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Google released its first analytics app for iOS at the end of July, which follows on from the release of a new Android version in June.

As someone who has been pinching and zooming to view our site's stats on a mobile browser, the new mobile app is more than welcome.

So how well does it work? And how does it compare to the desktop features? 

Overview of features

The home screen contains a useful real-time overview of current site users. 

Scrolling down, you'll see summaries of acquisition, behaviour and conversions, all well presented and easy to digest. 

 

Clicking on each of these options takes you to more details for each group. 

Each report is made of cards, and clicking on each card will take you to more detailed information. 

For example, the behaviour menu will provide a quick overview of various metrics, from which you can add segments to slice and dice the data, though previously created custom segments are unavailable to use here. 

 

Date ranges can be set by clicking on the date range at the top of each page, and users can select a pre-defined time period or a custom range. 

 

Interesting features

I like this heat map of pageviews, something which isn't available on the main version of Google Analytics.

It's pretty useful, as it allows you to instantly identify the times and days of the week in which your site is most popular, so you can find the best time to promote a piece of content or product. 

Also, when used in conjunction with segments, it can provide some excellent insight. Here, we can see the days and times when most conversions are happening. 

 

Issues and missing features

The app is slow to load and update at times, which makes it more frustrating to use, so these coloured circles will become very familiar to users of the app. 

I used this on a good broadband connection, so I wonder how well it will perform with the average mobile internet signal. 

 

In addition, while you can view general stats as on desktop, you can't slice and dice the data so effectively on mobile. 

For example, I can't add terms to a search box to slice up the data by different sections of the site. 

Other omissions: 

  • Previously created custom reports, dashboards and segments are unavailable to use via the app, which makes it less useful for me. 
  • Acquisition channels cannot be viewed within that section of the app, and campaign data is not available. 
  • The terminology used in the app doesn't match that which was recently introduced on the desktop version of GA. So 'visits' should be 'sessions' and 'unique visitors' should be 'users'. 

In summary

As a quick go-to for an overview of stats, the new Google Analytics app is a welcome addition, as it saves time and effort compared to using the full version on mobile. 

The visuals are great, features like the pageviews heat map are very useful, and the app is easy to use. 

However, the slow loading, and lack of features like custom reports and dashboards make it that little less useful for me. 

What do you think? A useful app or too limited compared to the full version? Let me know below...

Graham Charlton

Published 19 August, 2014 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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