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Google Analytics "Old Version" to be Removed on 7/18/12

Summary: Google Analytics has announced that they will remove the link to the "Old Version" tomorrow. Three months ago we prematurely announced that Google Analytics had removed the "Old Version" option that many people (myself included) had relied on while procrastinating becoming familiar with the new interface. I update the post after discovering that GA had simply moved the "Old Version" link to the footer. So they didn't remove it, they just made it more difficult to find. Rather than force us to adapt to the new Google Analytics, they nudged us in that direction by hiding our crutch. At the time, Barry Schwartz nailed it in his summary about the change:
Google really wants you to switch to the new version of Google Analytics and by almost hiding the link, they think they can convert more people over to it.
GA hasn't produced any numbers, but I have to believe this dramatically reduced "Old Version" usage. It certainly worked on me, even after I knew you could still access the old version. I'm not blessed with any special powers that allow me to prognosticate on the direction Google is taking things, but it was easy to see that they were phasing out the old version of GA, so I bit the bullet and forced my self to learn the new version. For those that took the lazy way out, Analytics says you have 1 more day! That's right, GA tweeted the announcement themselves this time because after tomorrow there's no more hunting around for a hidden link to the "Old Version". Google Analytics is killing it completely, so I would strongly encourage you to begin to at least familiarize yourselves with the current version. I'd start out by setting up some conversion tracking goals if you haven't already and then setting up some custom reports to determine what keywords and traffic sources are driving your traffic/leads, what devices users are using to visit your site, etc. Unlike in the old version, where custom reports were accessed through the vertical navigation on the left-hand side, "Custom Reports" is now a prominent button at the top of the screen in the horizontal nav:

Google Analytics Top Navigation

We recently showed you how to set up a couple of useful custom reports in our post on "(not provided)" keywords. You can use those to familiarize yourself with how Google Analytics custom reporting works and then set up some of your own once you've gotten your feet wet. It's really a lot less daunting than it seems at first, so try not to be intimidated by the new interface if you've never used it. The new Analytics is still built around the same framework as the old, with all of the old data is available and more. Google's official announcement highlights some of the new benefits:

  • Real-Time shows you what’s happening on your site as it happens. Immediately see the impact that online campaigns, TV ads, or mentions at a live event can have on engagement with your website.
  • Multi-Channel Funnels provides insight on the full path to conversion over a 30 day period. The variety of marketing channels used to find your website, and not simply the last click, so you can make better decisions on your marketing investments.
  • Social Reports help you measure the impact of your social marketing initiatives and evaluate the effect social media has on the metrics which matter to your business.
  • Mobile Reports show how visitors from mobile devices and AdWords mobile campaignsengage with your website. See how many pages they visit, how much time they spend, as well as conversion and ecommerce insights to help you optimize your mobile strategies.
  • Content Experiments enables you to show different versions of a page to different visitors, then using a new advanced statistical engine measures the results of each to determine which is the most effective version.

These have all been great reasons to use the new Analytics, but now you have even more incentive - you have no choice! Feel free to post any questions you might have about the new GA in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer them. If you need help with your web presence or tracking in general, send us a message today and someone will get back to you right away.