Little did we know that we’d be receiving a late Easter surprise upon returning to work after the public holiday long weekend! Unfortunately, it wasn’t more chocolate. It was a Google Analytics update which was quietly rolled out last Thursday April 17th. This change will be important to many websites and businesses as we analyse data coming from a wider range of digital platforms, so read on.
Google flew well under the radar to carry out this most recent change to their Google Analytics reporting, which saw new inclusions such as; app-specific fields, and more notably a terminology change which saw Visits turn into Sessions, and Unique Visitors become Users.
The change was picked up by Analytics users who took to social media platform Google+ to share the news, and what they thought about it. Later, Google Analytics made an official comment on their Google+ page as to why the change was rolled out, explaining further that it will “help understand what users do in the increasingly diverse digital landscape, and therefore we’re enabling you to view web and app data from the same reporting view.”
So, what does this mean for reporting?
Now, if you send data from the web or from a mobile app to one property, both data sets appear in your reports. Also, the new app-specific fields allow for more detail including screen name, app name, app version, and exception tracking. Of course, for analysis sake custom filters can be created to isolate data from one source. Analytics is still calculating your data in the same way – this new terminology really just encompasses the many digital touchpoints such as websites, mobile apps, web apps, and other digital devices.
Despite the usual uproar from Analytics users who come to terms with another change (as in true Google style – there was no warning), it is safe to say overall that most comments from users and people in the industry have been positive, and are receptive to Analytics helping users get deeper insights into multi-device traffic.
Julia Bannerman is SEM Account Manager at BCM