Google is testing a new service: "Google Analytics". If you already use Ad Words, then this additional reporting can be useful for determining which words are getting you the best results. More than a hit counter, the product allows you to monitor four items to help you understand your marketing successes and failures.
- Campaign tracking variables: These are URL elements you can use in web advertisements, e-mails, etc. These codes allow you to track the number of users arriving from different marketing efforts. Most marketing people have figured out how to use different landing pages or similar variables to track marketing responses, but these are particularly useful when combined with the other Analytics features.
- Goals: Pages that you want the visitor to reach. For an e-commerce site, this would be the confirmation after a successful purchase. For a blog, it might be the "signup for an account" page.
- Funnels: A chain of pages that a user would traverse to reach a goal. This will allow you to see the "drop off" rate at different parts of the process. How many users balk at using the checkout confirmation screen, the shipping screen, the credit card page, etc. By understanding where you lose people, you can make adjustments to improve that step.
- Filters: Allows for the exclusion of various elements from the reports (such as your companies IP range, to avoid inflation from internal user views).
This is information that can be gleaned from traditional tools, but the slick implementation really shines due to the goals and funnels implementation. These two tools give a simpler and yet more detailed explanation of user flow than I have seen before, and it is free.