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An Overview of What’s New in Google Analytics Standard Reporting

If you’ve taken a look at Google Analytics lately, you’ve probably noticed things have changed. Many of your favorite standard reports have moved around – and improved (except for that nasty “not provided” keyword set). In this post, we’re going to give you an overview of what is new, what has been relocated, and what has changed.

Google Analytics Education

In most sections of the new Google Analytics layout, you’ll see a little graduate’s hat. You can use these to learn more about how to interpret the data you find throughout Google Analytics.

google analytics education

Be sure to take the time to visit these help files within Google Analytics. Beginners will get a good head start on learning how to use Google Analytics like a pro, and pros will be given pointers about all of the new pieces of data and reports available.

Summary vs. Site Usage View

Did you ever want to quickly view how anything in your Google Analytics standard report (location, screen resolution, traffic sources, landing pages, etc.) translated to conversions? Now you can. One of the best things about the new Google Analytics is that you are shown the default Summary view in any standard report.

google analytics explorer tab options

The Summary view starts out with the basics you would normally see – visits, bounce rate, average visit duration, etc.

google analytics summary view

Immediately after that, you will see your conversions, which shows the conversion rate, number of completions, and value of the goals you have set up in Google Analytics.

You can use the dropdown menu to choose other goals and see their data as well. By default, the first goal’s information is shown.

If you don’t have goals set up, or you want to go back to the way things were, you can choose Site Usage to see just the traffic basics.

As you can tell from this change, the focus now is heavily on conversions. So if you don’t have goals set up in Google Analytics, it’s high time for you to get started.

Traffic Sources is now Acquisition

What was formerly known as Traffic Sources is now under Acquisition.

google analytics acquisition menu

You’ll find some key new features within this section, starting with the Overview that shows the different channels that drive traffic to your website.

google analytics acquisition overview

You’ll also get a quick glance at how visitors from these channels behave on your site (bounce rate, pages per visit, and average visit duration) along with how their activities affect conversions.

Under Channels, you can get more details about traffic from each channel, from the standard information to conversion information.

google analytics channels

If you want to change your channel groupings, you can click the Edit Channel Grouping link.

edit channel groupings

Here, you can rename channels, reorder them, and even change the individual channel definitions.

For those using UTM parameters to tag URLs for specific online marketing campaigns, you’ll be able to see the data under Campaigns.

Under Keywords, you’ll find your Paid and Organic keyword data. The latter of which is almost useless now that we’re headed toward 100% (not provided) keyword data.

Beneath Keywords, you’ll find a new Cost Analysis Report, which shows traffic and revenue performance data for your paid marketing channels. You can learn more about this here. After that, you’ll find your AdWords, Social, and Search Engine Optimization sections with some new data.

One interesting piece under the Social section is Trackbacks. It’s a great way for businesses to monitor mentions (conversations) about them in blogs. It’s also a great way for content creators to see when their content has been stolen as these tend to pop up in here as well.

google analytics trackbacks

If you are interested in seeing referral paths (specific links from a domain referring traffic to your website), you’ll find it in a couple of places. If you go to Acquisition > Channels > Referral, you’ll be able to click on any domains not related to search or social media listed to see their referral paths.

If you’re looking for social media network referral paths, you’ll have to go to Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals. When you click on a social network, you’ll first see the landing pages that network drives traffic to. Then, when you click on the landing page, you’ll see any specific referral paths.

Content is now Behavior

The new Behavior section is home to what was previously under the Content heading.

google analytics behavior menu

Unfortunately, the All Pages view under Site Content still doesn’t link your top trafficked pages to your conversion data. However, Landing Pages does, so you can at least see how many conversions you receive when someone comes to your site and lands on a specific page.

Advanced Segments have been revamped

Last, but not least, Advanced / Custom Segments has had a facelift. You’ll find them by clicking on the dropdown arrow next to 100% All Visits at the top of your Explorer view.

google analytics advanced segments

When you click that arrow, you’ll see all of the custom segments you’ve created, along with some default segments built in to Google Analytics.

When you go to create a new custom segment, you’ll have more of a wizard-style setup to define your custom segment’s filters.

If you want to bypass this style setup, you can just go to the Advanced Conditions area to add single or multi-visit conditions to your custom segment.

When you’re ready to view your custom segments, start clicking on them. You’ll have to remove the All Visits segment to see up to four of your custom ones at a time.

These will update your data throughout Google Analytics as usual, and make some of the new reporting features even more interesting.

In Conclusion

The new Google Analytics seems to be much more conversion oriented, which is a great thing for businesses looking to discover the types of traffic that really drive customers through their online doors. While there is still room for improvement, you’ll likely gain a lot of new insights from the new sections and features.

What are your favorite (or least favorite) changes to the new Google Analytics? Please share in the comments.

About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. You can also find her on Google+ and Twitter.

  1. You did a great job summarizing the major changes. I have noticed a few other modifications, but this is the best summary I have seen so far. Very helpful. Thanks.

  2. HI.

    For now is hard to accommodate but i believe things will go better in future.

    Very good work here. Appreciate your efforts on making all these images for us. Good review.

  3. eDigitalFields Oct 14, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    The new format is entirely a new experience for user. While studying this format the best part I like is the channels – the grouping of traffic. We can now see visual comparison by chart of previous period visits and other metrics.

  4. Digital Essence Oct 15, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Nice overview, thanks.

    As eDigitalFields said, it’s almost an entire new user experience.

    We still miss our traffic source piechart and have no idea why they removed it.

  5. Thanks for the great visual summary – ideal to share with colleagues who are not that GA-savvy. Did you figure out an easy way to get to the old view of full referrals including the url path to really see where the traffic comes from? Or will it now require a custom report?

  6. Frankie Breslow Oct 15, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your website by chance (stumbleupon). I’ve book-marked it for later!

  7. Ashley Faulkes Oct 15, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Great job as always Kristi. I was wondering what all these changes were. It is interesting to see how much has really changed and all the associated benefits.

    Have you also started Googles Analytics course at there new academy? I presume it won’t teach you much, but you never know :> I wrote a quick summary post on it recently.

  8. Thanks for the post. Google Analytics reporting is a regular job for a webmaster and requires lot of work. The post is a quick overview of the latest things and their usage.

  9. Great post, as somebody who only has time to dip in and out of GA I found found some of the changes quite overwhelming due to the fact I can’t go straight to several of the things I did before.

    I’m sure it’ll just be a matter of time before I’m used to it!

  10. Its a neat summary with appropriate visual screenshots. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Yep, the newly shuffled layout can be quite confusing at first, especially due to the sort of ‘rebranding’ of certain metrics. On Android though, I’m using the gAnalytics app and it’s pretty much using the same old labels…for now.

  12. Thanks for the article. I was just about to look at my own data for new vs. returning and this helped out a lot. I also never knew that with custom coding, I could break it down even further to see what “existing customers” are doing when they visit the site. Great article!

  13. I really hate the changes they make to the UI.

  14. Hi Kristi
    Can I ask you how often does Google update its data outside of the realtime feature, for example the overview in Audience

    • Usually everything within GA is updated within 24 hours, but you can sometimes get almost realtime information by just changing to the current date in the explorer view. Everything but the section that connects to Google Webmaster Tools that is.

  15. Nick Lawrence Oct 31, 2013 at 9:10 am

    New analytics is VERY conversion-driven, but still provides all the data and more that you could need.

    After the changes I initially found the interface very difficult to navigate however after taking the time to watch the videos and complete the Analytics Academy modules, I realise all this information is still there – I had just not been using the options fully.

    There are still things I’d like to change such as adding a percentage of mobile sources from all traffic rather than just giving bounce rates as a default. I guess getting your custom reporting set up is the way to handle things going forward.

    Thanks for the article, Nick

  16. This looks like a great article!

  17. In STANDARD Reports Overview why is TOP KEYWORDS empty. Does not show anything at all? Also the following are empty.

    Top Referrals:
    Source Active Visitors
    There is no data for this view.

    Top Social Traffic:
    Source Active Visitors
    There is no data for this view.

    Top Keywords:
    Keyword Active Visitors
    There is no data for this view.

  18. thank you for this! I couldn’t find the “traffic sources” choice anymore, and it was driving me crazy! I’m new to GA, so this kind of info really helps.

  19. Douglas Bence Feb 23, 2017 at 3:48 am

    Losing the 30-day rolling stats in the middle of a month is irritating. A warning of the changes would have been helpful. Over the years we’ve learned to live with the 30-day stats, now living without them will screw the comparatives. It means more work, not less. A pox on them!

  20. Thanks for the really comprehensive overview – very helpful! Our conversion tracking has broken since the changes have been made to GA. All of our conversions are now coming through with a “referral” acquisition channel. We have a third party payment provider where the customer is referred back to our site after successul check out. This used to work perfectly and we were tracking everything with UTM. This is also showing up in our acquisition traffic as a referral source which is a pain!

    Any ideas what could be happening here? (We also upgraded to SSL recently, but it’s happening on both our SSL and old views in analytics).

  21. It seriously boggles the mind how so many tech bloggers don’t seem to think it would be useful to display the post date…it would be helpful if one doesn’t have to scroll to the comments to find out the info is years out-of-date.


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