Google Makes Analytics Easier For Mere Mortals To Use

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Google today unveiled Flow visualisation, a new tool in Google Analytics that creates a visual map showing where visitors are clicking to on a web site.

Google Analytics is popular among smaller businesses because it offers a lot of in-depth ways to track site visitors. But the interface can be intimidating and relies on a lot of numerical data and spreadsheets, with few charts sprinkled throughout the service.

Flow visualisation is one of the first inherently visual elements Google has rolled out for Analytics.

“It will help data be told in a very simple way,” Google senior vice president of advertising Susan Wojcicki said. “Flow visualisation will show us, simply and very visually, how people move around on sites.”

Flow visualisation starts with entrance sources — for example a browser version or a search engine. Analytics creates boxes on the left side of the screen, and each box’s size is relative to the number of incoming visitors. It then creates a “stream” that connects to another part of the site, and the size of each stream scales to how many users are travelling to that part of the site.

Google introduced real-time analytics, which measures the number of people currently on the site and which parts of the site they are visiting, in September earlier this year. It’s a product that’s similar to Chartbeat, a Betaworks company founded in 2009.

When asked why the company decided to release Flow visualisation, Google representatives told Business Insider that it was just “what users wanted.”

“We built Flow visualisation because our users told us that they wanted better tools for visualising the way that visitors flowed through their site,” Google spokesperson Winnie King said.

Google made the announcement at the Web 2.0 Summit.

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