Changes in Google Analytics: A Recap of the 2014 GA Summit

As a certified Google Analytics Partner, Bluetent receives an invitation to the official Google Analytics conferences each year. I had the privilege to attend my first GA conference, the 2014 Google Analytics Summit in downtown San Francisco at the end of May. Google uses these opportunities to gather their product teams and engineers for two days of feature announcements, live demos and Q&A that we as marketers and analysts would never otherwise have access to.

While topics ranging from Google Tag Manager to Remarketing Smart Lists and Conversion Attribution were covered, a large focus of the Summit was the announcement of the new Enhanced Ecommerce functionality Google is rolling out. Enhanced Ecommerce will allow anyone tracking dollars and cents conversions on their website the ability to drill deeper into the data and gain more actionable insights than ever before. Previously, some of the ecommerce insights that marketers really wanted to gain from Google Analytics felt very difficult (or impossible) to finesse out of the software.

With Enhanced Ecommerce, we will have access to drastically improved funnel reporting, more data around individual product performance, and functionality around tracking internal promotions and refunds. One exciting example is the ability to track a specific product’s impressions and clicks from around your website. With this data we will be able to answer questions like “Which products have a high number of impressions but a low number of click-throughs to the product page?” Perhaps these listings need a more appealing image or a more compelling title or description. Maybe users are just not interested in these products and they should be removed altogether.

While most marketers would love immediate access to this data, this is less than likely to be a quick transition for most. While the Enhanced Ecommerce features are being gradually rolled out to everyone as we speak, there are code updates required. These updates can be trickier for some of us than others, depending on a variety of factors like what CMS you are on and who you have available as a resource for implementation. At Bluetent, we will be working to transition accounts over to some of this new Google Analytics functionality as quickly and seamlessly as possible for those accounts where it makes sense to do so.

While it is easy for us who use this tool every day to complain about missing features or seemingly broken reports, the conference gave me a real sense of the challenges that the Google Analytics team is up against. They were refreshingly transparent in what they shared and how they answered on-the-spot questions from the audience and stressed that as Partners, we are an important source of product feedback.
With how quickly user tracking is changing, we always strive to stay as close to the leading edge as possible. These conferences allow us to see where the industry is headed and motivate us to take action, adapting to and embracing the changes. For more information on feature announcements made at the conference, check out the official blog post from the Google Analytics Blog.

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