A Plea to Google: Bring Advanced Analysis to Us All

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Google Analytics might be the most under-utilized digital marketing tool. I’m not simply talking about it being used to track data. Lots of companies have UA code on their websites; I’m talking about analyzing the data.

And really, this is no surprise. If you open a regular view of Google Analytics, all you see are reports and a handful of single-dimension visualizations. It’s not especially useful out of the box because no significant insights fall into your lap, therefore it’s easy to get sucked into insights that may alarm you, yet do not provide you with any actionable recourse(e.g. “my website bounce rate is 64% — is that bad?!”).

The best attempt I’ve seen to date of Google turning Google Analytics from a simple reporting platform into a truly analytical platform was their release of Advanced Analysis, which as of this publishing date is still in beta.

Let me show you one example of how magical this platform is. Below is a funnel visualization in Advanced Analysis. I was able to create this visualization in about five minutes with the simple drag-and-drop metric, segment, and dimension builder.

Quick, critical things I was able to convey to this business:

  1. Returning users are here to search, but they’re not checking out a significantly higher rate than new users.
  2. Search results are about 12% less efficient at guiding new users to product pages than returning users.
  3. Compelling the decision to buy is the core issue, not the cart -> checkout funnel.

Advanced Analysis funnel visualization from traffic acquisition through the buying funnel.

If you’re familiar with regular Google Analytics, you may recognize the concept of what’s being shown here, but you are unlikely to be used to the customization or even understand the value of something like this. That’s because funnel visualizations in standard Google are relegated to goal abandonments at static start steps, and sequential advanced segment builders, which are useful for building audiences but not analyzing performance.

While I do think that Advanced Analytics is a tool worth paying for, I am hopeful that at least some version of it is released to standard GA users in the near future. Google Analytics attempted a bit of a remodel a year or two ago to make it more accessible to the business owner, but I’ve yet to see evidence of this. Give us more analysis tools, and we will use more Google. That’s your incentive, Google/Alphabet/Mother/Internet Lord.

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