Normally, I like to spend sometime using a new product before coming to a decision about it, but I couldn’t wait on this one. At the web metrics conference today in Washington D.C (which I am not at since occasionally even I have to do work) Avinash Kaushnik announced the new Google Analytics Beta. Over the last 12 hours I have seen new features start to appear in the variety of analytics account that I work with, and I have to say, it is pretty amazing and I only have about 20% of the new additions.
Disclaimer: Yes, I know Google having all of our information is a terrible thing and could easily lead to a Skynet and a general machine takeover and I have long since agreed with this statement, but I may give in on this one.
For a little background information, I love the high end analytics packages, like Omniture. Yes, it costs a small fortune, but I love the ease of use and the bells and whistles. Only on my own low-cost projects and a couple of client sites have I used Google Analytics, because if you had the choice and money was not object, wouldn’t you choose the Porsche over the beat up Ford Pinto? Sure they both get you from point A to point B, but you just feel so much cooler in the Porsche.
I’d always felt that Google Analytics was a great tool, BUT segmentation, site-search, custom event tracking and a variety of my favorite aspects of web analytics took a lot of custom code and were a huge head ache to get working. This is why, when working on corporate site, I chose the pricey already assembled packages with the integrated click tracking for the C suite. GA is about to correct this for me and making it tougher for me to want to go with a premium analytics package.
Over the next several weeks, GA users will get the ability to set up Advanced Segmentation in their interface as well as create custom reports. They are also adding Motion Charts, a Google Analytics API, and will automatically pull Adwords cost data into GA. To the lucky people on the Private Beta release, you will be able to integrate Adsense with analytics in your GA interface as well. As I get more time to play with my favorite new toy (hey it’s more productive than spending hours playing Guitar Hero) I will put a more thorough review of it all together. For now, I think Avinash does a great job of explaining all the new features and why it is a game changing event.