Update: Google has announced that annotations are now available for all accounts after a phased roll-out.
Original Articles: Google announced a new set of features for Google Analytics at SES Chicago. New features include annotations, custom variables in advanced segments, custom variables in custom reports, a new analytics tracking code setup wizard, and a new version of the analytics API.
The Annotations feature lets any user with access to a Google Analytics profile leave shared or private notes on the "over-time" graph. The idea is that staff can note certain spikes and dips in traffic that may be hard to explain when looking at the broad picture. For example, if the servers went down, a new campaign launched, when a redesign went live, etc. It's just a way of keeping things organized and accounted for.
"Building upon the concept of bringing Intelligence to data, Annotations complements existing anomaly detection by capturing the tribal intelligence of your company, which tends to be the most expensive and easily lost resource of all," the Google Analtyics team says. "A simple note from a colleague can save hours of real work (and frustration) for an analyst who is tasked to explain a usually dry set of numbers. This short video will show you how to use Annotations."
Back in October, Google announced Multiple Custom Variables. Until now, the only way to view metrics on them was to open the "Custom Variables" report in the Visitors section. Now, you can create an advanced segmentation based on any key, value, or key-value combination of all custom variables.
"In other words, if you've created a Custom Variable such as 'Logged In Member', you can also create an advanced segment based on that variable and see it across all of your reports," says Google.
Custom Reports can also be created with any of the key or value dimensions assocated with any custom variable. You can see how a segment defined by custom variables behaves along any of the metrics available in Google Analytics.
The new tracking code set-up wizard automatically generates tracking code according to the setup options you specify.
Finally, the new Analytics API will feature support for advanced segmentation, and will include access to new data dimensions and metrics, including those in Google's other recently announced features for Analytics. Google says there will be a separate announcement for the API later this week, so expect to find out more about what it has to offer soon.