Google releases series of Analytics updates and launches Analytics Academy

Google has made a large number of updates to its Analytics service and launched Analytics Academy, a free online courses that the firm says will help users "become an analytics expert in no time".

During this year's Google Analytics Summit in California, Paul Muret, Google VP of Engineering, announced a number of new features, with further set to be revealed over the course of this week.

The biggest update seems to be to audience reporting, which will now include demographic data, providing age, gender, and interest categories as dimensions in Google Analytics, allowing users to see what groups of people are buying their products or responding to marketing campaigns.

In a rundown of the announced updates on the Google Analytics blog, the team explains: "Find out who your site visitors are and gain a better understanding of who your most valuable (highest converting) audiences are so you can effectively reach your best prospects on the Google Display Network. Taking into account demographics and interests, you can efficiently target, bid, and optimise your creative to improve your campaign's performance."

Other key updates include a new acquisition report feature which will "provide a window on your users' Acquisition-Behavior-Conversion (ABC) cycle: how you acquire users, their behavior on your site after acquisition, and their conversion patterns", and Google Play integration with Mobile App Analytics which will provide "a holistic view of the Play acquisition funnel in one easy to understand report".

Auto-Event Tracking, a brand new function, means that Google Analytics can be told when a user has clicked a button or submitted a form without adding any custom JavaScript code to the page.

Meanwhile the new Analytics Academy service, means users will be able to get completely up to date with Google Analytics functions old and new through a free online course. The first course, Digital Analytics Fundamentals, is now open for registration and can be completed during a three-week window beginning 8 October.