Exclusive: Major Change Made to Google Analytics – Dashboard Functionality Change

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It looks like a major change to the Google Analytics dashboard and functionality is being rolled out.

The screen grabs below show a change from the traditional ‘traffic sources’ panel to a new one called ‘acquisitions’.

While this may not seem that significant on it’s own, a deeper dive shows the true extent of the change with traffic source reporting taking on a very different look.

The first screen grab is a view of the new ‘overview’ section which provides an at-a-glance view of the three primary traffic source categories and the behaviour associated with each.

google analytics acquistion

The second one relates to the ‘channels’ section which allows for a deeper dig into the data behind each channel grouping.

Google traffic sources now acquisitions

The third one is the deeper dig into the ‘direct’ channel category to give you an idea of the reporting on that level.

direct search data

Sadly, when you click through to the organic results section, ‘not provided’ still rules the roost.  However, this change might be part of the broader evolution away from making oragnic search results the major focus of the dashboard.

Have you spotted the change?

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  • Bob

    Interesting article, can you expand your discussion relating to organic acquisitions? What examples create organic search results? Can you also expand on the definitions of each search category for those who might not fully understand these terms? thanks

  • Reg Charie

    IMO Google is “developing” itself further and further away from what is needed for top marketing metrics.

    Has there been an official notice of the changes?
    I have not seen an y.

    It seems each time I go to use their metrics I have to relearn the system.
    I just don’t have time for this.
    I will stick with AwStats.

  • John

    I hope they will do something about the organic search section “not provided”

  • Sunil Chadha


    I am not able to see any changing in Google analytics I think all function is old.

  • Ankita

    Here one more change “Search” converts in “Keywords”.

  • Ashley

    What’s strange is that I’ve had this in my Google Analytics for months and so have many people I work with. However, there were still a few with the tab labelled ‘traffic sources’.

    I feel they’ve been slowly releasing it out to users for months.

  • Steven Macdonald

    I’m seeing the changes, Adam but I’m unable to compare year on year data (date range: 8 Sep 2013 – 8 Oct 2013 compared to 8 Sep 2012 – 8 Oct 2012 ).

    A message is shown under the date that says “Channel data is not available prior to July 25, 2013. Select an alternative dimension”

    Are you able to compare past data?

    • Brian Donohue

      Hey Steven,

      I’m seeing that message too. If you go to All Traffic and change the primary dimension to the Medium of your choosing (i.e. Organic) you can still compare year over year data.


    • Bill Bean

      I’m seeing the same thing. Looking for a way to compare data year over year. I’m hoping I’m simply overlooking an obvious way to do it. If this functionality is gone, that would be quite severe.

      • Bill Bean

        Found what I wanted. Only mildly obvious. Looking in the “All Traffic” section I got what I wanted. The limitation is, apparently, only with the new “Channels” feature.

    • Amber

      Hi Steven,

      Channels will not display the past data unfortunately. As a workaround you have to select the “All Traffic” tab and filter the results by entering which source (organic, referral, or direct) you wish to compare into the search box.

      Hope that helps you!

    • Tommy Landry

      I am seeing the same thing – nothing under Organic before 7/25/13. You can safely assume that is when Hummingbird actually started to roll out. What a mess for those of us who manage reporting! No history to compare to. Big problem from a business perspective.

  • Seda Miran

    Adam, I can see the changes and in addition to ‘Organic, Referral, Social’ channels I can see ‘Not Set’ channel as well. When i click on it, it gives me google.ca, google.co.za, etc.. Any ideas what this supposed to mean?

    @Steven: I just tried compare the data, it worked ok.

  • Icahbanjarmasin

    Hi Adam..thank you very much keep in touch from INDONESIA.

  • Addam Hassan

    Hi Adam, I am seeing this dashboard too. Not sure quite what to make of it, but it does seem like Google are trying to direct us to look at traffic from a more holistic view. With the move to engage a fully (not provided) strategy this in some way may help open the average user’s eyes and identify other revenue an traffic streams (while at the same time pointing our paid channels).

  • DigitalPugs Media

    Good to see that Google Analytic has added new Functionality to clear the picture.


  • Santosh Rajan

    Thanks for the update Adam.
    I am not able to see the changes yet in my account either.

    However, what is new is the Analytics Education section at the Top.
    As with other Google Roll-outs, I suspect that Google app users get the updates later.

    Looking forward to reading more from you.

  • Impressora Térmica

    Google Analytics is the best way to know your work and clients.

    Thank you

  • Jason Cotterill

    I must admit I quite like the changes they’ve made to Analytics. I really like the deeper look into each channel grouping. It’s a shame that ‘not provided’ is there but I hope it really is just the start of an evolutions. Thanks for the post.


  • Brad Marcus

    Good catch. I’m still seeing the old interface, but it’s only a matter of time. ‘(not provided)’ is the keyword of choice and it’s here to stay. Google’s been moving their algorithm focus away from keyword for a while and towards a more holistic webpage strategy. How many entrance pages your site has is now the new measuring stick.

  • Clayton Nichols

    I particulary enjoy that they put Organic underneath AdWords in the keyword section. No no no, they’re not pushing the use of their money printing service at all. It’s all about Organic Search security.

  • Ian Dixon

    It totally confused me because I am sat looking and thinking ‘where have my reports gone?’
    I’ve seen a few changes in the past few days or even weeks. Last night did my head in for a while but I eventually figured out where they had hidden the main ones that I use

  • Jonathan

    Steve – I’m seeing exactly the same. Can’t view channel data pre. 25th July with exactly the same error message.

  • Courtney Lear

    I’m having the same issue as Steven. Is there a work around to compare year over year data?

  • Matt Langan

    Yeah – I am seeing the change too….also how do I see the top referrals and top content? Those are the two things that matter most to my clients. And, I totally agree with Reg – this is a move that is not good for content marketers like myself. It overly complicates things…or perhaps I just have a hard time with change. 😉

    Any insights would be greatly appreciated! Thanks all!

  • Kyle Eggleston

    I absolutely HATE this change. Not only did Google fail to announce this change effectively, but they literally changed the way traffic is categorized within the channels. Referral traffic is no longer what is was… ‘Social’, ‘Other’, ‘Email’ are now separate channels. This creates a huge problem for people reporting traffic every month to clients.

    They need to give us the option to switch back.


  • GJ

    I am seeing this new section, but I’m not sure I like it. I used to be able to see the source page of referrals. I get a lot of Reddit traffic, and it was helpful to see from which subreddit the traffic originated from. I can’t find that now.

    • GJ

      To clarify, I am unable to see how to access Referral Path. Has anyone else figured this out?

  • Adam Vincenzini

    Hi all

    Sorry I haven’t been able to respond to your comments individually – I’m based in Australia and the time difference with the rest of the world can make things hard sometimes!!

    Google finally released an official statement about the update a few hours ago which should answer some of your questions:



  • Peter Topping

    I get the creepy feeling that Google is seeking to avoid accountability as every time the digital marketing trade get good using the tools they seem to change things. We know that there is no mystery in digital marketing but I feel they are seeking to add a layer of smoke and mirrors to keep the mystic a live, very “Mad Men” . Seems like Google would like only “the professionals” to have the arcane knowledge to the secret source. I am a bit over it.

  • Adam Vincenzini


    Very good point.

    Google is doing a lot of things to hold back data unless it is linked to a ‘paid for’ service e.g. AdWords

    It is similar to the revenue-focused changes being made by Facebook and Twitter.

    This trend is only set to continue / increase in my opinion.


    • Kyle

      Unfortunately I agree.

      It really worries me to see Google becoming more secretive and less open… that’s not usually their philosophy. Their priorities sure have changed.