Category Archives: Features

Data Studio: Richer Visualizations and Analytical Functions

The Data Studio team has been hard at work launching new features to allow for richer visualization and new views on data. Today, we’ll highlight some of these recent launches. Pivot Tables Pivot tables let users narrow down a large data set or analyze… Continue reading Continue reading

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Ask a question, get an answer in Google Analytics

What if getting answers about your key business metrics was as easy as asking a question in plain English? What if you could simply say, “How many new users did we have from organic search on mobile last week?” ― and get an answer right away?

Today, Google Analytics is taking a step toward that future.  Know what data you need and want it quickly? Just ask Google Analytics and get your answer.

This feature, which uses the same natural language processing technology available across Google products like Android and Search, is rolling out now and will become available in English to all Google Analytics users over the next few weeks.

The ability to ask questions is part of Analytics Intelligence, a set of features in Google Analytics that use machine learning to help you better understand and act on your analytics data. Analytics Intelligence also includes existing machine learning capabilities like automated insights (now available on both web and the mobile app), smart lists, smart goals, and session quality.

How it Works
We’ve talked to web analysts who say they spend half their time answering basic analytics questions for other people in their organization. In fact, a recent report from Forrester found that 57% of marketers find it difficult to give their stakeholders in different functions access to their data and insights. Asking questions in Analytics Intelligence can help everyone get their answers directly in the product ― so team members get what they need faster, and analysts can spend their valuable time on deeper research and discovery.
Try it! This short video will give you a feel for how it works:

“Analytics Intelligence enables those users who aren’t too familiar with Google Analytics to access and make use of the data within their business’ account. Democratising data in this way can only be a good thing for everyone involved in Google Analytics!”
Joe Whitehead, Analytics Consultant, Merkle | Periscopix

Beyond answering your questions, Analytics Intelligence also surfaces new opportunities for you through automated insights, now available in the web interface as well as in the mobile app. These insights can show spikes or drops in metrics like revenue or session duration, tipping you off to issues that you may need to investigate further. Insights may also present opportunities to improve key metrics by following specific recommendations. For example, a chance to improve bounce rate by reducing a page’s load time, or the potential to boost conversion rate by adding a new keyword to your AdWords campaign.

To ask questions and get automated insights from Analytics Intelligence in our web interface, click the Intelligence button to open a side panel. In the Google Analytics mobile app for Android and iOS, tap the Intelligence icon in the upper right-hand corner of most screens. Check out this article to learn more about the types of questions you can ask today.

Help us Learn
Our Intelligence system gets even smarter over time as it learns which questions and insights users are interested in. In that spirit, we need your help: After you ask questions or look at insights, please leave feedback at the bottom of the card.

Your answers will help us train Analytics Intelligence to be more useful.

Our goal is to help you get more insights to more people, faster. That way everyone can get to the good stuff: creating amazing experiences that make customers happier and help you grow your business.
Happy Analyzing!

Posted by Annissa Alusi, Ajay Nainani, and the Google Analytics team

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Introducing Google Analytics 360 Suite Policies

We have been making improvements to the admin section of Google Analytics 360 Suite to fit the needs of modern enterprises. Recently, we made account recovery easier. Today, we’re pleased to announce another feature we’ve heard users ask for: User policies for your organization. User policies are a user management feature to help Google Analytics 360 Suite organization administrators to better control who has access to their corporate data.

How user policies work
An organization’s user administrator can create a user policy specifying what users are allowed or disallowed to do within their organization’s Google Analytics accounts. For example:

  • A domain may be entered to allow any users with email addresses on that domain 
  • A single user email may be entered to explicitly allow that user 
  • A single user email may be entered to explicitly disallow that user 
Click image for full-sized version

Auditing policy violators 
Any user who violates the policy will be highlighted on the Suite Admin User’s report. We check both primary and secondary Google User Account email addresses when considering if a user passes a policy; if any email on the Google User Account account passes a policy rule, that user is considered to be allowed.

Policy Auditing – note the red (!) icons next to policy violators

Adding Users that Violate Policy
At this time, we do not block the addition of policy violating users to suite products. Product account administrators may still add a user that violates the user policy, and that user will appear in the Audit report seen above with a red (!) icon. At a future time, we will allow policy administrators to choose to block violating users from being added.

Posted by Matt Matyas, Google Analytics team

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Spotlight on Google Tag Manager: Open and Secure Tag Management

With Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360, we make it easy for marketers to manage tags on their sites and apps for fast, flexible implementation of new marketing technologies. Last week at SMX East, we announced that we’ve added more than 20 new tag templates to Google Tag Manager to empower marketers to move faster and make decisions with confidence. This is one of a couple recent changes to make Tag Manager more open and more secure.

New third-party tag templates

Google Tag Manager already includes easy-to-use tag templates for many Google and non-Google tools. And, while we support implementing all other tags using a variety of custom tag types, we’re dedicated to expanding the number of third-party tag templates available to you. Tag templates make it easy to add and maintain tags on your sites and apps without code. This means that less technical users can be more involved, errors are less likely, and your sites are ultimately more secure.

To make it easier and safer to deploy third-party tags, we’ve developed an open format that allows vendors like Microsoft, Twitter, and Nielsen to implement and maintain their own tag templates in Google Tag Manager. For companies whose products depend on tags, having a tag template in Google Tag Manager is a great way to make implementation easier than ever.

“The seamless integration of Digital Content Ratings — a key component of Nielsen’s Total Audience measurement framework — into Google Tag Manager will enable easy deployment and rapid adoption of Nielsen measurement with savvy digital clients.”
– David Wong, SVP of Product Leadership at Nielsen

Our Vendor Tag Template Program allows tag providers to natively integrate with our tag templating system. Google performs a security review of each tag that is submitted through the program. The resulting tags are integrated into Tag Manager, and displayed with the company’s logo and an easy-to-use form to configure and deploy the tag.

“At Hotjar we’re obsessed about giving our users fast and actionable insights about how their visitors are using their site. Our top most priority is making it easy and simple to set up Hotjar. For this reason, we’re extremely excited to provide ‘out-of-the-box’ support for Google Tag Manager.”
– David Darmanin, CEO of Hotjar

Some recent additions include:

Are you a vendor who would like your tag supported? Learn more about the Vendor Tag Template Program and enroll here.

Secure container loading

At Google, we constantly look to develop products with best in class security. Google Tag Manager already has a host of security features such as user access controls, 2-step verification, malware detection, and tag blacklists. We’ve now also made some changes to the Google Tag Manager container snippet — given out in our user interface and documentation — to improve security and performance even more.

Previously, the Tag Manager container snippet loaded containers in a protocol-relative manner. That is, on pages with an https:// URL, the container would be loaded securely using HTTPS. Our new snippets will always use the secure protocol (HTTPS) by default, regardless of the protocol of the page. This helps protect containers from malicious parties and snooping, and in many cases, will also improve performance.

You’ll also notice that we’ve made a change to how we recommend Tag Manager be implemented, now with the container snippet split into two parts:

  • A JavaScript snippet that should be implemented as high in the <head> of your page as possible to ensure the best tag performance. This change is especially important if you plan to use Tag Manager to deploy Google Optimize.
  • An iframe snippet that should be implemented just after the opening <body> tag. This snippet handles firing of image pixels for users with JavaScript disabled, and also enables Google Search Console verification.

To get the best performance, it’s recommended that you implement both container snippets following the latest installation instructions.

What if you already have Google Tag Manager implemented on your site? Not to worry: These changes are optional, and your existing implementations will continue to work without a problem. To get the highest level of security and performance, you can update your implementations at your earliest convenience.

Happy tagging!

Posted by Scott Herman, Product Manager, Google Tag Manager

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Spotlight on Data Studio: Beautiful Reports and Collaboration Just Got Easier

We launched Google Data Studio (beta) in the U.S. earlier this year, and last week, we expanded availability to 21 additional countries.* We’re excited to offer Data Studio to companies across the globe so they can easily create and share reports and dashboards, and ultimately use insights and collaboration to make better business decisions.

Organizations today collect an increasingly large amount of data. In a world of web analytics, CRM systems, and third-party sources, data-driven decisions should be easier than ever before. However, all of this data has presented a significant challenge: making it easily accessible and useful.

Having multiple data sources that live in silos within your organization compromises your ability to spot critical business opportunities and issues when they matter most. This is a widespread challenge, with 84% of marketers saying they don’t believe their data sources are well-integrated, according to a 2016 Forrester study.

Data Studio solves this problem by allowing you to easily connect your data and create beautiful, informative reports that are easy to read, easy to share, and fully customizable. Create up to five custom reports with unlimited editing and sharing. All for free.

Get started today so you can:

  • Put all your data to work. Easily access the data sources you need to understand your business and make better decisions.
  • Transform your data. Quickly transform raw data into easy-to-follow reports and dashboards — no code or queries required.
  • Build engaging reports and dashboards. Data Studio gives you the ability to create meaningful, shareable charts and graphs that bring your data to life.
  • Leverage teamwork that works. Work together quickly, from anywhere, by sharing reports via Google Drive.

Not sure where to start? Good news: We’re releasing our first batch of templates today to remove that hurdle. Businesses can use a library of templates to get up and running in a matter of minutes.

Get started for free.

Happy reporting!
The Data Studio team

*Canada, Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Indonesia, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam

Posted by Kevin Fields, Product Marketing Manager, Data Studio

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Posted in Analytics, Analytics 360, Announcements, Business Insights, Data Studio, Data Studio 360, Features, Google Analytics, Google Analytics 360 Suite, Google Data Studio, New Google Analytics | Comments Off

Improving Google Analytics Events with Unique Events

Unique Events is a metric that counts the number of events with distinct Event attributes (Event Category, Action, and Label) that occur within a single user session. These events can be tracked independently from a web page or a screen load, giving yo… Continue reading Continue reading

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Enterprise-Class Tag Management: A look back on recent features

We built Google Tag Manager with the goal of solving tagging problems for our customers: decreasing implementation time so you can focus on the things that matter most to you, reducing errors so you can have more confidence in your data, and speeding up your tags to make your users’ experiences faster, and make the web a better place.

Last week, we launched workspaces to improve collaboration and enterprise workflows in Google Tag Manager. This is just the latest in a series of improvements designed to better meet the needs of our enterprise customers. In case you haven’t been keeping up with all of our many updates, here are some things you may have missed:

Testing & Security:

  • Environments – Building on our strong preview and debugging capabilities, Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360 now also support publishing changes to specific testing environments (e.g. Dev, Staging, QA). You can set up as many environments as you need for your organization and name them whatever makes sense for you. When you go to publish, simply choose the environment you’d like to publish your changes to. It’s never been easier to test your tags to make sure your upcoming tag changes align with your upcoming site changes, and that you get things right the first time.
  • Malware detection – To protect the safety and security of your users, Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360 will now automatically detect when tags deployed through your containers point to sites where we’ve found malware. You’ll be notified that there’s a problem, and the culprit tags will be paused so you can track down the issue without risk to your website and your users.

Organization:

  • Folders – As your containers grow over time, it can become difficult to keep track of all of your tags, triggers, and variables. With folders, you can organize these items into logical groupings, making them easier to work with for yourself and your team members.
  • Tag sequencing – Not all tags work independently. Sometimes it’s important for your tags to fire in a specific order. With tag sequencing you can specify tags to fire immediately before or after a given tag to ensure that things happen just the way you expect.

Mobile:

  • Mobile app tag management – Google Tag Manager for mobile apps has been rewritten to be simpler, smaller, and faster. It is now integrated with Firebase, Google’s new mobile app developer platform, which provides end-to-end development tools and analytics.

Services & Support:

  • Tag Manager 360 – Launched earlier this year as part of the Google Analytics 360 Suite, Tag Manager 360 includes services and support to help you get up and running faster, service level agreements (SLAs) to guarantee that you’ll be able to work on your tags as needed and that they’ll consistently fire based on your configuration, and integration with the 360 Suite for centralized account access and user management.

Interested in Google Tag Manager 360? Visit our website to learn more.
Posted by Scott Herman, Product Manager, Google Tag Manager

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Explore important insights from your data — automatically

For marketers, business owners, and product designers, it’s important to be connected to data at all times. However, data by itself rarely provides the insight needed to truly drive a business forward. It can take hours of analysis to come up with just one or two key insights and even longer to share and act on that new understanding. In a constantly-connected world, where customers can make purchases anywhere, anytime from their mobile devices, this lag in time-to-insight is costly.

That’s why we’re pleased to announce that we’re providing a new stream of automated insights in the Google Analytics mobile app. Available on the Assistant screen, this addition to Google Analytics lets you see in 5 minutes what might have taken hours to discover previously. Even better: it gets smarter over time as it learns about your business and your needs. It’s available now in our mobile app on Android and iOS, so you can easily grab insights on the go.
To enable this functionality, we use Google machine intelligence to find critical insights among the thousands of metric and dimension combinations that can be reported in Google Analytics. It helps make analytics data universally accessible and useful as it:

  • Combs through your data to give you meaningful insights and recommendations.
  • Offers quick tips on how to improve your Google Analytics data.
  • Gets smarter over time by reacting to your feedback and how you use it.
  • Helps you share insights so your whole team can take action.

Go beyond simple reporting to view findings and insights automatically, in language you can read: our insight stream enables faster, more informed decision-making that can have real impact on your business.

For example, the holiday season drives a huge portion of annual sales for many retailers. During this busy time of the year, retailers face questions that can be the difference between making their numbers for the year or falling short: Which products are going to be popular this season? Where should we advertise? How are our customers hearing about us and purchasing from us? Answering just one of these questions and acting on that information can take analysts and marketers hours or even days.

Data insights in Google Analytics automate the first steps of answering these questions by instantaneously surfacing opportunities and anomalies hiding in the data. For example, they can tell you which products are experiencing higher than normal sales growth, which advertising channels are driving the most conversions and the best returns, and on which devices customers engage with your brand. This moment-to-moment information gives retailers the power to make nimble, smart decisions that directly impact performance.

You can view your automated insights in the Assistant tab in the official Google Analytics mobile app on Android and iOS for all English-speaking users. We’re working to bring this exciting functionality to the web version of Google Analytics and to expand availability to other languages.

We plan on improving with your feedback, so please try the app and then let us know what insights you’d like to see automated.
Posted by Ajay Nainani, Product Manager, Google Analytics

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Enterprise-Class Tag Management: Announcing Workspaces

Companies of all sizes use Google Tag Manager, but larger organizations often have very different needs than others. That’s why, over the past year, we’ve launched Google Tag Manager 360, and have been working to build features that better address the needs of enterprise customers.

Today, we’re excited to announce one of these new features: workspaces in Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360!

Until now, all tag changes were prepared in a single container draft before being versioned and published. This sometimes led to complicated workflows and workarounds for multi-user teams and their agencies. Workspaces give you more than one space to do your work. Teammates can now easily work on tags at the same time, or make quick changes without publishing everything that’s in the works. Simply create a new workspace, make your changes, and hit publish. Tags, triggers, and variables being worked on in other workspaces will remain unaffected.

The new workspaces are essentially places to work on sets of changes that will become versions. When a workspace is versioned or published, its name, notes and list of changes will be carried over to the version, so you have a full history of what’s changed in your container and when.

What happens if tags you’re working on in one workspace are changed in another? Not to worry. Tag Manager will let you know if there are conflicts when a new version is created. Then it will guide you through merging them into your workspace with an easy-to-use conflict resolution tool!

You’ll also notice that we’ve made the Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360 interfaces faster and easier to use. Need to enable a built-in variable while working on a tag? Sliding screens let you configure related tags, triggers, and variables without dropping out of your current editing flow. Want to know which tags a certain trigger is applied to? Trigger and variable screens now tell you exactly where they’re being used. Not sure what type of variable to use to grab a value from your site? Configuration screens are now easier to read and include more in-line guidance.

Starting today, Tag Manager 360 customers will be able to create unlimited workspaces in their containers! Having unlimited workspaces is ideal for the large organizations and complex collaboration efforts that Tag Manager 360 was designed for. If you’re a Tag Manager 360 customer, or a customer of another Google Analytics 360 Suite product, reach out to your Account Manager to learn more.

Users of the standard version of Tag Manager will also benefit. All containers will be enabled for up to three concurrent workspaces (a default workspace—similar to the container draft today—and two additional custom workspaces). The enhanced interface will also give you greater visibility into exactly what changes are being made when you hit publish.

We’ll keep thinking about how to make tagging easier for you. We already have improvements planned for workspaces and other areas of Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360 to make our products even more powerful and easy to use. We’ll have more to share soon!

Interested in Google Tag Manager 360? Visit our website to learn more.

Posted by Scott Herman, Product Manager, Google Tag Manager

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Better insight into your customer interactions with Google Analytics

A few weeks ago, we highlighted how connecting site analytics data with digital marketing campaign data can help companies understand the full customer journey. A deep understanding of customers is essential to running a business today as customers have higher and higher expectations for personalized and relevant experiences from brands.

Site and app analytics data are key sources for developing customer understanding and segmentation as, for many companies, this is where customers interact with the brand most frequently. Analytics and Analytics 360 have existing capabilities to help our customers measure lifetime value and understand user engagement for groups of their customers, but often your data needs to go deeper to help analyze your most important customers. Today, we’d like to announce a brand new capability in user-centric analysis to help address this: User Explorer. With User Explorer, you can now analyze the actions that an anonymous individual has taken on your site or app. These insights can help improve the user experience when people interact with your business online.

 For example, you might want to understand how your top 10 customers interacted with your site or apps. With User Explorer you can get insights into visitors that spent the most with you over a given time frame and analyze each of their journeys on your site over that time period. This analysis surfaces individual interactions that can uncover new opportunities for optimizing their overall experience and path to conversion. In addition, User Explorer opens up new possibilities to help inform your marketing activities. For example, User Explorer can help you identify anonymous individual customers who have not converted recently and help them re-engage with your site using existing marketing channels.

Combine User Explorer with existing user-centric capabilities to help you go deeper and make your data actionable. With the high value users you’ve identified using the User Explorer, create a Google Analytics “Segment” so that you can apply this group of users across all your reports and understand how this group behaves across your site. Building an audience from these segments allows your business to remarket specifically to these customers. Using our Cohort Analysis report, will also help customers understand core user engagement metrics such as retention are performing for this same segment. When were they acquired and what percentage of them came back the next day? How many purchases does this group make day by day? In our Active User report you can see the number of users in this segment that were active in the last day, the last 7 days, and more to have a clear picture of the size of your customer base and its trend across time.

We hope this feature will help you gain the insight you need to build amazing experiences for your customers. Happy exploring!

Posted by Gene Chan, Google Analytics Team

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