA will now include the ability to create custom reports, customizing what variables you can see on the x and y axes of your graphs (as opposed to the defaults, which are almost always count on the y axis and time on the x axis). They’ll also have the ability to choose what happens when you click on the data points of the graphs (aka drill down behaviors). You’ll be able to save your custom reports and see the data over time, as well.
  • Advanced Segmentation: You’ll now have the ability to create a segment of traffic and see those people in all your reports. Say you just want to see people who visit from AdWords, or from a specific location, or a specific website, or people that visited more than 2 pages (i.e. not bounces)—you can create an advanced segment like that and see that segment in all your reports. The segment also applies to all historical data and will be visible in custom reports, too.
  • Integration with AdSense: A long-requested feature, Google Analytics will now integrate with not just AdWords (an extant feature) but also AdSense. Now you can see which pages are driving the most revenue and least revenue through AdSense. You can also determine What kind of content on your site that’s monetizing the best for you. These reports can also be broken down by geography or referring sites/sources.
  • Beta version of the API: Developers have long been creating Google Analytics apps, but they were basically hacks, since Google had no API and no support for these. Now Google will release a beta version of an API, plus support, to better help developers in extending the usefulness and capabilities of GA.

Now, if you’ve been here for a while, you probably know I’m a total data junkie. But that fact aside, this last feature might well be the coolest upgrade for GA.

  • Motion Charts: This is an advanced visualization feature that can show a graphical representation of up to four variables—plus time. As with custom reports, you can select what variables are displayed on both the x and y axes. Data points are represented by circles (“bubbles”) with the size and color of the bubble representing two more variables. Then you can also watch change over time with animations.

Okay, so I know that last description might not make a lot of sense. Luckily, Google has videos of many of the new features—and what better way to explain a visualization tool than with a video?

And here are all the new feature videos (except the API):

The upgrade launches today, but features will be added to accounts over the coming weeks. The integration with AdSense may well take the longest because Google wants to make sure they have all the resources in place to support it.

These new features are especially timely in light of the economic downturn, according to Brett Crosby, Group Manager of Google Analytics (and one of the founders of Urchin, the creators of Google Analytics’ software). With these features, he says, Google Analytics users will be able to “go with what works, find new ways to drive revenue, find segments working for them and invest there to increase their conversions.”

Which of the new features do you think you’ll be using the most?