12 Nov 2012

This Week’s Cool SEO Tool: Chartelligence

Chartelligence is a sweet Google Chrome extension that allows to get more insight from your Google Analytics graphs. Basically it overlays your traffic graph with whatever data you will set it to.

Here’s the quick video review:


Quick Tips:

  1. Install the Google Chrome extension and read a short instruction you will be provided with.
  2. Now, you should see a semi-transparent icon over-laying your graphs. Click it and select any pre-built layer for you.
  3. For example, you may chose US holidays. The data will overlay your graphs giving you a clear picture of how US holidays affected your traffic. Click any line to better see what it stands for.
  4. You can also create your own private layers and overlay your graph with your dates.
  5. Change time frame within Google Analytics (to see traffic change within 1, 3, 6 months to play more)

Q&A with Oren Solomianik, the Creator

OrenI reached out to the brain behind that cool idea and Oren was very happy to provide detailed answers to my questions:

Any plan for a FF version? When or why not?

Sure, a Firefox version is planned. I am guessing in the next month or so. I started out with a Chrome Extension because I think that most of my target crowd are the savvier type (analysts, webmasters, etc.) and I assumed Chrome was their browser of choice. It’s funny that you don’t even ask about IE. But actually in the long run, I see this also as a plugin for IE.

What gave you an idea of the tool?

I’ll give you the long version. The idea was building up in me gradually. As a long time Google Analytics user, I’ve often found myself looking at charts, realizing my metrics were unusual for some day, or taking a trend change, and then going elsewhere to find the answers. GA provided the essence, the “what” of my metrics, but to find out the “why” I had to work hard — a lot of guesswork and trying to validate assumptions.

And then came Google Panda, which demonstrated elegantly how my traffic is affected by a bunch of constant events that are not under my control, and I needed some way to track them along with my metrics. When analyzing my charts pre-Chartelligence, I had to memorize the Panda Updates dates, and keep an eye on whether or not there was a new update which I was not aware of.

The last straw was when I was looking at Google Webmaster Tools one day, and on the “Crawl Stats” page I saw that one day the chart of a site’s response time was cut by 90%! I asked myself “what the hell happened that day??! What made this drop happen, and how can I recreate it on other sites?”. I didn’t recall that I had done any changes to the site on this day. I was furious and embarrassed that I could not figure out the answer. I then said to myself, that if I’m feeling like that, others feel this way too, and I have an idea how to correlate real world events with charts.

From people testing it, did you get any unexpected / creative ideas of how it can work or when implemented?

I got some great feedback from marketing agencies that use this tool to visualize marketing campaigns effect for clients. I also got some other ideas, like a Safari extension, or making it work on other Analytics platforms such as Piwik.

What are your future plans for it?  Any new features you would be suggested so far?

My vision is to fix what I see as the flawed chart consumption of today. You get the “what” in a glimpse, why can’t you get the “why” as well? Everybody talks about “actionable insights”, but I haven’t seen those delivered yet anywhere. Chartelligence is a major step towards it, and it works right where you usually consume your charts – it’s not your usual dashboard service that makes you learn a completely new service and getting you locked in to it, just to realize you still can’t answer the “why”.

I see Chartelligence as a must have tool wherever you consume charts, and so the plans are to complete this vision. One of the major steps, which are already implemented when you use Chartelligence on Google Analytics, is the auto correlation feature (the “Amaze Me” button). You just click a button, and we analyze your chart to find important points, and then correlate events with these points. I intend to extend this ability to the general case of any chart, (and not just Google Analytics), and also improving the brains behind it to perform better correlations.