Google Analytics tests out a new feature: Weighted Sort.
Ahhhh. 3 day weekends — a chance to finally relax, get away from the computer for a couple of days and let the brain swelling go down.
Too bad the heartless bastards at Google had to go and ruin it for me by sneaking a brand new feature into their online Analytics interface, once again.
To be fair, I shouldn’t be blaming the hard working engineers, I should blame myself for even getting near the computer on my day off, but what can I say? I, like many of you — am a web analytics addict.
Maybe someday I’ll form a group where we can all meet, drink coffee, smoke, and pop no-doze all night while discussing the awesomeness of pivot charts, keyword segmentation and setting up bullet graphs for KPI reports.
But not today. Today we discuss the NEW GA feature: Weighted Sort.
What is Weighted Sort?
Using Google’s own words:
Weighted sort weights the results by the associated column, showing you the most actionable rows first.
Sounds interesting, if not overly confusing. I’ll simplify that explanation with an example, since I’m a visual learner.
What we have here is your typical Traffic Sources >Referring Sites report. This is your default view, sorted by number of visits. Most of you slackers probably won’t have taken the time to add some cost values so you may or may not see any revenue in that last column. For this example, however, it really doesn’t matter.
For many of our clients, this view may be more than adequate, especially if referring sites only make up a small percentage (20-30%) of your total visits, as you can pretty easily scan through a couple dozen sites on one page, and see who’s performing without much problem.
But what if you want to analyze Goal performance for a bigger sampling, say hundreds of referring sites? You might start by clicking on the Goal Conversion Rate column to sort by that dimension, perhaps?
Oh, that’s worthless. If you’re like me, you might try selecting the comparison or performance graphing options to view the data in a different way, but you’ll find out that no matter what you do — you can’t trick this report into showing you the data in a multi-column sort view. At this point, you’d probably shrug, export the data to csv and open up excel, wouldn’t you? Don’t do it.
Depending on whether or not Google has activated this nifty little feature in YOUR analytics account, you may be introduced to the ‘weighted sort’ option at this point. Let me show you what it does.
After clicking to sort by the Goal Conversion Rate column, this little bracket appeared, begging me to click its’ empty check box…so of course I did and this is what I got. You might still be confused so I’ll explain.
This solves the issue of drudging through insignificant data to find the little gems that actually mean something. For example, if you ran this on your keyword report, you’d no doubt find thousands of keyword phrases that converted, or bounced, etc…but you can’t effectively sort by goal conversion rate, or bounce rate, AND by total number of visits. It’s always been one or the other. Until now.
Here’s another example, from a different type of report.
This may give you a better idea of usage. When combined with additional metrics, like city…
you can now drill down into the best performing keywords for each city, by number of visits and bounce/ exit rate, or goal conversion rate. Without ever leaving the browser. sweeet.
It ain’t perfect.
As much as I like this feature, it does seem to have some bugs. If you look at the last screengrab above, you’ll see ‘vets in brandon fl’ has 31 visits, with 83.87% being new visits. So why does it appear lower than ‘veterinarian’ – which only has 19 visits – and an 89.47% new visit ratio? Are the UNIQUE visits actually lower? It’s possible, but then that would require us to do some custom reporting…we could also get some of this data by digging into the advanced filters at the bottom of the page, but then we’re starting to get away from the ‘click and quickly analyze’ point of all this, aren’t we?
Admittedly, I only spent a half hour or so messing around with this, but I thought I’d give you all a little heads-up as to what you should keep a look out for.
If you’re using this currently, or have any other great analytics reporting tips or tricks, let me know in the comments!