Google recently released the Advanced Analysis report beta in Google Analytics 360. Are you wondering how it compares to Data Studio and the free Google Analytics reports (custom reports and dashboards)? We were too.
On the surface, you can see from the following limits list that Advanced Analysis most closely resembles the limitations of a Custom Report. Beyond the limits, our staff likes the friendly user interface. It shows all your settings on the left, and enables drag and drop editing with instant report refresh on the right. By contrast, Custom Reports require you to click to settings, adjust, save and wait for the report to refresh.
Limits per Table:
|Product/Feature||# of Dimensions||# of Metrics||# of Segments|
*In Advanced Analysis Exploration Technique, you set up dimensions as both rows and columns (up to 5 and 2 respectively).
Pros of Advanced Analysis
Advanced Analysis gives you three new reporting techniques:
- Exploration – used for quickly layering on analysis complexity to go deep with data discovery.
- Funnel – used for abandonment analysis.
- Segment Overlap – used for better understanding your audience and when audiences have mutual characteristics.
The Advanced Analysis Exploration technique is useful because you can easily navigate between table, pie or line chart visualizations:
You can go deeper with your data by layering on multiple segments (up to 4) in both the table and chart visualizations whereas in Data Studio you can only apply 1 segment per visual/table. In a custom report, you can layer on just as many segments but miss out on the visualization options to help you interpret your data faster.
This technique surpasses Custom Funnels when you need to analyze more than 5 funnel steps. The Funnel technique gives you 10 steps and if needed, it allows you to alter the steps as you go. Comparatively, Data Studio and GA Dashboards do not have a funnel option. You could build a workaround funnel in Data Studio but you would miss out on the abandonment rates, one-click segment/audience creation from drop-offs and the one-click exclude/include filters.
How does it compare to the Funnel Visualization report? Since Funnel Visualization is based on goals, it does not apply retroactively. This means if you make adjustments after launch, they will not apply to historical data (unlike the Advanced Analysis and Custom Funnels).
Segment Overlap Technique
Advanced Analysis Segment Overlap technique is entirely unique. It enables you to very quickly see how much overlap there is between segments. For example, the following visual shows that most of mobile traffic is coming from organic:
Our only qualm about the Overlap Report is that, in some circumstances, the visual can be misleading. Say for example, you want to see how much overlap there was between visitors that came to the website once or twice. Since circles are being used to represent the data, it cannot truly represent when items are mutually exclusive but make up the entire user base. The resulting Total data of Once or Twice visits, represented by the green shaded area, does not exist:
Cons of Advanced Analysis
Advanced Analysis misses the mark in seven areas compared to its counterparts:
1. Calculated metrics
At this time, Advanced Analysis does not include calculated metrics. If you want to use calculated metrics, try Data Studio or Custom Reports instead.
These reports do not tell your data story. Data Studio provides resources for storytelling, such as the multi-page report format and text boxes that can provide crucial context to the untrained eye.
Data Studio lets you customize colours and images or save/use internal templates aligned with your company’s brands, whereas Advanced Analysis does not.
GA Dashboards and Custom Reports have user permission capabilities allowing you to restrict access. This capability does not exist in Data Studio or Advanced Analysis. Instead, anyone with access to these shared links can see the reports.
5. Bulk sharing
Another handy function Advanced Analysis is without is bundle sharing. In GA Custom Reports, you can choose numerous assets and share as one link. Advanced Analysis reports need to be shared as separate links.
6. Funnel options
The Funnel technique is less adaptable. For example, unlike Custom Funnels, Advanced Analysis Funnels do not specify session- vs. user-based funnels or identify closed vs. open funnels.
7. Date Range
Unlike Data Studio, Advanced Analysis only goes back in time as far as 13 months and even less (93 days) for user-level analysis. This user level analysis time range is consistent with Custom Report limitations.
What do you think of GA360’s Advanced Analysis beta? Are we missing anything? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.