By Joe Whitehead

We take a look at the latest Analytics Intelligence features to be released: Ask a Question and Automated Insights.

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Analytics Intelligence

Analytics Intelligence is the umbrella term for a set of features in Google Analytics that utilise machine learning to help you better understand and act on your data. Analytics Intelligence includes existing features we’ve covered like Smart Lists, Smart Goals and Session Quality.

But the latest ‘Ask a Question’ and ‘Automated Insight’ features could be the most ambitious applications of machine learning within Google Analytics yet. If you open up any of the standard Google Analytics reports, you’ll now find this humble ‘Intelligence’ icon in the toolbar.

Analytics Intelligence

A click on this icon will open up the Analytics Intelligence side panel. Here you will have access to the two new desktop features of Analytics Intelligence, ‘Ask a Question’ and ‘Automated Insights’. So what do they do?

Ask a Question

Using the power of Natural Language Processing, Analytics Intelligence provides an easy interface to ask questions of your data. No longer does a user need an encyclopedic knowledge of the Google Analytics reports to find what they’re looking for, they can simply ask GA what they need to know and the relevant data will be surfaced.

Ask a question report

As you’d expect, Ask a Question understands all standard GA dimensions and metrics. But it also picks up on the quirky naming conventions that are unique to your account. I.e. it knows about all those Custom Dimensions and Event Labels you’re using.

Here at Merkle | Periscopix we’re capturing ‘Blog Category’ as a custom dimension within our GA account. So when we ask “What blog categories drive traffic?”, Ask a Question knows exactly what we mean and surfaces the correct data for us:

Ask a question using custom dimensions

Due to the extensive use of Natural Language Processing, the Ask a Question feature is only available for English language users at present.

Automated Insights

The other main feature of Analytics Intelligence is the Insights feature. Using advanced pattern recognition, Analytics Intelligence will look through all your data to surface any trends, patterns or changes that might be hidden deep within GA reports.

Automated insights

Within each of these insights, Analytics Intelligence will surface relevant data and provide a recommended course of action. These actions can be anything from: 

'To learn more, create a Segment with sessions that include: Device Category: mobile’ (From the insight: Your site performs below average on mobile). 


‘Consider including these landing pages in your AdWords campaign strategy’ 
(From the insight: Some high performing organic landing pages are not backed by AdWords campaigns).

Given the power of the feature, it’s only a matter of time that an Automated Insight is surfaced that is truly fantastic, a unique and original take on your data. You love it, but you don’t want to forget it. Well, you have the ability to save this Insight for later!

Save insights

Saving this insight will pin this query to the Insights bar. So whenever you open Analytics Intelligence this question will be waiting for you to ask again. Your saved insights will be linked to your account, and so will not be visible to any other users who have access to the GA property.

Saved insight in Google Analytics

Machine learning isn’t the future

It’s happening now! Let Google take the arduous burden of parsing through reports, so you can focus on what really matters: actioning data and using superior insight to make informed decisions to better your organisation. You don’t even have to tell anyone how much Analytics Intelligence helped, that can be our secret.

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