Why I have been talking so much about Google Analytics lately

If you take a look at my 4-5 last post you’ll notice that they are all about Google Analytics, be it Google Analytics for Flash or Google Analytics Data API. There are a couple of good reasons for that.

A new presentation

First, I’m really proud (and scared) to say that I am going to give a presentation at the InsideRIA conference in August in San Jose. The topic will be Google Analytics For Flash so I’m mostly going to reuse my presentation I did for the Montreal Flash User Group but I will adapt it for RIAs and I will add a big part on how to retrieve the data you send to Google back in your RIA using Google Analytics Data API. So I need to shape up on those topics and learn every thing there is to learn so that I can give a presentation with great content.

A new application

Secondly, I have this great idea. I wasn’t going to blog about it at first until it was done but my motivation kinda withered so I hope that by exposing it here and getting feedback I will start working on it again. What I want to do is build a rich internet application that displays Google Analytics Data in a way that makes more sense for Flash website. Flash website differs from HTML website in a lot of ways but web analytics don’t display their data while taking these differences into consideration. If we only take preloading and videos, we could have insightful data visualization that would show how many people saw which section of your video (that could be a heat map representing the timeline of the video) or how many people started the preloading process but didn’t end it. Another area that I would like to tackle is to set a standard on how to use events.

Right now there is no clear guideline on how to use events. It’s really free for all and no one is doing the same thing, so when you go in someone else reports it takes a while to understand what is going on. So I would basically be creating a set of guidelines for Events and then my application would be interpreting them differently than Google Analytics. While I’m there I could also associate events with pageviews. What is disturbing right now is that with events you can know how many people clicked on your button but it is pretty hard to see how many people actually saw the button so it’s hard to tell if your interface is performing well.

Well that my plan, the first step was to be able to connect to Google Analytics Data API using Flash on a webserver which I found out how. Now what I have left to do is create the guidelines for events and the interpret the data from Google Analytics. If you got any feedback on my idea please put it in the comments; it would really motivate me to start working on it.

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  1. #1 by Jens Wegar - June 19th, 2009 at 04:22

    I’m always for standardizing things. I think it’s a good initiative to do this right now when Analytics for Flash is still relatively young. You are right in that reports for Flash content may look very different each time compared to reports from other websites.

    The issue that might arise of course is that Flash content by nature is very flexible and there will be very different things that people think are important to track. A button that moves some content 10px to the left might be uninportant for one person to track while it is the most important thing for another person.

    A standard should perhaps thus concentrate on outlining a few defined metrics so that one can more easily compare different sites based on these metrics. Try to find the things that are generic to most flash sites and build metrics around those first.

    Whether or not I’d be willing to use a separate application for viewing these metrics really depends on what additional value I can get from it. So perhaps the second task before you jump into coding would be to do a more specific list on what the features of such an application would be?

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