As I sat in the conference room of building 14 at the Googleplex last week, my excitement about what Google was doing to improve its analytics and testing platforms went through the roof. At the 2009 Partner Summit, Google gave a preview of the new Website Optimizer (GWO) features as well as soon-to-be-launched, feature-packed version 4 of Google Analytics.
So what’s new with GWO? Well, there is not a lot, but the few features Google added to its testing platform are HUGE! For me, two of the most notable updates are:
- Management API for the creation and management of experiments outside of the Website Optimizer interface
- Daily conversion tracking
The GWO API will allow you to much more easily set up tests and record stats, especially if you are using a content management system or a third-party shopping cart. Basically, you will be able to do almost anything you can do in GWO, but with your own interface.
As for the daily conversion tracking, I have always been one of those people who like to see test results to the minutest detail. Until now, Google has only allowed you to see aggregated stats for the entire testing period.
As of today, we can now see daily conversion rates:
This will give us much more intelligence regarding daily conversion swings and subtleties between the performance of experiment combinations. To read more, visit the GWO blog.
Now, I am even more excited about a couple of new features Google Analytics has included in its newest version. My favorites are:
- 20 Goals, including brand new engagement goals
- Custom alerts
- Advanced filters built into report interface
I’m sure many of you have shared my frustration when trying to track more than four goals for one website. Before, we would have to create a duplicate profile of our website just to add goal five, six, seven….
Well, that’s all changed! Google has announced 20 goals for each profile. These will be grouped into four sets of five, but you will be allowed to use the 20 slots however you want.
Screenshot of new 20 goal limit:
But it doesn’t stop there. Add on top of that the fact that you will now have the ability to set user engagement goals. And you are no longer limited by a goal being attributed only to a pre-defined conversion page. The new engagement Analytics goals are:
- Time on page
- Pageviews per visit
You will also be able to set custom alerts to be emailed to you. By “custom,” I mean you set the variables however you want. So if I want to know if my website’s New York PPC traffic drops 15%, Google will let me know and I can act accordingly.
Screenshot of custom alerts:
Finally, they have added custom filters to the report interface. Sure you could export the data to Excel then sort, filter, and do whatever you wanted to make the data make sense to you. But now, Google has added the flexibility to get a clear and intelligent picture of what’s going on with your website without having to go back and forth between its interface and Excel.
Screenshot of advanced filters:
Say I’m looking at my Top Content report and I want to sort by bounce rate to see which pages are performing poorly so I can dedicate new resources for improvements to be made. Previously, I would see many pages with a bounce rate of 100% simply because they just had one or two visits.
Now, I can set the filter to only look at pages with a minimum of 100 visits and a bounce rate of less than 70%. This will allow me to make much more sense out of the heaps of data that Analytics is collecting.
You should be seeing all of these new features and many more appear in your Analytics and Website Optimizer interfaces over the next few weeks. We will be taking advantage of them right away with our research partners.
Check back next month — after we’ve tested some of these new features, we’ll offer suggestions on how you can make the most out of them.