With the eMetrics Summit underway in Washington, D.C., Google took advantage of the captive audience of industry analysts and Web analytics gurus from Fortune 500 companies to announce changes to its platform.
On Tuesday, Google introduced new features to Google Analytics, including site search reporting and event tracking, and an updated version of Urchin software. The company said the enhanced features make Web 2.0 information more accessible and comprehensible, and will help users better understand visitor behavior.
"Google continues to expand the capabilities of its analytics solution with integrated search analytics and event tracking, while enabling measurement of multiple Web properties through tagless link tracking," said John Lovett, senior analyst for site technologies and operations at Jupiter Research, from the eMetrics Summit.
Focus on Web 2.0
As search has become more relevant and more people are using it, Web analytics has taken on a more important role in helping advertisers understand not only how customers are finding sites, but also what those visitors are doing when they get there.
A new feature in Google Analytics is site search, which can help identify keywords, categories, products, and trends across time and user segments. That, Google said, helps users measure the effectiveness of their Web sites and their marketing dollars.
Site search aggregates data about how searches affect site use, e-commerce activity, and conversion rates, by tracking internal search patterns. Google said this feature will soon be available worldwide, and it works with Google Custom Search, Google Search Appliance, Google Mini, and many other non-Google site search products.
With Web 2.0 features spreading rapidly across the Internet, analysts say that measuring the success of Web 2.0 efforts is increasingly valuable. The Google Analytics event tracking feature, which launches in a limited beta at the eMetrics Summit, enables users to measure visitor engagement with a site's interactive elements.
"These enhancements empower marketers with valuable customer insights and provide a method for categorically tracking emerging applications," Lovett said.
Google Analytics also added six new languages, bringing the total number of supported languages to 25. The new languages are Czech, Hungarian, Portuguese, Thai, Filipino, and Indonesian.
In March 2005, Google acquired Urchin Software, a Web analytics firm, for an undisclosed amount. Google said its motive for acquiring Urchin was to provide Web site owners the information they need to optimize the user experience and generate greater ROI on their advertising spending.
Despite its Google Analytics push, the search giant hasn't done away with Urchin Software. Google said an improved Urchin will be available for a discounted price to users of Urchin 5. The next iteration will include tools to help users migrate configurations and data from previous versions of Urchin.