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Thinking about Google Analytics | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Thinking about Google Analytics

Google Analytics

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been actively playing with the revised Google Analytics. In the past I’ve never been a huge fan of GA due to the lack of it’s real time data. There’s also a couple other reasons why it’s not my number one choice, but I’ll go into that later. The free tracker that I do go to more often is Stat Counter. On the negative side the Stat Counter interface is pretty bad but there’s one feature that I think is pretty important though not exactly click efficient. I can look at the isp address of the person looking at my site and find out how they got there. I’m able to see if they got to my site through another link, from a search engine or whether they came to DesignNotes directly. GA will show a referral and the isp of the viewer at the same time – but they’re not connected. I can’t click on the referral information and see the isp or vice versa. Having the connection helps me understand the who and the how of the viewer much easier.

Getting back to GA, here’s a couple quick notes of what stood out for me in the design update.

1. Timeline: There’s a couple ways to define the dates of the stats, either through a calendar or this visual timeline. What’s nice about this feature is that it gives you a quick visual reverence to the date. It can be long or as short as you want.

2. More Graphs: The graphs are small, but surprising clear in terms if line weight. Considering how little space these six sections take up, I can a general outlook quickly.

3. & 4. Map Overlays: The one step backward of the design update is the new Map Overlay (3.). In the old map (4.), it showed individual dots first as opposed to general continent information that is highlighted in colour. While the dots were not entirely helpful in telling the number of visitors, it did give a quick indication of where people were coming from.

5. The new and old Dashboards: Overall a whole post could go into the site architecture of the new and old dashboard, but since both are still confusing to me I won’t dig that deep. What I will mention is that the new one is less daunting and friendly, but still I think there’s some work to be done. Possibly keeping the viewer settings like the old one, but also add a number level from beginner to expert. The icons are a nice break up of steady text.

Since the design update I really haven’t changed a lot of my natural stat behaviour yet with Google Analytics, but it has more to do with the function then taking a look at the newer visual information that isn’t quite connected for a regular blogger like myself.

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