New Google Analytics Features – First Impressions

So I have access to the new updates to Google Analytics now. My first impressions of the updates are very positive. The two big additions (aside from the API) are the custom reports and segmentation.

The custom reporting actually went a little beyond my expectations. The big thing here that Google has done is that you can create reports that are very deep (4 levels or so) and that you can correlate across different report dimensions easily. Now Google just needs to implement more variables and events to take this to the next level.

The segmentation works well too, but it’s a little clunky in it’s setup. Here, I like the buckets that you start with in Omniture’s Discover. The creation of a segment seems a little more intuitive when starting from the idea of a visitor, visit or page view.

I do think that with the additions of the custom reporting and segmentation that Google has become more of a serious option for larger businesses. 

Why You Should Be Using Omniture Discover

This of course only really applies to current Omniture customers or those thinking about moving to Omniture as a new customer. I’ll also preface this further by saying that I am on Omniture’s Customer Advisory Board (CAB) for Discover (On-demand).

Anyway, there are several reasons that you should be using Discover and several reasons why you need it in addition to the normal SiteCatalyst offering.

Reasons why Discover is a good supplement to SiteCatalyst Include:

  • SiteCatalyst’s power is in providing reports and delivereing those reports and dashboards on a regular basis. The power of Discover on the other hand is to enable you to perform true exploratory analyses.
  • SiteCatalyst has limits in terms of how far you can drill down into data, and also limts in what you can drill down to. In Discover, you can drill down to anything, as deep as you like.
  • Drilling down in SiteCatalyst only works from the moment it’s enabled, and is not retroactive. In Discover, everything can be drilled down to, and everything is retroactive. So if you think of something that you’d like to look at a few months ago, you can. Everything is retroactive from the moment you enable Discover though, not before.
  • In SiteCatalyst, you can segment anything by using what are called ASI segments. However, ASI segments aren’t flexible enough that you can easily change the segments definitions themselves in the middle of an analysis. In Discover, you can change segments on the fly with a simple drag-and-drop.
  • Omniture Data Warehouse can deliver segmented data to you, but can take 1 – 3 days to do so. In Omniture Discover, you will get your data in just a few seconds. This allows you to see the results of segmentation quickly so that you can know how to best craft a Data Warehouse request for large dumps of data.
  • There is no additional implemenation for Discover. Once it is enabeled, all of your reports are ready to go.

So these are some of the reasons that Discover can supplement your use of SiteCatalyst.

So what are the things that you can do in Discover specifically that make it a great tool for deep analysis?

  • Dashboards and regular reports are often and eventually ignored. Deep analyses of segmented data allows you to create presentations of informaiton that most others will not have access to.
  • Quick creation of segments . Why look at just every visit on your site, when you can look at:
    • First time visits
    • Return visits
    • Visits that include certain pages on your site
    • Visits where your help content is viewed
    • Visits where no purchases are made
    • Visits where people fallout of your purchase funnel
    • Visits where people used internal site search
    • And many more…
  • Omniture Discover is fast. When starting Discover (a Java application), it imports a data set. Once that’s imported, you need only wait a couple of seconds for anything to run. When using a Web-based application (as are most Web analytics solutions), you have to make a request of a server, the server gets the data that you need and then you are delivered the information in your browser. This can leave you waiting for a report until you are frustrated.
  • If you are running A/B and multivariate tests, Discover will let you analyze test results in a deeper way that can make determining the winner more clear-cut.
  • After SiteCatalyst has all of your reporting and dashboards built out, Discover is the tool where true Web analysts will work on a regular basis.

If you have any specific questions about Discover, let me know. Also, if you are already using Discover, do you have any particular segments or analyses that you like to look at on a regular basis? Any tips or tricks of your own you’d like to share? Leave a comment and share anything that you have!