Happy 10th Birthday, Google Analytics!

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Google Analytics. So much has changed over the last decade! If you think back ten years ago, the most popular smartphone was the Blackberry and a 128 megabyte flash drive cost about $30. Today you can get 250X the storage for half the price.

During that time, the world we now refer to as “digital analytics” has changed significantly. 

Our mission when Google acquired Urchin Software was to empower a broad range of website developers and marketers to better understand and improve their business through powerful, yet easy to use analytics tools. In pursuit of that goal we've continued to bring new digital analytics capabilities to the market with Google Analytics Premium, Google Tag Manager,  and Adometry. I’m really proud of the effort and innovation we have put forth in pursuit of that goal.

Looking back on the journey, here are my top ten Google Analytics highlights in no particular order:
  1. Event Tracking - A powerful feature added early on that allows users to track visitor actions that don't correspond directly to a pageview. With event tracking, specific actions like PDF downloads and video views are easily tracked, categorized, and analyzed. This feature has become critical as websites have moved away from a page-structured model. Read how PUMA uses custom filters, event tracking, and advanced segments to kick up order rates by 7%.
  2. Real-Time Reporting - Providing insights into what is happening at any given moment, real-time reporting is a powerful set of reports that are invaluable when checking campaign tagging, launching new campaigns, or understanding the immediate impact of social media. Read how Obama for America used Google Analytics to democratize rapid, data-driven decision making.
  3. Multi-Channel Funnels, Attribution Modeling, and Data-Driven Attribution - Multi-channel funnels was the first step in helping marketers move from last-click attribution and gain insights into the full path to conversion. Next up was Attribution Modeling, which helps businesses distribute credit to all marketing touch-points in the conversion process. We currently provide algorithmic models and a new set of reports designed to take the guesswork out of attribution and make it more accurate. Watch how attribution modeling increases profit for Baby Supermall.
  4. Tag Management - As the complexity of digital marketing and data collection continues to increase, it became clear that our users needed better tools for managing tags. Google Tag Manager consolidates website tags with a single snippet of code and lets users manage everything from an easy to use interface. Read how Domino’s Increased Monthly Revenue by 6% with Google Analytics Premium and Google Tag Manager.
  5. Analytics Academy - A great product is only as good as its users ability to take advantage of all it offers. As the world of marketing and analytics increased in complexity, it became more important for Google Analytics users to be able to stay up to speed on all the changes. In response to this need, the Analytics Academy offers users a hub to participate in free, online, community-based video courses about digital analytics and, specifically, Google Analytics.
  6. Universal Analytics - Universal Analytics (UA) was a big step for Google Analytics on two dimensions. First, UA helps address the challenges of today’s multi-screen, multi-device world by combining visitor activities across devices into a single view. Secondly, it is the foundation of people-centric analytics and enables features like User ID, Lifetime-Value, and Cohorts reporting. Read how 1stdibs luxury marketplace hit new heights with Google Analytics Premium.
  7. Measurement Protocol - This feature was one of the foundations for Universal Analytics. It helped Google Analytics change from a  “web analytics” tool to “digital analytics” platform. The measurement protocol allows users to send, store, and visualize interaction data via an HTTP request. This enables developers to measure how users interact with their business from almost any environment including offline transactions and IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Read how AccuWeather unlocks cross-channel impact using Google Analytics Premium.
  8. Mobile App Analytics - With the explosion of mobile apps and devices, being able to measure and improve both app marketing performance and the app experience is critical. Mobile App Analytics reports are tailored for mobile app developers and marketers to measure the entire mobile customer journey—from discovery to download to engagement. And, when used with the UserID feature, businesses can better understand cross device user behavior. Read how Certain Affinity used Google’s Mobile App Analytics to improve game design.
  9. Enhanced Ecommerce - A complete revamp of how Google Analytics measures the ecommerce experience. It   provides clear insight into new, important metrics about shopper behavior and conversions including: product detail views, ‘add to cart’ actions, internal campaign clicks, the success of internal merchandising tools, the checkout process, and purchase. Read how Brian Gavin Diamonds saw a 60% Increase in customer checkouts with enhanced ecommerce.
  10. Remarketing - Remarketing with Google Analytics helps you easily create audiences based on behaviors of people who visit your website and mobile app. Those audiences are then made available for remarketing campaigns in AdWords, GDN and DoubleClick Bid Manager. Read how TransUnion sees drastic cost efficiencies and conversion improvement with Google Analytics Premium.
I want to thank all the Googler’s, our certified partners, and most importantly, our users who have made this past decade such a fantastic experience. Rest assured, we’re not done yet. We continue to enhance Google Analytics, build new products, and  provide new and innovative ways to help all businesses make better decisions. Stay tuned and cheers to the possibilities of the next decade.

Posted by Paul Muret, VP Engineering