In our original starter guide to Google Analytics, we covered what Google Analytics is, what you can use it for, and how to sign up. Since then, ever more website owners have started using Google Analytics to gather valuable information about their visitors. The best part is that, even though Google continually makes upgrades, Analytics is still free!

Since our last blog post, Google has made a large number of updates. In fact, in just the past few months, Analytics has received three important new additions.

New Ways to Measure Users

You know as well as Google that, to become customers, users journey across various channels. The only way to personalize experiences for these users and to bring them the right content at the right time is to know how they are making these journeys. Google Analytics already had numerous tools to help in this regard. In December, it added a few more.

Standard Reports

Google has updated standard reports to be more user-focused. This gives you a better understanding of how customers are engaging with your business. These reports are particularly useful when the same users are interacting with your website multiple times.

Now, you can see in your reports how many users are arriving to your site and from which specific channels. You will need to turn this feature on: under “Admin,” choose “Property Settings” and toggle on “Enable Users In Reporting.” With this on, you’ll still be able to see number of sessions.

User Explorer

To examine your users yet further, turn to User Explorer. Google Analytics has added lifetime metrics and dimensions for individual users — although, you should bear in mind that this is actually the lifetime of a user’s cookie.

You can use these metrics and dimensions to see how much time individual users have spent on your site and how many transactions they have made in total. You can also see how users arrived to your site the first time and when this was.

Audiences Report

Previously, you were only able to create audiences and export them to other products (for instance, to AdWords), but there was no way to publish audiences for reporting. Now, to enhance your understanding of your audiences, Google Analytics is allowing you to publish any audience to a new report.

Conversion Probability

Google Analytics has also added a metric called conversion probability. This shows how likely a user is to convert based on behavior taken on your website. You can use the feature to more effectively remarket to segments of highly-engaged users. As well as examining users individually, you can see the performance of all your visitors in the conversion probability reports.

New Community Connectors

Data Studio Community Connectors allow you to add an external data source to your Google Analytics accounts. If you possess the technical skills, you can build your own. Otherwise, use the ones available. Just a few that already existed include Facebook Marketing, Twitter, and Salesforce. In the last few months, Google Analytics added a number of new ones, bringing the total of Community Connectors up to more than 50.

Additional Account Management Tools

In October 2017, and then again in November 2017, Google added a number of new tools to Analytics. These help website owners and their teams better manage accounts, move between products, and understand data.

Centralized Account Management

Accounts now have a central location, where admin can manage user access and permissions for products including Tag Manager and Optimize as well as Analytics. To set this up, you just need to create an organization and link each of your accounts.

This system has a number of benefits. For instance, it prevents users in your organization from receiving the wrong permission level, it enables you to more easily remove users who are no longer at your organization, and it shows you who is accessing data.

Centralized account management is also excellent if you have multiple accounts. For instance, you can now add the same team member to numerous accounts at once. Before, you had to access each account in turn, which was a big waste of time.

User Groups

Another way to manage a large number of accounts or many team members is with the new group feature. This allows you to add users to a group (it is even possible to have groups within groups) and give them access permissions accordingly.

Home Page

Once you’ve set up an organization on Google Analytics, you’ll now see a home page with an overview of your business. Here, you can manage all of your accounts and products. You’ll also be presented with key insights.

Common Navigation and Product Headers

If you’re using multiple products, you’ll benefit from this feature. With everything in one place, you can quickly switch between products and make searches.

To benefit fully from your Google Analytics account, start using any of these new features that are relevant to your business.


This post was originally published [September 2015] and has been rewritten to be current in the new year.




  • Andrew Williams, September 15, 2015 @ 9:15 am

    Good article about GA and WMT. Even if you think you know everything about Google Analytics it is still good to watch all the videos to make sure you actually do know it all.

  • Matt Christensen, October 9, 2015 @ 10:19 am

    The last point is very beneficial. Those new to the industry may not know that in order to each the Individual Qualification you had to pay. Google is now making this free, so for those who want to start the course, there are no excuses!

  • Tonya Davis, October 9, 2015 @ 1:34 pm

    I’ve tried the Google Analytics academy, it’s incredibly helpful and very easy to use. I highly recommend it.

  • Jamison Michael Furr, October 12, 2015 @ 4:42 pm

    Yes – thanks for pointing that out Matt! I’m glad that Google has finally gotten rid of the testing fee 🙂

  • Jamison Michael Furr, October 12, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

    Yep, I’ve learned that the more I learn about GA, the more I realize I don’t know about GA – there’s always more to learn!

  • Jamison Michael Furr, October 12, 2015 @ 4:44 pm

    Agreed! I think they’ve done a very good job of making Analytics easy to learn for people of all learning types between the videos, how-to guides, pdfs, and FAQs.

  • Andrew Williams, December 10, 2015 @ 4:26 pm

    Good summary of some really in depth information. It is really interesting to be able to find out so much information about what people came to your site down to the device that was used.

  • Maile Waite, April 20, 2016 @ 11:52 am

    Google Analytics is such a useful tool to see a breakdown of statistics. You can see returning users v. new users, etc. which can help your marketing in the future.

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