I really like Google Analytics right off the bat. After getting to see some of the reports generated, I’m basically hooked. It just has an overall nice and pleasant way of showing what’s been happening on your site. I like the map, although I’d prefer an integrated Google Maps interface, instead of the Flash. But, there’s a lot of things that could really improve Google Analytics in my eyes.
Hopefully Google has some nice changes in store for Google Analytics, formerly Urchin, now that they’ve changed the name and have gone a totally different direction as far as marketing and product branding goes.
I don’t like the fact that the data used to generate the reports isn’t live. It took about 36 hours for any data to show up in my reports. And it took even longer for Analytics to realize I had installed the code on another site I had setup. I have no doubt they’re experiencing some pretty extreme server loads. Hopefully this is one of those things that will get better as the initial hype dies down. Google Reader was unusable for at least a couple days after it’s initial announcement. Performance got better after a couple days but didn’t improve enough for me to possibly use it as my every day feed reader.
One feature I’d really appreciate in Google Analytics would be the ability to export reports to PDF. I may have to try exporting one of the report pages to PDF in IE. I’m not sure if there’s a FireFox extension to create PDF’s from webpages.
I’m sorta surprised to see Google offer a free web reporting tool before they have a free live web stats package. Especially a tool like Urchin/Google Analytics, it’s got to have serious potential to make money. Maybe I’m wrong though, maybe that’s why the previous owners sold it to Google.
It’s gonna be useful to me no matter what. I’m excited to hopefully try it out on a few sites that make use of AdWords. There’s a lot of features in Google Analytics that are specifically for conversion tracking from AdWords and I believe Overture. All that’s involved is tagging links used in your search marketing campaigns and then letting Google Analytics know about those tags. That’s only if you use a paid search service other than AdWords. Google AdWords accounts automatically share conversion data with Analytics, provided the accounts are properly linked. There’s even a URL builder to assist in building tagged links for ads.
Should be fun.