15 Things I Hate About the New Google Analytics
May 2012 Update:
Thanks everyone for your feedback on this post! It’s been over a year since it was originally posted, but since traffic and comments on this page continued, I wanted to take a moment to post an update. In the past year, Google has made a ton of improvements, fixing most of the issues outlined in this post and launching many new features. Once I got used to the new version, I definitely ended up preferring it. And there are still more great features on the way!
Google’s also built this tool to help people find where old reports live in the new version: http://www.google.com/analytics/report-finder.html
If anyone still has questions on how to find things in the new version, feel free to comment below or send me a message on twitter @rachaelgerson. Happy analyzing!
We’ve been testing the new Google Analytics for some time now. I have a separate list of shiny new functions that I’m enjoying, but wanted to share the areas I’m running into difficulties with the new Google Analytics.
1) Report Export – Critical
The only options to export reports right now are CSV, TSV, and CSV for Excel. The CSV for Excel exports aren’t functioning properly, so users get CSVs instead. PDF is not an option at the moment.
Want to weigh in on PDFs being necessary? Now’s your chance.
2) Schedule & Email Reports – Critical
Not an option in the new version at this time. This is a HUGE ISSUE!
3) Date-Over-Date Comparison – Critical
Although you can view data from two date ranges, GA no longer shows the percent increase or decrease. Although the graph can be helpful for a quick view, the date comparison is close to pointless without the percent change.
4) Goal Sets No Longer Show Visit Numbers – Important
When users switch from Site Usage to one of the Goal Sets, the number of visits is no longer displayed. Without the number of visits, there isn’t any context into whether a 100% conversion rate on a term is huge or inconsequential. Which of your terms do you think are more likely to have a 100% conversion rate – the term that drives thousands of visits each month, or the one that’s only ever driven one visit?
Note: Google’s Aruna.J is escalating this to the engineers to be addressed. Thanks Google!
5) Graphing by Week – Annoying
Unlike the old version, you can’t select a week with a single click.
OR you could pick your date range, THEN
Additionally, when you do graph by week, the date axis no longer works properly. The image below is from a graph that shows March 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011. The only information about the date is in the bottom-left, and says “Mar 1 – Apr 30.” Would you think that’s a weekly review that spans over a year and ends on March 31? Me neither.
6) Can’t Add Reports to Dashboard From the Report Page – Annoying
In the old GA, you can drill into any report with any search information you wanted, then add to the Dashboard with a single click:
In the new version, you need to go back to the Dashboard page, Add a Widget, and try to replicate the settings. “Try” is the operative word, since you can’t effectively filter or segment the information in the dashboard yet.
8 ) Export 50K Rows – Annoying
Google Analytics still only shows a maximum of 500 rows. Previously, users could use &limit= to export 50K rows. This is now capped at 20K. This would be a higher priority item if we didn’t use the GA API.
9) Settings & Navigation – Annoying
To see the settings for the profile you’re currently on, you need to click the top-right cog link, then find the account you’re working on, then find the site within that account, then finally find the profile within that account. Too many steps to get to something simple. The same can be said for the navigation. There are too many clicks needed to get to reports that were previously easy to access. Props to Google for putting together the Report Finder to help people figure out where reports actually are; this thing has been hugely helpful.
10) Reports Not Migrating – Annoying
This one’s just annoying because you know it’s going to be fixed. Right now Custom Reports shows this message, which is an improvement over previous weeks:
If these reports aren’t going to be available in the regular version of GA, I’d like to see and select which reports I want to move over. I’ve hit this button previously – Nothing happened.
11) Graph Intervals Reset – Annoying
Viewing any report with the graph interval set to weekly or monthly works fine. If you try to switch to another report, the graph resets to daily. This isn’t conducive to navigating GA.
12) View Overall Conversion Rate – Annoying
With the old version, it was possible to see the overall conversion rate for any information (keyword, referring source, etc.). For example, with the new version, you can only see the conversion rate for a keyword for each individual type of conversion. Being able to see the overall conversion rate, combining all types of conversions, is helpful for analysis.
14) Resizing Data – Minor Issue
The new version doesn’t resize the data to match the size of the browser window. Google fixed this issue for graphs last week, but the rest of GA hasn’t been fixed yet. For those of us who frequently screencap from GA, this can be annoying.
15) In Page Analytics – Minor Issue
This tool isn’t in the new GA yet. Honestly, this doesn’t matter. Until this tool shows the percent of clicks on individual links, instead of URLs, the tool has little value. This made the list (barely) because I’ve had to answer so many questions about how to get to In Page Analytics in the new version.
All of this said, there are some amazing new features. It’s obvious that Google is working hard to improve the tool while it’s in beta. Comparing this week to several weeks ago, the new GA is much faster. Looking forward to seeing what comes next!
Follow Rachael on Twitter @rachaelgerson