Monday, November 14, 2005

Google Analytics

Google just released their Google Analytics product to the public. It is a enterprise quality, fully featured analytics application, and... it's free. Well, there is small catch, it is only free for up to 5 million page views per month. Of course, if you are getting 5 million views a month, you can probably afford to pay for the service. This though is perfect for those smaller sites where an application like this is not within their budget. It's no surprise that their signup site was running very slow today, most likely being hammered by new accounts.

For those not familiar with web analytics applications, this summary should give you a good idea of what you get for $0.

Traffic Filters

Filter your traffic based on domain, IP range, and advanced regular expression matching. This is useful for filtering out your own traffic so that your reports are accurate.

Goal Tracking

Track a path that you want a user to take, Google Analytics will report on the conversion rate. Useful for tracking a sucessful cart checkout, and other predictable paths that you want the user to follow.

Track External Links

Track clicks to sites you link to. This is important if you are getting paid by a target site on a per click basis. Even if you aren't getting paid per click, it is good to see how your users are leaving your site.

Campaign Tracking

Add campaign codes in links that you send to users via email or links that you place on sites that you don't own. Google Analytics will track these campaigns so that you can get an idea as to how well they are performing.

Multiple Site Profiles

Set up multiple domains, and then set use different filters and campaigns for each.

Track Flash and JavaScript Events

This is useful if you want to track events that don't reload the page. For example you may want to not only track the page view, but also track that a user started playing a flash movie, and then track the number of users that watched the entire movie.

Track File Downloads

Track downloads like you would track a page view.

In short, it is a great service at a price that is unbeatable. I am wondering how the other players in this market are taking the news. In any case, I have added Google Analytics tags to three sites today, but unfortunately there is a 12 hour reporting delay, so I have not had a chance to take a look at the reporting tools yet. Tomorrow I'll see what the reports look like, but frankly I expect that they will be just as impressive as everything Google does.

See Also - Google Analytics: Report Overview

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7 comments:

ixone said...

Dear Robert,

I am looking for Robert Hanson, President and General Manager of the U.S. Levi's® brand. Are you the person I am looking for?

Thanks and kindest regards
Ixone Elosegui

Robert Hanson said...

Ha! I wish. It sounds like a nice cushy job.

Scott said...

Robert, your post says this -

"Track External Links
Track clicks to sites you link to. This is important if you are getting paid by a target site on a per click basis. Even if you aren't getting paid per click, it is good to see how your users are leaving your site."

Well I have a client that ONLY cares about banner click counts to external domains. How in the heck do I set that up? Oh...Could it be as easy as defining the external URL as a goal? I'll go try.

Wow I just tried that, and it accepted it. Might this really work? Guess I'll see later on...
If not, then how would it be done?

Assuming external url goals were tracked, have got any other ideas if there are more than 4 urls?

Robert Hanson said...

> If not, then how would it be done?

On this blog you may have seen the image for my book (GWT in Action) on the right nav bar. This is set up to use the external link tracking that I was referring to.

The link for the book looks something like this:

<a href="http://www.manning.com/..." onclick="urchinTracker('/outgoing/manning');">

The onclick for the link will get executed before the browser follows the link. The onclick code tells Google Analytics (GA) to add a hit for the URL specified.

In the GA admin you can go to Content Optimization > Navigational Analysis > All Navigation, then look up the URL.

The data that is displayed will show you what page the user was on when the clicked the link, and then if they come back to your site it will track the page they came back to.

It is pretty slick in that from the data I can see which blog entries push the most clicks to that link.

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert,

I am currently trying to tag a banner which has an external link to another page. Unfortunatley I am unable to use code provided by google as shown below.

a href="http://www.example.co.uk" onClick="javascript: pageTracker._trackPageview ('/outgoing/example.co.uk');"

because all the images and banners on the web site are in image place holders which does not allow me to edit the href tag.

Is there any other way I can tag the external links without using the above piece of code.

Regards
Bobby

Robert Hanson said...

> Is there any other way I can tag
> the external links without using
> the above piece of code.

No, not easily. One way that this could be done is to write some JS code that *alters* the image tag *after* it is displayed in the browser. The JS code would likely load all of the <a> tags in the page, find the right one, then add the onClick() handler.

One common use of runtime HTML alteration is to fix PNG images to work in IE6. The script below goes through each <img> and changes it to a <span> with some added CSS.

Robert Hanson said...

Oops, forgot the URL to the "fix PNG" example.

http://snipplr.com/view/1179/png-ie-fix/