Google Releases Lucky Number 7 Analytics Features

Google Analytics-Lucky no. 7Google apparently believes lucky numbers and analytics are as synergistic as a hand and a glove. The Mountain View, Calif. search engine released seven features in Google Analytics, giving advertisers and marketers increased insight into actionable data and accountability for Web campaigns.

Released Tuesday, the features range from better intelligence and custom alerts to multiple custom variables and mobile tracking. Analytics Intelligence, which Online Media Daily reported in September, features an algorithmic-driven intelligence engine. It provides automatic alerts of changes in site metrics and data patterns. The tool calls out rises in bounce rates, for example. It allows marketers to compare the findings with data collected on the same day one week prior. Rather than dig through reports, the tool alerts marketers of the change.



Custom Alerts based on key performance indicators enable marketers to customize metrics based on their needs. Some marketers may want to set the threshold to 10% and others 5%, because some might want to monitor fluctuating conversion rates in the United Kingdom versus "spikier" conversion rates in Australia, explains Amy Chang, group product manager for Google Analytics at Google. "It's about insight vs. just data," she says. "If your shopping cart abandonment rate rises by 1% or 2% it will alert you."

Chang says the Custom Alerts will not tell you "why" the change occurred, but it will give marketers the data and the metrics to analyze and diagnose the results. Today, there's no replacement for human intervention, but some believe it's just a matter of time before Google's algorithms provide deeper insight.

Most of the functions announced are intended to further enhance Google Analytics' enterprise functions, such as unique visitor tracking, custom variables, mobile tracking and goals. "The most innovative development is the analytics intelligence function that uses an algorithm to identify trends and data anomalies," says Forrester Research Analyst John Lovett. "This cool feature proactively calls out data trends that can lead to insights and revelations. While the intelligence tool operates in automated fashion to detect data patterns, users can also leverage new alerting functions to trigger emails for anticipated events. This combination of new features provides latitude for analysis and action on both anticipated and unexpected events."

Aside from intelligence and alerts, another feature that Google calls Multiple Custom Variable allows marketers to classify interactions and behaviors to determine how visitors interact with the Web site. The tools can monitor visitor attributes, such as whether the person had signed up to become a member.

The tool also allows publishers to identify attributes of the visitor. Does she subscribe to the print magazine, or visit the Web site daily or weekly? Web site owners can now send Google the attribute data to analyze. "First party cookie tracking" can determine the frequency with which people have frequented the site.

The biggest benefit to the Multiple Custom Variables feature could become the ability to capture data and have it analyzed by Google. "We capture, aggregate, analyze and send back swabs of information to determine the percentage of male visitors, or a household income of more than $150,000," Chang says. "Once the Web site owner specifies the custom variables, within 24 hours you'll begin to see the data populate."

Companies that launch two Halloween campaigns -- one for teens and another for parents -- on their Web site "can capture the campaign people come in through," Chang says, referring to data and points of conversion.

Mobile tracking has become easier, too, with this release. Google can now help track user engagement with applications on phones running Android and Apple's iPhone. Marketers optimizing content for mobile devices and have created a mobile Web sites can tap into Google Analytics to track traffic to mobile sites from all Web-enabled devices, whether or not the device runs JavaScript.

The server side code snippet placed on mobile Web sites make it possible. Google now supports PHP, Perl, JSP and ASPX sites with this release. Marketers can still track visits to regular Web sites coming from high-end, JavaScript-enabled phones.

Google has come a long way since introducing Google Analytics in October 2005, revamping the tool in April 2007 to make it easier to use. In October 2008, Google began introducing free enterprise features, such as custom reporting, export API tools, that previously were made available in paid software applications.

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1 comment about "Google Releases Lucky Number 7 Analytics Features".
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  1. Loren Mckechnie from Move, INC, October 21, 2009 at 11:18 a.m.

    Google is attempting to take some of the paralysis out of analysis.... making KPI’s more “tangible” and accessible. Hopefully the alerts will not cause too many “wild goose chases.”

    These tools can’t be all things to all people and every business is different, but having a “dummy light” on the dashboard might not be a bad thing, lest we become accustomed to never opening the hood and checking things manually… unless the dummy light turns on, that is...

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