The Mad Analyst: What I would change about Google Analytics
I love Google Analytics. Probably as much or more than the next analyst (and an upcoming post will tell you why). But nobody’s perfect so here’s 3 things I’d like to see change.
1. Advanced Segments tied to My Email Address
I log in to a minimum of 10 Google Analytics accounts each day. This is why it bothers me that if I create an advanced segment in one account/profile I want it to only be applied to that account/profile OR I want the option to choose what profiles it applies to.
Now this might not seem a big deal when you have 2 or 3 profiles that are based on the same site. But when you’re managing 20 different sites, all with different goals, segments, etc. it’s really annoying to have to scroll through all the segments that aren’t applicable and find the one that really applies to the profile you’re looking at.
I’d also like the option to share the segment with the other users of that profile. So I can create a segment and another analyst handling the day to day reports can use it right away vs. having to set it up for themselves. Especially in the cases of segments built using many, many variables.
*Updated* We just received word last night that Google Analytics is enhancing their Advanced Segments feature in an upcoming release.
2. You can only configure 4 Goals
Only 4 goals? Really? That's not quite enterprise class (and I realize this is a FREE tool, but I'd gladly pay for this feature!).
Yes, I know I can create a duplicate profile and create 4 new goals in this profile, but I really don’t want to be switching back and forth constantly to pull reports. This is especially painful when I am looking to add Goal #1 from Profile #1 and Goal #1 from Profile #2 to be in the same dashboard. With a little planning, we could certainly configure Profile #1 to contain both goals. However, at this point we lose historical data. This is especially bad when we inherit a poorly managed Google Analytics account.
Let me add a new Goal, let's say up to 10, and then retire old Goals if necessary. Antiquated as it may be, Omniture's HitBox has up to 20 active “funnels”. It’s the only thing they might (I stress, might) do better than Google Analytics.
3. Campaign Tracking Parameters
I love how easy campaigns are to set up (you really don’t have to “set them up” within GA, you just tag your links in the wonderful GA URL Builder).
This is a great time saver. However, I’d like the option of being able to add additional data regarding campaigns in order to get the most out of my analysis.
- Number of impressions (mail circulation, etc.)
- Cost (for CPR calculations)
- Start/end dates (to plot on a calendar view).
I’d also like the default campaign report to allow for some drill down in medium/source (allowing me to go back and forth and see all the mediums under a source or all the sources under a medium for the specified campaign).
There are probably more things I’d like to see changed but between available Greasemonkey plugins and the frequency with which GA changes, I find my list shrinking all the time.
By the time you read this it's likely at least one of these issues will have gone away (in fact, one of them will be going away soon).