Now more than ever, it is crucial for every website owner and marketer to take data-driven decisions. Knowing your way around Google analytics and staying updated with the changes and improvements Google is rolling out is a key factor to achieve that. In this post, we will review the six most valuable Google Analytics updates from 2016 and the reasons you should use them.
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1. Move Google analytics properties between accounts
Most Google Analytics users have a primary account customized according to their particular needs and preferences, however, some users maintain secondary accounts. This new feature assists the import of all your hard work from one account to other accounts.
You are now able to safely move properties between different Google analytics accounts and change the accounts structure. The relocated property will not be change beyond its location in a different Google analytics account. The ID of the relocated property remains the same, as do the data, integrations, and other settings.
To move a property, go to the admin section of your Google analytics account, click on “Property Settings”, then “Move property” and select the Google analytics account you wish to move it to.
Make sure you select the correct property before moving it. Your properties list appears in the drop-down menu above the “Property Settings”.
2. Analyze your organic search traffic
With this Google analytics update, the integration of the Google search console (formerly known as the Google webmaster tools) into Google analytics has been improved. The Google search console helps you analyze your website organic search traffic, and now that it is a part of Google analytics, it enables you a much deeper look into post-click data.
The search console section in Google analytics contains plenty of interesting data that can help you analyze, and potentially increase, your organic traffic by improving your rankings in organic search results. For example, see how you are ranked (your average position), and how much traffic you got from each search query (the number of clicks).
Tip: This data is great for blog optimization. Analyze your search terms by the number of impressions, average position, and CTR. Search terms with a lower comparative CTR to others in the same average position might indicate that your post title should be optimized, and possibly replaced with a more appealing title. The higher your CTR is (per its position) the higher you will rank and the higher your rankings, the more people will reach your website.
You can also see a breakdown of your organic traffic by landing page, country or device.
As in any section of Google analytics, you can segment each breakdown with a secondary dimension, as I did in this example when I segmented my search query data with Source/Medium. Using the search console alone does not give you this ability.
The search console section appears in the acquisition part of Google analytics. You only need to set up the integration of the Search console in your Google analytics account.
3. Track specific users actions
This update on Google analytics finally enables you to analyze individual people interactions with your websites and apps, as opposed to analyzing them all as one unit. User explorer appears in the Audience section of Google analytics and allows you to view individual users’ behavior on your website or app.
The users list is anonymized with Google analytics assigning a unique ID to each. Personal details such as name and email remain unknown.
The user explorer feature allows you to actually follow a specific user and see his actions.
“Expand All” provides deeper details of his usage and browsing details on your site.
As in other Google analytics features, you are able to segment, filter and export the data.
4. Deep-linking into AdWords from Google analytics
This update is a part of Google’s strategy towards better integration between Google analytics and AdWords, assisting paid search marketers in taking data-based actions in their search campaigns on AdWords.
Google has made it faster and easier to make decisions and take the needed actions in paid search campaigns in AdWords, based on insights from the AdWords section in Google analytics. It’s no longer necessary to go back and forth between AdWords and Google analytics and manually match and find the data you are looking at. Google Analytics now shows an AdWords logo beside each campaign. Click on it to get directly from Google analytics to the campaign you are reviewing on AdWords. You are now able to review AdWords data on Google analytics and instantly take action in AdWords.
As in anything related to AdWords on Google analytics, it works only if you have integrated your AdWords account with your Google analytics account.
5. Analyze traffic by AdWords Final URLs
As a part of Google’s upgraded URLs launch in AdWords, the appropriate changes were made in Google analytics. Google added the new Final URL dimension to the AdWords section of Google analytics, effectively replacing the previous AdWords dimension by destination URL. You can now use the powerful segmentation of Google analytics by the final URLs used in your paid search campaigns on AdWords.
Enter the AdWords section in your Google analytics account and use Final URL as your primary dimension. Now you can segment your final URLs with any secondary dimension, such as the source or medium that this session was originated from, or by the country it occurred in. In addition to that, you can see the acquisition, behavior and conversions data for each Final URL you are using. This is super effective data for paid search marketers interested in engagement rather than just clicks and traffic.
6. Analyze your AdWords sitelinks
Google allows paid search advertisers to add extensions to each text ad. The extensions are additions to the original text ad that can feature other benefits and direct to various pages by URLs other than the main landing page indicated by the ad, as Facebook did in this ad.
Analyzing the efficacy of your sitelinks can be a bit of a hassle on AdWords, but Google has simplified it by adding sitelinks to the AdWords section of Google analytics. According to Google, this feature was added in response to advertisers’ feedback (including mine), which it’s not surprising. Paid search marketers need to know the types of engagements a sitelink click led to, not merely that the sitelink was clicked on, leading to a website visit or a conversion. Viewing the nature of the different sitelinks’ performance in Google analytics can prove effective to determine which sitelinks to use. For example, should one sitelink performs better than another, the better performing one can be used in more ads, and the underperforming can be replaced or deleted. Choosing the correct sitelinks can make a huge difference in a paid search campaign, and this great update to Google analytics can definitely assist in making the right decisions.
Note that the sitelinks data is about actual clicks on sitelinks leading to a website visit. Clicks on the headlines of the ad above are not included in this specific report.
What’s next in Google analytics?
We have only reviewed some of the new features and updates made by Google in 2016. As in 2016, Google is expected to roll out many more changes to Google analytics in 2017. The improved integration between AdWords and Google analytics will probably increase along with the user based tracking. Be sure to keep yourself updated with all the upcoming changes to Google analytics. Subscribe to get all the updates to your mailbox.
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