November 19, 2005

Under Analysis? II

It's been a week since Google Analytics was made public and the service has been overwhelmed by those of us eager to explore and take advantage of this offering, leading to slow data delivery and prompting Google to temporarily close the service. From the Analytics sign-up page:

Google Analytics has experienced extremely strong demand, and as a result, we have temporarily limited the number of new signups as we increase capacity. In the meantime, please submit your name and email address and we will notify you as soon as we are ready to add new accounts. Thank you for your patience.

While waiting for data to trickle in I've learned a few more things worth mentioning.

First, if you are on a Mac, you'll need to use a Mozilla-based browser like Firefox to view reports, Safari won't do.

You'll need to have a Google Mail account, and anyone for whom you want to create an Analytics account must also have a Gmail address.

During this break-in period as Google adjusts for the unexpected demand, you may find that data will sometimes show up in reports only to disappear later on, or reports will be incomplete. Google states that all data is being captured, so I assume that this missing data will return after things calm down.

The Site Overlay feature has been taken off-line, hopefully temporarily. You can still play with it if you view-source to get the commented-out Site Overlay link.

If you need to track downloads or links coming from Flash or Javascript links, you'll need to add tracking codes to your script calls; see Flash, downloads & More in the Google Analytics Help Center.

There doesn't appear to be a way to see full referrer paths. For instance, you can see that a user came to your site by way of site x, but you cannot see the actual site x url that brought in your visitor.

Last Note: Google Analytics should not be thought of as a total replacement for a traditional log analysis program. Since Analytics can only report on pages containing tracking codes, you won't be able to analyze 404 and server errors, time to serve numbers or bandwidth utilization. However, there are free stats packages that can be relied upon for for this kind of information; right now I'm partial to the open source AWStats, which we've installed for clients here at Threespot Media, used to generate reports for clients who have no stats of their own but do have logs, and finally, for use on this site. Might be a good combination of tools to recommend to clients once Analytics finds its footing.

Posted by Lewis Francis at November 19, 2005 2:30 PM

Turns out Analytics does record referrals, they just hide them very well -- go to Marketing Optimization/Marketing Campaign Results/Referral Conversion and then expand your Referral source to drill down to see the referring url.

Posted by: Lewis Francis at November 29, 2005 4:32 PM

From Google Analytics' home page:
Due to heavy demand, accounts are being offered by invitation only

There is also a Google Analytics Status Update page with the following message:
19 January 2006Today, we sent out another batch of invitations to many of you who expressed interest in a Google Analytics account. If you have not received an invitation, please continue to be patient. Although we are adding system capacity every day, the demand for Google Analytics accounts still outpaces our ability to add resources. We are working hard and will continue to send out invitations as frequently as we can.Thanks to all of you for your patience and for your interest in Google Analytics.-The Google Analytics Team.

UPSHOT: if you are interested in getting an account for your company or clients for immediate or potential use, best to sign up now.

Posted by: Lewis Francis at January 29, 2006 8:58 PM
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