Google Analytics

Google Analytics is what I’ve been saying a search engine should have done years ago, provide hosted stats to any website that uses it. People love stats so this will get huge uptake, and probably provide Google really invaluable information. A year or so ago I hoped Technorati would do this for blogs, but they probably saw it as outside their core business. Interesting note: this is the first stat tracking javascript I’ve seen that validates as XHTML Strict. Good job, guys. (Most examples leave the language attribute.)

57 thoughts on “Google Analytics

  1. Some interesting points:

    http://urchin.com/ now redirects.

    You can have up to 50 profiles.

    You can customize almost everything with regular expresions and filters.

    You can run it on infinite subdomains, and set up a regex to track them individually in your reports.

  2. Dang. I’m drinkin’ the Google Kool-Aid pretty heavy these days, and they don’t help by constantly rolling out awesome crap like this.

    One day it’s all going to come crashing down — “it” being either Google itself or their “Do No Evil” motto — and we’re all going to be screwed. But until then, I don’t think I care enough to stop drinkin’. πŸ™‚

  3. Just heard the news, via a friend. Cool thing is if you have a gmail account you have an analytics account.

    What’s the best way of entering the tracking code to a WordPress installation?

  4. @ Ian: I just dropped it straight into my header.php in the place that the google page suggested.

    Would be pretty easy (I assume) just to hack together a plugin what would dynamically generate the surrounding code, just requiring the user to enter the unique id from google (the ua-xxxxx-x part), wouldn’t be surprised if someone had put one together by the end of the day.

    If there isn’t one then maybe I’ll do it after I get out of work πŸ™‚

  5. “undergoing maintenance” not often you see a google product die under pressure is it? I could probably count the times other Google apps have not worked on one hand.

  6. Google Base seemed to have the same type of launch. Everyone was all hyped about it, but couldn’t actually use it because it was “undergoing maintenance”.

  7. I’m more and more impressed with Google, seemingly every day. Or at least every week. This looks like a very solid offering for web stats users. Does anyone know how much it will cost after you’ve reached the ‘5 million page views a month’ limit?

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  9. I have noticed the same thing. At one point I was getting the “no page at this location” error.

    Why do they insist on launching something that has this many problems the first day. Remember, Google Base was the same way.

  10. “Why do they insist on launching something that has this many problems the first day.”

    I suspect it’s more the many hundreds of millions of hits on the server more so than the supposed “many problems”.

    S.

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  12. I have just finished coding my latest WordPress plugin, Google Analyticator. What Google Analyticator does is automatically insert the necessary JavaScript into your template to enable logging for Google Analytics. Google Analytics is Google’s latest service which monitors your website’s traffic for statistical analysis.

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  14. Far out! How many people are making a plugin for this? Why bother? I see no advantage, and surely it takes longer to code a plugin than to drop it in your template.

    S.

  15. It refuses to even validate that the code is on my site.

    Combine that with the numours errors and 404’s they give out (especially in the support section)… I’m thinking this is more Alpha than beta…

  16. Installed Google analytics on my site. The code-snippet is there, but google don’t see it. I can view source, it’s there. Perhaps Google can’t “find” it . …. .. lol

    Hope it’l find it shortly, looking forward to testing it.

    cheers fellas
    /jakob

  17. I only had minor 404 interruption about 12 hours ago and none since. But I’m still waiting for stats after 28 hours or so. I’d be keen to know if anyone has actually seen any.

    S.

  18. First they stole the thunder from Alex King’s FeedLounge and now it may be Jeff Veen’s Measure Map (among others like Mint). I volunteered to help in both, so I have seen or can foresee Google’s impact on ‘mom-and-pop’ sites.

    It develops into a scary situation as you can never fight or resist scale, no matter how ambitious you might be. Services integration is yet another major factor which elevates the brand. Google can finally take a deeper look that transcends the level of search engine result pages (SERP’s) and will be able to see what MSN, Yahoo and the others are up to. Moreover, expect abuse of reports like fabricated (i.e. spam) statistics that attempt to enhance a site’s image, at least in Google’s perception. Is it just me who is scared? Are all bases belong (sic.) to Google? Hmmmm… Google Base crops to mind.

  19. Well, it sure seems that they forgot to add the word ‘Beta’ to this new service. Almost two days after the introduction and still no traffic data!

    It seems like they have switched off the measuring mechanism to relieve their infrastructure a bit. At least the front-end is working fine now, but traffic is not being recorded.

    Yesterday at one moment my sites were starting to give javascript errors, I guess that is when everything went completely wrong. I sure hope they will fix this soon because I am anxious to play with my ‘new tech toy’ πŸ™‚

  20. Is the problem that we have to put the JS in the HTML header only? I mean, does that actually execute the JS? Has anybody looked at the .js file to see what it does or is supposed to do?

  21. If I had signed up to this service from anybody else other than Google and was told to wait 12 hours for stats, then still saw no stats after 2 days I would never go back to the site again – but for some reason because it is Google we excuse the crap they put out (the RSS reader, blog search, this stats package, web accelerator).. are we all really this brain-washed?

    I still don’t think that giving away free services to boost ad sales or repuation is a good business model that justifies their current stock price, especially when most of these free services are born out of expensive aquisitions.

    As for the smaller guys being squashed by Google releasing offerings for free, if you have a good offering where there is obvious value and you are able to support that well, then you do not have much to worry about. A business based on an RSS reader or simple stats parsing for bloggers just never really was a viable long-term business. Google have free blogger but WordPress is still going from strength to strength!

  22. Oh my, Google… getting me all excited over something that doesn’t work. I’d rather hear about this next week than getting my heart broken.

  23. I’ve been reading post from a lot of people that stats are now starting to appear in their profiles. The main page may still give you the ‘Your first reports will be ready within twelve hours’ message, but if you click on the ‘View Reports’ section, you may be pleasantly surprised to find yourself with some actual data now. I was.

    Also, I agree with Nik, if you have a great stats offering and are able to support it, you should be ok. Because Google is such a powerhouse, it’s going to be very difficult for them to offer the type of support that a Shaun Inman could offer with Mint. And as for how Shaun’s responding to Google’s latest offering, (and I don’t want to speak for him), he seems to be as curious as everyone else. He’s got Google analytics tracking stats on his site as well. (http://www.shauninman.com).

  24. I added the header-information 3 days ago, and it’s only tracked my site for 1 day.. Now it’s offline again, although I haven’t touched the code.. Seems there’s a lot of shit going bad with this release. I agree with the guy who said they should add “Beta” after the name.. πŸ™‚ Apparently, this is old software which Google has bought – and made into their own..

  25. Set Google analytics up on a site this morning, read all of Googles info and put it in the correct locaton. Google still can not validate. After two hours of frustration, thought I would retry this afternoon.

  26. It doesn’t validate at my site either. Extremely frustrating. Added to the frustrations of an ISP who suddenly won’t display php-pages properly, it is unbearable. I might as well dig myself a hole and disappear.

  27. A couple of pointers.

    1. Google are currently about 18 hours behind when they *do* get to uploading your reports.

    2. Matt mentioned that the Urchin Code validates as XHTML Strict. This is true for the vanilla tracking, but if you want to track the extras (like clicks on outbound links, for example) then you have to use “onClick”, so the XHTML validation is broken… it’s very cool though. If you’ve not seen the analytics outbound link tracking stuff yet, it can be added automatically.

  28. I’ve been using Analytics for a couple of weeks now and still dont understand half of what it can do. I also use mint and measuremap. Analytics is great for the indepth stuff but takes a while to update. If I want to see who has been veiwng my site over the last few hours mint is ideal, one look and you get all the basic info you need right there and then.

  29. It’s now seven (yes 7) days since I added the tracking code and it still isn’t presenting any data. Marvellous! I still get “Tracking for your website has not yet been validated”.

  30. Too bad they are using javascript, because people using the Firefox browser with the “NoScript” extension are going to slip right on by the Google-Analytics scripts.

  31. Google Analytics does not work with XHTML. Since XHTML does not support document.write which Google Analytics uses. So… You are wrong in saying that they support XHTML.

  32. Seems like the initial problems with Google Analytics are now sorted out… Everything is fine and dandy now. Now all I could use is RSS-feeds of the traffic-stats… πŸ™‚

  33. Your comment about it validating W3 compliment was interesting. I have our site 99.9% W3 compliment, but it never even occured to me that the analytics tracking code wouldn’t be complient. Have you seen problems with Omniture or some of the other javascript based web analytics solutions?

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