Having recently taken Google Analytics onto the next level by transforming it into a real-time service, and then acquiring the social analytics start-up Socialgrapple to provide details of Twitter metrics, Google have now rolled out another set of improvements to their analytic service.
Many people have been hoping for more of a personalized experience from it for some time now and on Wednesday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Google responded to this by introducing Flow Visualization.
Inspired by the wall maps that were used to track Napoleon's troops as they made their way into Russia, charting their progress step by step, Flow Visualization lets you follow the progress of anyone who uses your website in exactly the same way.
It provides you with charts and graphs detailing precisely what they interacted with, and what they didn't, giving you invaluable information as to which parts of your site are working as well as those parts that aren't.
According to the Web Analytics blog, one of the most useful innovations is likely to prove the Backwards Tracking Visualization, which allows you to look at all your statistics retrospectively, as they happened. Previously, all you ever had were the bare facts about what had or hadn't happened. Now you can look back and see exactly how whatever it was took place, stage by stage.
Hopefully businesses and brands will be able to use all these tools to finally get a detailed picture of how visitors arrive at the site, what parts of the site they explore, and how they leave. The new features, specifically 'Visitor Flow' and 'Goal Flow', will be rolled out to accounts this week with other types of visual graphs being introduced over the coming months.