By Cam Pegg, Analytics & Optimisation Lead

Google have recently released a number of changes to Google Analytics – as well as announcing several upcoming changes – that will enable digital marketers to get much more immediate value out of their website (and app!) numbers, as well as providing data geeks like me with some shiny new toys to help generate deeper insights. Here's a high-level look at a few of the features that I'm really excited about.

Analytics Everywhere
The latest iteration of Google's analytics platform is called Universal Analytics, and while it doesn't introduce any new reporting (yet!), it does bring new data collection methods to the table and enables some additional features that we're already finding very useful here at DT. The new multi-platform capabilities and custom dimensions in particular are proving to be a great tool to add to the analytics toolkit, especially for app tracking.

Learning Your ABCs
Announced at last week's GA Summit in Mountain View, Acquisition, Behaviors & Conversions reporting is going to replace the current 'Traffic Sources' reporting. According to Google, these new reports will "provide a window on your users’ Acquisition-Behavior-Conversion (ABC) cycle: how you acquire users, their behavior on your site after acquisition, and their conversion patterns." Essentially, these reports will make it easier to see channel performance at a glance.

Get to Know your Visitors...
It's one thing to know how many people are visiting your site and what they do once they get there, but throwing some demographic data into the mix takes things to a whole new level, especially for ecommerce sites. The new Audience Reporting aims to do just that: providing age, gender, and interest categories as dimensions in GA. This sort of data will be gold in helping to inform SEM, merchandising and personalisation strategies.

...Then Slice Them Up
Google has been rolling out their new segmentation tools for a while now, and while the new UI takes a little getting used to, it brings with it some powerful new segmentation capabilities, like cohort analysis, sequence segments and segment templates. If you haven't been using the segmentation features in GA so far, you really should take a look; this stuff is awesome.

Automagic Events
If you're using Google Tag Manager, you'll probably be very happy to hear that you'll no longer need snippets of JavaScript all over your site to track user events like button clicks or form submissions. With the release of Auto-Event Tracking, you'll be able to see these actions without dropping any code. Setting aside the measurement and reporting benefits, in terms of time spent constructing and debugging Custom Events, this is going to be huge.

This is really just scratching the surface of the changes happening around GA at the moment - there are quite a few more features coming, like BigQuery integration for GA Premium accounts - and covering it all could quite easily fill a good-sized book (of which I'm sure there are more than a few in progress at the moment). As always, one of the easiest ways to keep up to speed with what's going on is via the official Google Analytics Blog. And if you need to brush up on your GA skills in general, I'd also recommend checking out Google's Analytics Academy.

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