Simplifying Reporting Actions in Google Analytics

Ajay Nainani, Product Manager, Google Analytics

Soon, we’ll be rolling out some minor but ubiquitous UX updates to Google Analytics, and in this post I’m going to describe what’s changing.

Today, when users view reports in Google Analytics, they’re presented with a number of controls & actions in the header. This header has a few problems:

  1. Controls for the data on the report (date range / segmentation) are divided by actions you can take on the report (sharing, etc.)
  2. We have some unused actions taking up space. The page is cluttered, particularly on lower resolution screens.
  3. The actions are unclear to many — for example, many people don’t understand what “shortcut” actually does.
  4. Sampling messaging was ineffective at telling you when something was amiss. The vast vast majority of queries in Google Analytics are unsampled, so a small change hidden in text in the action bar of a report wasn’t enough of a visual indicator for people to catch.

So we’re cleaning up the header.

What’s changing

Here’s the experience today:

Today’s view of Google Analytics Reports

Here’s the updated view. Pay attention in particular to the header of the report.

Updated header on Google Analytics reports

About the changes, from left to right

  • Data Quality — A data quality badge reflects the sampling level of the data you’re looking at. Green indicates 100% unsampled data. Yellow indicates at least some sampling. Hovering over the icon at any time shows the sampling rate and allows you to change the precision. Basically, if you see green, you’re good. If you see yellow, it’s worth pausing before contemplating your next steps, adapting your query to get to what you need, or requesting an unsampled report (for GA 360 customers).
  • Save — The save button allows you to save changes you’ve made to a report to come back later. If you add segments, filters, change primary dimensions or secondary dimensions, you can save the report. It will then get added to “Saved Reports” in the customization section, which was previously called “Shortcuts”.
  • Share — Email another user with a link to the report, potentially attaching elements & setting up scheduled emails. Much more to do here.
  • Export — Export the report to Google Sheets, Excel, PDF, CSV, or Unsampled Report (for 360 customers). TSV, Excel_TSV are being removed with this update.
  • Edit — Trigger the customize flow, when available. Updates coming in the future here as well.

The following features are being removed:

  • Add to Dashboard — This was used by less than 0.1% of Google Analytics users. However, 0.1% of a very large user base is still a lot of people — so we know some people will be unhappy about this change. I apologize. We are trying to balance keeping Google Analytics simple while providing the right amount of advanced functionality.
  • The in-line education button — We are building new in-context education. In the meantime, Analytics Academy has great courses.

There’s a lot more to do in this space: improving sharing options, edit flows, and figuring out if we can export to Data Studio. Additionally, we’re thinking about updates to the reports themselves. For now though, this is a small step towards a cleaner Google Analytics.

Follow me on twitter at @ajayn23. I’ll keep sending updates out as we have them, and you can tag me with feedback as well.

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