Tag Archives: API

The 3 things that I wish Google Analytics could do

Cant-Do-ThatFor the past 5+ years, Google Analytics has been my go-to web analytics tool. While it isn’t as robust as Omniture or WebTrends, the pricing model (Free!) and easy installation & simple configuration processes have resulted in widespread adoption. According to the technology adoption and trends tool BuiltWith, Google Analytics is used by more than 44% of the top 1 Million website. In comparison, Omniture is used on only 1.35% of the top 1 Million websites.

I’ve been spending significant time with Google Analytics over the past few months and I seem to be running into more limitations each and every day. Here are the 3 things that I would expect to be able to do with Google Analytics (but I can’t):

  1. Advanced segmentation isn’t really advanced. After I wrote my post about about the robustness of advanced segmentation, a colleague asked me to help her with creating a report on user behavior using internal and external visitor segments. Knowing that I’ve set up Views where I’ve excluded traffic using an internal IP address, I began searching for the “Filter by IP” field but could not locate it under any of the available options. Once I realized that this was not possible, I resolved to creating the 6 essential Views that we set up with all client accounts so that she could report on this behavior in the future.
  2. Custom Dashboards aren’t really customizable. I met with another colleague before the Thanksgiving holiday break to discuss the buildout of a custom dashboard. He sought my help with creating one since I had built a custom dashboard for my blog. We attempted to create a basic widget that displayed on a daily basis the total visitors vs. new visitors vs. returning visitors — a graph that a marketer would commonly look at. While the visitor metric could be added to the graph, we couldn’t add the visitor type dimension. To work around this limitation, we added the % new visitor metric. Furthermore, we could only add a single metric!
  3. API’s aren’t really open. I add an annotation every time that I publish a new post on this blog. Since my blog posts get automatically pushed to social media networks when they are published, I began investigating whether I automate the process and cut the manual step of adding these annotations. I looked into the Google Analytics API’s and while Google has multiple API’s — API’s for data collection, account management, and data reporting — none could be used to create annotations on the fly.

Google does have a support forum where new features can be requested so I posted my suggestion for automating annotations. While the features that I want are not currently available in either the standard or enterprise version, I’ve noted that Google has invested significantly in the platform this year. I fully expect the product development team to continue to release more valuable functionality in mid to late 2014.

What features do you think are missing in Google Analytics?

Checking in at Facebook Places via SCVNGR, Yelp results in data duplication

Facebook Places IconWhen Facebook announced check-in service Places almost two weeks ago, they also extended the Graph API to allow developers to access check-in data. The API has severe limitations: user could only check-in only via Facebook and check-in data included only people within your network (eg: friends and friends of friends). However, Facebook partners such as FourSquare, Gowalla and others were given priority access to integrate with this new service. As part of their access, they were allowed to enable user check-in via their applications. And as of last week, SCVNGR and Yelp were rolled out this check-in capability.

I tested out the check-in process via both SCVNGR and Yelp on the iPhone.
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