In his latest post, Yongfook suggests that Google Analytics automatically detect peaks in all graphs and provide more detailed information about what caused the spike. This would be very cool. However, I don’t see it happening any time soon because it sounds extremely difficult to pull off and do well.
I’d like to offer an alternate feature proposal that is in some ways similar, but is much more achievable and may bring with it some of the same benefits.
I want to be able to apply names and perhaps other additional metadata to a certain dates. We can call those dates milestones.
I want to be able to say that on July 1st I added a cool new social feature to the site. That on August 12th I starting gzipping my js & css and improved download times.
I want to be able to say that on date X, event Y happened and have little markers for each milestone that I describe show up on the charts. Everyone already does this when generating charts for presentations, right? It’s how we associate actions with reactions. Let’s tie the metadata right to the data.
One of the major goals of good analytics software is to help us analyze the results of our actions to see if they are beneficial. We know what we’ve done, but after a while, we forget what we did when. This would help us to maintain a log of actions we’ve taken and see what the real-world results were over time.
I’d love to see the Google Analytics folks add this to their excellent site. My guess is that it’s relatively easy to implement. Oh, and it would be great if this could be imported/exported by some standard format (perhaps an RSS feed) so that we could create one milestone log and use it on all of the analytics tools out there.