Google Analytics’ Customizable Dashboard

Google has opened up a beta release of their New Google Analytics interface. At first I was pretty disappointed because I couldn’t see what new real value the interface provided other than flashier graphics and better styled reporting. However, after a more thorough use of the tool, I discovered that there are a few new killer features that do add value to the product. My favorite of the new features is Google Analytics’ Customizable Dashboard.

The Customizable Dashboard

The new Google Analytics customizable dashboard provides much more value to the customer because you can get a quick glimpse at the information that you deem important. For example, say that I’ve targeted the key-phrase “making money in second life” in one of my posts, and I want to know how much traffic that phrase is bringing me from Google. I can watch that right on my dashboard.

Google traffic - making money in second life

To get this report, I clicked “Traffic Sources” => “Search Engines” to bring up the search engine report. Then I clicked on the “google” link, which automatically cross-segments Google visits with the keywords that brought them here. I further clicked on the phrase “making money in second life,” which gives me more detailed statistics of that key-phrase and trends those visits over time. I narrowed the time frame to the last week, and clicked the “Add to Dashboard” button towards the top.

Now I can follow this keyword performance right from the dashboard. I can even jump back to that report by clicking the view report link. This seems to be the only way of bookmarking favorite reports.

How does this feature compare with Omniture Site Catalyst’s customizable dashboard? The main difference here is the ability to customize the actual reports. Site Catalyst gives much more flexibility in the reporting itself, so you can really tailor the reports to your needs. This is where the real value of Site Catalyst lies.
I don’t think Google Analytics will ever match reporting flexibility of Site Catalyst because Google is serving a different segment of the market. Site Catalyst is so expensive, that only the big boys can afford it. It is also so complex that the average user needs training to learn the tool. Google Analytics is targeted towards the average website owner and fulfills most of their needs.

I’m excited to see that Google is continually improving this tool. Thanks Google.