Say ”Privet!” (”Hello!”) to Yandex.Metrika 2.0

On July 21, Yandex released the public beta of the next 2.0 version of its popular web-analytics system called Yandex.Metrika. It now has not only a fully-updated nice and slick interface, (although some people mentioned that it is somewhat Google Analytics inspired), but it also includes some other features: segmentation, in-place customization of any report and a new API (that is compatible with Google Analytics Core Reporting API). Despite the aforementioned changes, project manager Arthur Suilin was quick to point out that, "there are no new principal features because the goal was to transfer current functions from Metrika-1."

What’s new in Yandex.Metrika 2.0

I first heard about Metrika 2.0 during the iMetrics’ 2013 (Russian web-analytics conference) which was where it was announced. I was also glad to hear, that the segmentation would be included amongst the other improvements. 

Even though many of the new features will not impress anybody working seriously with Google Analytics, and I am not talking about hard-core Analytics users, but now that the public beta has been released and I do see significant growth of the Yandex.Metrika 2.0 when compared to the old version.

Let’s return to what’s new and what I like the most:

  • Finally, there is an ability to create segments, although it is not as straight forward as it is in Google Analytics. But, the ability to add lists of parameters, for example, a list of campaign numbers for analysis, makes it shine.

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  • Comparison of time intervals (and other segments as well) could have also been done although it is a shame that it wasn’t a feature until the release of version 2.0.
  • Grouping (dimensions in any reports) – this is something that can be done in Google Analytics via ”Customize” button. And now in Yandex.Metrika 2.0 dimensions may be added, changed and rearranged directly in any report too. Pure fun!
  • Overall interface and usability improvements. Although a lot of people has started whining nostalgically about the simplicity of the old interface, personally I found the new interface to be more usable and flexible which is exactly why I like it so much.

The 3 main reasons to use Yandex.Metrika and dealing with the loss of keywords data. 

In my opinion, there is an opportunity that Yandex.Metrika will catch the attention of professional users, (myself included); who until recently, used Yandex.Metrika exclusively for these 3 main reasons (the 4-th may be «Targeting Call» add-in, that is the native Yandex call-tracking solution. This is, however, out of the scope of this post and available only for advertisers in selected cities in Russia):

  • Creating remarketing lists for use in PPC advertising on Yandex.Direct and on display advertising on Yandex.BaYan.
  • A beautiful, free and built-in tool called WebVisor (a former start-up in the past that was acquired by Yandex in 2010 and later integrated into Yandex.Metrika), which is basically a mouse-tracking analytics tool. Think of it as free MouseFlow or ClickTale «Lite».
  • Getting all search terms for PPC traffic from Yandex.Direct and for organic traffic from Yandex (something you cannot do anymore in Google Analytics).

And the last one requires more explanation as Yandex announced earlier this year, that it will soon start to encrypt all referrer data making it inaccessible for 3-rd party systems and tools. Yandex here has concerns about protecting users’ privacy and has followed the trend that was started by Google last year. What this means is that all keyword data from Yandex will be fully accessible only through Yandex own tools: Yandex.Metrika and Yandex.Webmaster. In the following image you can see the growth of the amount of (not set) keywords for organic traffic from Yandex on a sample site.

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In other words, that now you will be able to find search terms from paid and organic search traffic from Yandex only in Yandex.Metrika. As a result, this will force internet marketers in Russia to move to Yandex.Metrika as their primarily tool for analysis of Yandex campaigns and organic traffic from Yandex. 

And if you have already had some visitors from Yandex or done some PPC advertising in Yandex, but haven’t installed Yandex.Metrika yet, then stop reading and install it right now! 

What will come to Yandex.Metrika 2.0 next.

The Yandex.Metrika project manager was kind enough to participate in a discussion in the PPC professionals community on Facebook, listening to feedback and offering suggestions. 

In those discussions, he said that WebWisor, site performance and other reports will be added shortly and he suggested to continue to use both old and new versions for now in order to have access to those reports. He also mentioned that more detailed data regarding Yandex Direct campaigns (including expenditures) will be added later. 

When all of these features will be added to Metrika 2.0, then the access to the old Metrika will be closed. Therefore, it’s better to become familiar with it now, so that it will become very easy for almost anyone familiar with web-analytics basics as well as those who have experience with any other analytics tool.

Simplicity is the key feature.

And regarding lack of Yandex.Metrika features, unfortunately, there is neither advanced multichannel attribution (first and last click attribution at the time of writing), nor custom dimensions as in Universal Analytics. No changes to e-commerce reports, which are more limited and poor compared to Google Analytics. Also, the curren beta of Yandex Metrika 2.0 is available only in the Russian language.

And, of course, it is now impossible to catch up to the complicated feature set of Universal Analytics but that is not the goal for Yandex, as it is trying to make Yandex.Metrika friendlier to a broader audience (definitely not for Digital Analytics geeks only) and therefore it has to have a clear focus on an «easy-to-use yet flexible» product. The fewer unnecessary options – the better. I have to agree, that sometimes that «simplicity» is attracting me and keeps me using Yandex.Metrika from time to time (when I don’t need the extra features of Google Analytics). 

The final thoughts.

To sum up, the most fascinating thing to me is that Yandex finally did it. As Yandex.Metrika over the last few months and even years, has looked more and more outdated in comparison to Google Analytics (and all the new and outstanding features and possibilities of UniversalAnalytics). But now as the new platform has finally been released, the new features will appear more rapidly, making it more and more applicable to real-life web-analytics tasks. Let’s see how it goes.

If you want to know more about Yandex.Metrika or you think it could be of benefit to your business, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my colleagues at Tulos.

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