The other day, while updating my Amazon wishlist, it came to my mind that I should also update my Google Analytics (GA) wishlist. Even though the tool is great, there is always one or two improvements that wouldn't hurt. Who knows, someone might be interested to give me an analytics gift... So here is my wishlist and why I believe these features are important for the end users.
As I built Online Behavior, I integrated my Adsense account with Google Analytics, an integration that brings many interesting insights. However, I think it could be a good addition to the AdSense integration to add a "track as ecommerce" button to it. Many sites use Adsense as a primary or secondary source of revenue and it would make sense to have it integrated in a way that would provide even more detailed reports. If an ecommerce integration would be too big a hassle to the developers (which I doubt, since they are Google developers), it would already be very beneficial if we could set goals as "Adsense clicks" (preferably with the goal value being the click value).
As I see it, each click should be counted as a transaction for websites that use Adsense as their revenue model. This is important because not all clicks are counted equal, and this would enable the web analyst to optimize based on the revenue the clicks generate. For example, currently GA reports the number of clicks and Adsense revenue per page. I could calculate the average of revenue per click, but I suspect that the average is not good enough (as Avinash Kaushik says on disappointing measurement techniques, "averages have an astonishing capacity to give you "average" data, they have a great capacity to lie, and they hinder decision making"). If I discover which pages drive the highest Adsense click values (not the highest revenue or the highest average), I can chose to promote them, because those pages are the most likely to generate high value clicks. I imagine there is a clear differentiation between expensive and cheap clicks, and this could be the product name. The affiliation would be the page from where the click was generated. The category would be Adsense.
There are tons of websites out there that have their main revenues as advertisement, be it Adsense or Double Click (to mention two Google tools). GA intends to serve both the head and the tail of websites and I believe the ecommerce feature serves mostly the enterprise and medium+ businesses. And I don't see any difference between $10 earned from Adsense and $10 earned from selling a T-shirt on my website. They are both ecommerce to me.
Google Analytics has built a perfect integration with Adwords, providing sets of reports that enable the analysis of virtually any metric that could be thought about. However, platforms like Yahoo! advertising and Facebook are growing stronger, and it is very time consuming to add UTM tags to campaigns, let alone keywords. Therefore, it would be a great addition to GA, as a unified analysis platform, to integrate with other ad platforms.
This integration should be easy to do, just like Adwords: you give permission, click on a few buttons and BAM, you have a whole new set of data on GA. It should also be complete, being able to import cost data so that analysts would be able to analyze ROI and compare all acquisition channels equally (but even an "Auto Tagging" button on Facebook would be very helpful, just like Google did with Feedburner).
Google has done a great job integrating tools like Adwords and Adsense into Analytics. However, in order to create a true Online Marketing suite, we need Testing and SEO integrated into Analytics too. This would enables us, Web Analysts, to find insights and immediately correlate them with all Marketing Optimization efforts and take action. It would facilitate the work of Analysts looking for insights and it would facilitate the work of agencies "selling" Google Analytics to clients. Here are a two ideas on how it could help:
To be honest, I believe all Google tools should be centralized into Google Analytics (am I biased here?). A place you come for customer acquisition, customer understanding, retention and website optimization. This makes sense since the analysis and insights that can be acquired through data should be as close as possible to customer acquisition and retention.
One of the best ways to improve a product is to get users feedback on it, so that is my little contribution. If you have ideas for improving Google Analytics, feel free to add them to the comments section below. I am sure they will be glad to read it.