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Recap: Recent Changes to Google Analytics

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Google has made some important changes to its Analytics system that will help normalize a lot of marketing lingo. Marketers need to be able to sense patterns in their work, and typically work with more than one analytics platform to pull and analyze results. Google’s changes are positives for the industry, and bring the platform more in line with current thought.

User

In the past, Google referred to people who viewed a page as a visitor. The visitor would leave behind information about bounce rate, time spent on page, and which pages he or she would travel to. Google has now changed this term to “user,” which better reflects the range of actions someone can do. For example, a user can read a blog or sign into a Web page. The term is also commonly accepted nomenclature in the world of Internet marketing.

Session

Google also introduced sessions, which used to be referred to as “visits.” Sessions are all of the actions a user performs on a website. A session begins when the tracking code loads, and ends when the user closes the site.

Implications

Nothing much has changed in actual interpretation of this data. This change is also based somewhat on the shift toward mobile, especially “session” because it indicates more about the user’s activity. Google has not provided any new tracking parameters, but has made changes to its documentation that reflect these adjustments.

These changes help to clarify naming conventions across different reports, making it easier for marketers to track and explain what they have done.

Bio: With fifteen years of experience in sales and direct marketing, Ted Dhanik is an Internet marketing expert. Ted Dhanik is the co-founder and CEO of engage:BDR, a company he helped found after working with MySpace.com. Ted Dhanik offers advice through his blog, and at engage:BDR.

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