Google Analytics is a comprehensive website tracking and analysis tool provided by Google. There are a number of other tools out there that can provide similar information about your website visitors, some are free and some you have to pay for, but more and more website owners are choosing to use Google Analytics because it is free, easy to use, and it provides all of the information that most webmasters could ever need.

Plus they keep making it better and better. Have a look at this blog post from the Google Analytics team that lists the changes they made during 2009.

Here I just wanted to discuss two of the new features that have been added recently.

Analytics Intelligence

Google Analytics Intelligence is a new beta feature that can be used to automatically alert you of any significant changes in visitor behaviour, so that you can focus your analysis on understanding the causes behind these changes and making informed strategic decisions around future changes.

Google Analytics Intelligence

For example, say you have just launched a new TV ad that directs viewers to your website. You might reasonably expect Analytics Intelligence to alert you to an increase in both Visits and Pageviews, but a wealth of other useful information may also be uncovered, i.e. if you see a large increase in Bounce Rate and drop in Average Time on Site, this might indicate that many of these new visitors aren’t finding what they expected to see on your website.

Armed with this information you might choose to make some changes to your website landing page so that it better fits the expectations of visitors who have just seen your TVC.

Analytics Intelligence will automatically look for a wide range of traffic pattern changes, but if there is something specific that you want to watch out for, you can also create your own custom alerts.


Annotations allows Google Analytics users to write (campaign-specific) notes directly on the over-time graph, which makes data analysis much easier later on.

Google Analytics Annotations

For example you could embed notes such as:

  • Launched new pay per click campaign using Facebook advertising.
  • Enabled Google AdWords content network campaign.
  • Search Engine Optimisation project started / ended.
  • Search Engine Advertising was changed to focus more on the company brand in ads.
  • Webserver down for 15 minutes due to crash.

Notes added directly into the Analytics data allows you to gain more meaningful insights from the Analytics reports, and helps you understand the reasons behind the peaks and troughs in visitor usage or sales patterns much more easily.

Annotations were announced in December 2009 and are being gradually rolled out to Google Analytics user accounts, so if you can’t see this feature in your account yet, don’t worry it should be available soon.

How Can First Rate Help?

First Rate is the first Trans-Tasman Google Analytics Qualified Company (GAAC) and has a team of Google qualified consultants who are experts in installing, configuring and analysing the data provided by Google Analytics. Contact us, we are ready to help.