social media toolsDo you use Google Analytics to help you make marketing decisions?

Are you familiar with the latest changes in Google Analytics?

Google recently made the switch to secure search, which has resulted in a larger return of “not provided” keyword data in Analytics reports.

For marketers who used the information to guide their marketing and content, the loss of keyword data has been quite a blow.

Fortunately, Google also updated Analytics with more than 14 new features that are incredibly useful to business owners who make decisions based on how their audience interacts with their website and social profiles.

In this article, I’ll share what’s new in Google Analytics and how you can make the most of these changes to benefit your business.

#1: New Google Analytics Reports

When you log into your updated Google Analytics account, you’ll notice that Traffic Sources and Content have been replaced by Acquisition and Behavior.

The new Acquisition section offers you two new views: Overview and Channels.

The Overview report displays Analytics ABC data for your top channels (e.g., Social, Organic, Direct), sources (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) or media (e.g., Organic, Referral, Email).

Essentially, the Overview report helps you see which channels bring in the most visitors, which channels bring in engaged visitors and which channels bring in visitors who convert into email subscribers or customers.

google analytics aquisition overview

See information about visitor acquisition, behavior and conversions at a glance.

While the Overview report displays a summary of data, the Channels report displays a more detailed view of your visitor acquisition on a per-channel basis.

The most interesting part of this new Acquisition report is that you can define the channel groupings, which allows you to track different sources or media in a customized, consolidated group.

If you’re not happy with the default channel groupings, you can change them and add your main media or sources of traffic in different groups.

channel group settings

Edit the default channel groupings and create your own groups.

For example, you can group different traffic sources such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ under the same group and call it “Social.”

Additionally, the Social section has a new Trackbacks report that displays all the back links with the landing pages they link to on your website.

#2: New Analytics ABC Reporting

A significant change in Google Analytics is the introduction of Analytics ABC, which is a new format for some of the Google Analytics reports that group data based on acquisition, user behavior and conversions.

This new report helps you see information about the acquisition of new visitors, how they behave on your website and how they convert into loyal readers, engaged visitors, email subscribers or customers.

You’ll be able to see Analytics ABC in action primarily in the Overview report under Acquisition (more on this new section below), but also in other reports such as Location, Demographics, New vs. Returning and Landing Pages.

The biggest outcome of this change is that now you see a variety of conversion data in the summary view of the report.

new and returning analytics abc

Make informed decisions based on the conversion data available in the majority of new Google Analytics reports.

And if you track conversions for multiple goals, you can change the conversion goal in the Conversion group. Now you can see the same report conversion data for different goals without a lot of effort. How cool is that?

#3: Better, Faster and Smarter Segmentation

The segments in Google Analytics are now easier for new users to navigate, and at the same time are more powerful for advanced marketers and analysis experts.

Along with a new user interface, you can segment your visitors, do cohort analysis and create segment templates.

analytics segments

Once you click the Segments arrow, you will see the built-in segments, your custom segments and the ones you have starred.

You can create your own new segment or import a predefined segment from the Google Analytics Gallery, where you can find popular segments created by the Google Analytics team.

#4: New Demographic Data

Until recently, a demographic dataset was missing from Google Analytics.

Now, data collected from DoubleClick third-party cookies is available in the new Demographic report. You’ll see valuable information about your audience’s gender, age and interests with just a couple of clicks.

audience reports

Check your audience demographics from the Audience reports > Demographics.

No more guessing about who your ideal customer is. You can do things like:

  • Figure out the demographics of your top 15% customers.
  • Improve your remarketing campaigns in Google AdWords by targeting specific segments of your audience with different ads.
  • Use Demographics and Interests to analyze A/B tests.
  • Use Content Experiments from within Google Analytics to conduct A/B tests and then use Age segments to interpret the results and see which version of your test works for different segments.

To start seeing these reports, you’ll need to activate Demographics data by following these steps:

demographics setup

It takes about 2 minutes to complete the steps above and start seeing demographics data in Google Analytics.

And don’t make this mistake when you change the Google Analytics tracking code.

Once you’ve finished the setup, you should see demographics data in your account in about 24-48 hours.

demographics overview

Once you complete the demographics activation, you should start seeing data in the Google Analytics reports.

#5: New Tag Manager Auto-Event Tracking

The Google Tag Manager update makes measuring things like calls to action or clicks on ads with event tracking easier by introducing Auto-Event Tracking. Now there’s no HTML or JavaScript code to worry about during your setup.

tag manager

Use tags to integrate auto-event tracking on your website.

Google Tag Manager is essentially a free tool that allows you to easily manage the tracking codes you install on your websites, such as the Google Analytics tracking code, remarketing tracking pixels, AdWords Conversion Tracking or even Facebook Conversion Tracking.

You can manage all of the tracking codes from one place and edit them without having to manually edit the HTML of your site every time you do it.

To learn more about Auto-Event Tracking in the Google Tag Manager and how to integrate it, watch this video created by Justin Cutroni.

Learn more about how you can set up Auto-Event Tracking in Google Tag Manager.

#6: Improved User Education

Along with the interface changes, Google Analytics has introduced new and improved educational resources.

They’ve added walkthrough videos within the tools and introduced the Analytics Academy and the Digital Analytics Fundamentals course, which provides a foundation for marketers and business owners who want to better understand the principles of analytics and improve their business outcomes.

analytics education content

Click the mortar board icon from below the date selection to access the educational content in Google Analytics.


Now that you’ve read about the latest Google Analytics changes, log in! Use this article to explore and help you learn more about your online audience, easily track conversion data and make better marketing decisions for your business.

What do you think? Are you excited about the changes in Google Analytics? Which new feature or enhancement will have the biggest impact on your business? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  • Eugen, great to see you blogging here (you’re a master!). I love the new acquisition reports, makes business owners view their traffic sources with the whole funnel in mind. Thanks for the great article!

  • SimonL

    Where do I see: Additionally, the Social section has a new Trackbacks report that displays all the back links with the landing pages they link to on your website.

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  • Thank you, Aaron!

    The new Acquisition report is my favorite, too. You are right, you can see the entire funnel at a glance and discover how different traffic sources have converted.

  • Thanks! I wasn’t even aware they added lots of new features. I guess the new Demographic feature will be most useful to me, especially since the keyword data used to help me speculate who my audience was before.

    I suppose where Google hath taken away, Google hath giventh. (You know, to make up for pissing us off.)

  • I never like having to re-learn my way around a system, but I do agree that the enhancements made to GA are excellent!

  • Simon, you can view that from [Aquisition] > [Social] > [Trackbacks].

  • Betsey

    Great article, Eugen! I’ll need to spend some time poking around these new features!

  • It’s so great to learn about all these awesome features Google has. The best part?
    They make it easy to use and understand by providing walk-through
    videos. Thanks for this helpful article Eugen!

  • Great post Eugen!! Always good to learn more about Google Analytics and these new features look cool – love the tie in to Facebook Conversion tracking!

  • Dz

    Great article ! The audience, acquisition and demographics would be go to reports for me. GA updates allow more customization.

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  • James, I agree on the keywords issue. And I think that the new Demographic data it’s something really useful that we can use to get more insights about out audiences.

  • Thank you, Betsey! Let me know if you have any questions about them.

  • I agree, John. The new version has better education and the Analytics Academy it’s something that a lot of people will find useful.

  • Thank you, Andrea! At this point it helps only with the tracking, but maybe in the future we can see more data from Facebook into Google Analytics.

  • Thanks! And yes, you have more freedom on customizing your reports and segments.

  • If you think about it, it’s not a lot of new info to learn, but it does take some time to catch up with the latest stuff. However, it pays of if you manage to get more insights from GA.

  • liordegani

    Great post Eugen! Adding ‘Conversions’ to Acquisition overview was a must, defeinitely gives you a better picture.
    Having said that, not sure if these changes compensating on the “Keyword Not Provided” issue 😀

  • Scott Brooks

    Good post … much appreciated …. saves me from logging in and being oblivious to the new features.

  • maurice Largeron

    Tks for this article Eugen..Regarding the #New google analytics report chapter, i try to edit the “default channel grouping” but can’t achieve this ! I see for instance the new channel i set, but can’t see it displayed in dashboard report : acquisition > channels ? Anything i missed ?

  • maurice Largeron

    in fact , after waiting for 120 hours it works great ! Instead of 48 h said by GA !

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  • Graeme Benge

    Great post Eugen. Whilst the digital marketing world recovers from losing kw data (bad google) we now have conversion lead analysis served up on a platter even more with the new goodness (good google).

  • david reid

    thanks for such a great post .
    I have this question — I am using google analytics and quantcast measure to track traffic on my website . is it ok to do that or the reporting will be affected . is it ok to have 2 tracking codes on my site to track traffic or there will be a conflict . please do reply…is it a must that there should be only 1 tracking code on a site so I should either use google ana lytics or quantcast measure but not both together

  • Guido Picus

    Excellent post Eugen, thanks for sharing. Many if not all blogposts on Google Analytics never mention Facebook marketing Intelligence. Imagine being able to collect and analyse “likes”, interests and demographic data from thousands of potential new customers? Harvesting “Likes” and “Interests” creates a powerful dossier about prospects’ concerns, brand preferences, tastes, what they like, who they are, what activities they enjoy, etc. What’s your take on Facebook Big Data?

  • Anthony Acree

    Any idea when Universal Analytics will support dc.js? We are just running Universal, so the new demographic feature is not supported.

  • Eugen, how does this all work out when you converted to universal analytics? I looked at the GS code to install to activate demographics. Is this code okay to use with UA?

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  • Hi there!

    Great idea with demographic data. Looking forward to it as well as gender data. The graphs look interesting 🙂