BrightHaus Digital Marketing Agency

Google Analytics Update: Active Users, Benchmarking & Scroll Tracking

October 3, 2016

While the news of Alphabet has been the center of headlines about Google, the company has also been quietly and diligently improving Analytics. By building on the foundation of three different reports, Google continues to serve up quality insights for marketers and site owners. Here is the latest and greatest:

Active User Updates

 Active Users in Google Analytics

What It Is

Although this section still has the “Beta” designation next to it, I recommend giving it a test drive. Rather than toying around with date ranges, the Active Users reports shows how many unique users have visited the site within the set number of days.

What It Means

As a webmaster, you can use this information to identify peaks and dips in unique visitors. Do the numbers match up with your expectations with recent marketing initiatives? Think of this as a deeper look into the Users metric on the Overview.

Benchmarking Improvements

 Benchmarking in Google Analytics

What It Is

The Benchmarking section has long intrigued me. While Analytics typically only provides information about your site, this is a chance to see how you match up to competitors. Select the Industry that best matches your site, assign your Country / Region, choose your daily session range, and see how you match up with thousands of other sites. The report provides Acquisition information, user engagement metrics, and device overview to name a few fields.

What It Means

This is a fantastic opportunity to see where you have a leg up on competitors or vice versa. Not leveraging paid search but many competitors are? It might be time to consider giving that channel attention. If you are a global brand, the Location breakdown is great, but I am especially fond of the Devices section. With mobile devices more important than ever, I highly recommend checking out this section and using this information to identify pain points with your user experience.


Scroll Tracking

What It Is

Let’s be frank: Analytics has its limitations, particularly when it comes to analyzing how individual users interact and engage with your site. Dozens of companies have sprung up to fill in the gaps by offering heat mapping, cart abandonment marketing, and more, but Google is working to take back some of that market while maintaining its promise to keep data anonymous.

What It Means

When Enhanced Ecommerce came out last year and I first started playing around with it, I was overwhelmed by the amount of data. Rather than just giving bare metrics, Google opened up the floodgates a little and gave us the ability to see how users engaged with the site, allowing us to hypothesize the why. Scroll Tracking is the next step, especially for sites that have products below the fold, whether on the home page or at the category level. Without Scroll Tracking, every product on a page receives an impression, even if it is buried at the bottom of a page of 100 items. With Scroll Tracking, however, products only receive impressions when it appears on screen. This will give you correct data and ensure your conversion optimization strategy is grounded in accurate data.


As the most popular tool to track web traffic, Google Analytics is on every website that has at least a half-sane webmaster on the job (sorry, Adobe Analytics fanatics). Fortunately for marketers, Google continues to build the tool and provide us with valuable information (except that whole “Not Found” incident – we’re still angry about that). The three sections are just some of the many improvements made this year and improvements to come.


Click here to see the release notes for July 13, Active Users information, Benchmarking information, and a walkthrough for setting up scroll tracking.