Google has just updated its analytics portfolio, releasing a new tool called Autotrack for analytics.js which will give developers some easy ways to track data. Since the first iteration of Google Analytics was released, the web has changed a lot.
The original design of Google Analytics was based around the intention of tracking people as they moved from one ‘whole page’ to another. Today, there are a lot of websites that use more sophisticated designs, and the user experience doesn’t always revolve around tracking full page loads. Google Analytics was already capable of tracking those more sophisticated interactions, but it hasn’t really made that clear, and a lot of developers have not taken the time to learn those new features. For this reason, Google has released a new, easier-to-use solution which solves most of the issues developers are facing without requiring them to spend a lot of time learning what is going on under the hood.
New Convenient Features
The new features include features for tracking URL changes for single-page web applications, forms, declarative events, outbound links, and media queries. Anyone can make use of the Autotrack feature, but the new library has been optimised for sites that are not currently customising their analytics implementation. If you have already gone to the trouble of customising your analytics implementation, then you might already be using those features, and there is no need to try to tack Autotrack.js on top of your existing custom implementation - unless, of course, you are planning on making extensive changes to your website.
Autotrack is open source. Developers are welcome to provide feedback and make change requests, or even use it as a starting point for a more complex analytics solution. The goal is to take advantage of as many of Google’s default features as possible without requiring a lot of complex manual implementation. Developers have a foundation for tracking data that is relevant to the modern web, and from there they can get their analytics up to speed and see what users are really doing on their websites.
There are millions of webmasters using Google Analytics, but few actually take advantage of more than some basic goals and conversion tracking. For mobile applications and complex web applications, these new features will be a huge time saver and will make it possible for web developers to truly take advantage of the power of analytics.