Tag Archives: Google Analytics

Ego: iPhone Statistics Dashboard

Want an easy, at-a-glance dashboard for monitoring basic website statistics from your iPhone? Ego fits the description, if you don’t mind the $1.99 price tag.

The app will aggregate statistics from Google Analytics, Feedburner, Mint, Ember, Twitter, Vimeo, Tumblr and Squarespace. You can even have multiple accounts from each service active.

The UI is great. It’s one of the best things about the app.

Ego won’t give you fancy in-depth information like bounce rates or the percentage of viewers who use Firefox; it just shows you the most important figures in one accessible place.

Google to Offer Users a Way to Opt-Out of Google Analytics Tracking?

A somewhat vague post on TechCrunch, linking to a Google blog posting of equal nebulousness, suggests that Google will soon be releasing a browser plugin to enable users to opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics.

Over the past year, we have been exploring ways to offer users more choice on how their data is collected by Google Analytics. We concluded that the best approach would be to develop a global browser based plug-in to allow users to opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics. Our engineers are now hard at work finalizing and testing this opt-out functionality. We look forward to make it globally available to our users in the coming weeks.

Speaking as someone who operates several websites: what? Does this mean tinfoil hat-wearing users will be able to opt-out of whatever habit-tracking information Google may collect for their own purposes, or does this mean they will be releasing a product that cripples their popular website statistics package?

Anyone running a website needs to know how much traffic they get, what the most common screen resolutions used are, what browsers visitors primarily use to access the site, and who’s linking in. Without that basic information, that poses absolutely no privacy threat, you’re flying blind. I assume that Google wouldn’t be stupid enough to build and promote a browser extension that could render their own statistics service useless?

I have no problem with people being able to opt-out of any questionable behavior tracking (i.e. following users from site to site) that Google may be doing behind the scenes, but I don’t want Google Analytics to become absolutely useless. I may be overreacting, but the Google bloggers certainly could have been more clear.

Google Analytics API Launched

Google has launched an API for Google Analytics. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s a fairly large XML API (with OAuth and basic HTTP authentication support) that allows you to programmatically gain read-only access to virtually any data that the main Google Analytics site can display.

The API will allow developers to extend Google Analytics in new and creative ways that benefit developers, organizations and end users. Large organizations and agencies now have a standardized platform for integrating Analytics data with their own business data. Developers can integrate Google Analytics into their existing products and create standalone applications that they sell. Users could see snapshots of their Analytics data in developer created dashboards and gadgets.

It looks a bit technical, and I haven’t had a lot of time to look at it yet, but you can read all of the documentation over at the Google Code page. There are no hard API limits, like with the Twitter API, but Google reserves the right to block requests if they are excessive, as is typical.

Hopefully we will be seeing some new desktop/iPhone/etc applications for keeping up with our statistics.

Traffic Sources: Where Are Your Visitors Coming From?

Check your blog’s statistics. Where are your visitors coming from? Are they mainly typing-in your blog’s URL, coming from search engine results pages (SERPs), or are they being referred to you from other sites?

Google Analytics puts an overview of this information on their dashboard, and offers more detailed data on a separate page.

The Traffic Sources chart on the Analytics Dashboard provides some valuable insight on your readers, and how they view your blog.

What do the numbers mean?

  • Referring Sites, er, refers to how many unique visitors came from other sites. E.g. blogs linking to you, traffic from social bookmarking sites.
  • Search Engines – the traffic coming from SERPs.
  • Direct Traffic – People who manually typed your domain in.

Direct Traffic is mainly composed of the people who visit your site frequently. This includes RSS subscribers manually visiting your sites, as well as links clicked from desktop RSS aggregators.

Referring Sites means “pretty much anything coming from another domain.” This includes social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Digg, links clicked from web-based RSS aggregators, and links from other blogs.

Optimally, you want to have a significant amount of direct traffic, signifying loyal readers, plenty of referrals, and some steady traffic from search engines. The ratios between the percentages depends on many factors, such as your niche. If there are a lot of blogs in your niche, you may have a lot of referrals. The same goes for if your site is popular among the StumbleUpon and Digg crowd. Smaller niches may have more traffic from search engines than referrals.

How are your blog’s traffic sources proportioned?

Little Known (and Insanely Useful) Google Analytics Tip

Google Analytics is one of the most popular, and most comprehensive, web statistics services. It’s not the most user-friendly site in the world though. I’ve spent plenty of time digging around in its interface, and I’ve found a killer feature that should really be highlighted a bit more.

Okay, you start out on an overview page like the “Top Content” page. Going with the example I mentioned (the Top Content) you then click on one of the entries. Once you land on the stats page for the individual blog post, take a look at the little dropdown menu marked “Segment.”

By using the Segment dropdown, you can pull-up pretty much any data you could ever want about the page. Which sites are referring all those visitors? Just choose the “Source” option from the menu. What browser do they use? The Segment dropdown saves the day again.

You’d be surprised how many people don’t know this option exists. It’s, in my opinion, one of Google Analytics’ most useful features.