Google announced last week some very intriguing updates to the Google Analytics mobile app, notably the automated assistant.
The stated aim here is to allow business owners to “see in 5 minutes what might have taken hours to discover previously” by identifying trends across the thousands of available metrics. Using techniques such as anomaly detection across a vast data set, reporting insights are surfaced that may have otherwise gone undetected.
There are options to pin, share or like the insights provided, and all of this information is used to influence future recommendations. The automated assistant is only available on the Google Analytics mobile app for now, but it will be available on desktop within the near future too.
These are changes designed to position Google Analytics as a source of information that directly shapes strategies, rather than a tool that reports on the efficacy of strategies, or one that requires an intermediary to translate its data into something meaningful.
This is a subtle but telling shift, and one that is indicative of where we can expect Google to move its Analytics product suite in future. “More insights, less data”, as Google’s Bahak Pahavlan put it recently.
The benefits to analysts and business owners alike are clear, but what does it mean for agencies and the way we report on client performance?
First of all, this will serve as an enhancement to – rather than a replacement of – our reporting responsibilities.
Context is critical and this is not something that an automated assistant will pick up on instantaneously. However, with Google’s machine learning capabilities at its heart, we can expect this feature to increase in usefulness over time. As such, we should use it to its full potential, as a fluid source of information that can feed into longer-term strategies. Equally, we should expect to take some of the recommendations with a pinch of salt, and the early insights for our client accounts have certainly been mixed.
Nonetheless, as a barometer of where our industry is headed, this update is particularly pertinent. Automation and machine learning will continue to shake up the industry and it is important for us to view this as an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of our work.