It's been nearly a year since Google made the new Google Analytics available to everyone. While it can seem less intuitive up-front, there are many new features only available with the new version, like the incredible social reports. And yet, many haven’t made the complete jump into the new Google Analytics.
Are you like many who keep delaying the switch to the “new” Google Analytics layout? If so, you aren't alone. People aren’t switching for several reasons – even my colleagues and trusted network of veteran SEOs.
Here's a list of three of the most common excuses for not switching and my counter arguments against them.
”I Can’t Find the Reports...”
People complain that all the reports have moved and it’s too hard to find them. If this is one of your excuses, don’t worry.
Luckily, Google remembered its roots when rolling out the new version of Analytics. Right above the side navigation is a search box.
Start typing the name of a report in the search box and Google will suggest reports for you. Whenever you can't figure out under which heading your report now lives, you have search.
Go a step further: Search integration goes farther than searching for reports. If you manage multiple accounts and even more profiles, search can help you quickly find not only the account you’re looking for, but the individual profile attached to an account, as well.
”I Can’t Save Reports as PDFs”
This excuse is no longer valid. Exports to PDF format are back.
Like most things Google, it’s labeled as being in beta. But it’s right there, under the Export icon/menu at the top of each report. You can export comma-separated values (CSV), tab-separated values (TSV, TSV for Excel), or PDF.
Go a step further: Exporting to PDF is a welcome relief. As a reward for our patience, Google has also allowed PDF reports to be emailed to any address on a recurring basis. Right next to the Export icon/menu is a button labeled Email. While it is also in beta, this feature allows you to email any report to any address on a recurring basis. Like exports, the report can be sent and attached as CSV, TSV, TSV for Excel or PDF. The PDF exports started rolling out last month. According to a Google spokesperson, everyone should now have the PDF export in their reports.
”I Can’t Share My Reports...”
Again, like the PDF export, the ability to share custom reports is here. When you enter the custom reporting page, you will see a list of all your custom reports. Naturally, you can click the report name to view it. However, you can also click the Actions icon/menu at the right side of each line to edit the report, create a copy of the report (for saving as...), delete it, or share it.
When you select share, an overlay box appears with a long URL and instructions. Copy the URL and paste it wherever you want to share it. Toss it in an email or even tweet it. You won’t be sharing a link that gives out any of your data.
All the sharing does is re-create the report configuration, without actual data. This means you can create that uber-cool report, share it with people and their own data will be propagated into it.
You don’t even have to be connected with the people you share it with. It’s simply a report template. Unfortunately, this also means any advanced segments you create for a report will not be shared.
Go a step further: However, you can share your Advanced Segments separately. Granted, it's not in the same place it was previously, but the ability is there. Go to the Admin Page, look under the Assets tab and click Advanced Segments. To the right of your segments, you will see links for copying, deleting and sharing the advanced segment.
Go another step further: Dashboards have dramatically improved in Google Analytics. The previous version only allowed you to create one dashboard. The new version allows up to 20 individual dashboards. What could be better? You can share them with others.
Dashboard sharing works in a similar fashion to custom report sharing. It shares the reports and layout, but not the data. Again, this means you can create an analytics dashboard once, then share without fear of sharing your data.
If a client sees your dashboard and wants one just like it, you can instantly create the share link and send it off. I take no responsibility for whatever you decide to bill your client for creating such a precise replica of your dashboard.
Will You Make the Switch Now?
Are you ready to use the new Google Analytics? If so, let us know! If not, let us know, too, and we’ll discuss it in a future column.