Google Analytics Released

In March, Google agreed it would aquire the California based web analytics company Urchin. Urchin have been in the web statistics business since 1995 and are an established player claiming statistics that over 20% of Fortune 500 companies use their package.

Since finalising the deal on the 3rd of March, the Google developers have been hard at work. That work is now available to the general public in the form of Google Analytics. Google Analytics works by embedding a small piece of JavaScript into each page of your site and when a page is viewed, it is reported back to their central server. This is akin to how Google tracks conversion and clicks through AdSense.

Using JavaScript and/or cookies to track statistics isn’t a new thing, its been done before. What I think is different this time, is the scale its being executed on. Traditionally, client side tracking systems provided very limited information about your site. Now that Google have the ability to parse your traffic logs through a server side application like Urchin, the rules and boundaries of client side tracking are changing. Some of the key features Google list include:

  • Keyword Campaign Comparison
  • Executive Summaries
  • AdWords Integration
  • Trend Reporting
  • E-Commerce
  • Funnel Visualization
  • Site Overlay
  • Advanced Visitor Segmentation
  • GeoTargeting
  • Analysis Options

The majority of those features are available in server side log analysis applications. The two features that I think are note worthy, are keyword campaign comparisons and integration with Google AdWords. You can now advertise on Google through AdWords and see the effect that it is having on your site, without having to filter through volumes of information. Don’t think it is limited to tracking Google advertising systems though -you can track (but not necessarily integrate) all other advertising systems as well. The other point of interest with Google Analytics is that since it is client side, you are tracking real people on your site. The single biggest problem with server side packages is that there is no accurate way of filtering out non-human hits (ie, from the Google Bot). The issue of course, is that you are getting false positives which could ultimately change your decision making process in your site design or structure.

Google Analytics is a free service to the public allowing up to 5 million page views per month per account. If you have an active AdWords account, it is provided without the page view limitation. What isn’t outlined on the terms of service is if there is a cost after 5 million page views per account per month, when you don’t have an active AdWords account. If there is, there aren’t going to be a lot of people that take that level of traffic that don’t already have their own statistical package in use.

With the massive audience that Google has and what is on offer with this new product, I would expect there to be a massive update of Google Analytics in the future.

6 thoughts on “Google Analytics Released

  1. I’ve been meaning to add it to a site or two. One of these days I’ll find a few minutes and throw it at some – just to see what the results arel

    Al.

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