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With the release of an API for Google Analytics http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/08/analytics-data-in-excel-through-our-api.html) we are now starting to see the appearance of tools to make use of the API.  A couple of the tools embed plug-ins into Excel giving the ability to run your GA queries directly from Excel and cutting out the whole .CSV export and import process

A couple of Excel plug-ins are available.  Excellent Analytics http://excellentanalytics.com/ works with Excel 2007 and Tatvic http://gaexcelplugin.tatvic.com/ works with both Excel 2007 and Excel 2003. 

I’ve been playing around with Tatvic’s version in recent days.  Once you have registered, downloaded and installed the plug-in you just have to enable it from the Tools | Add-Ins menu option – it shows up as Gaclient.  The toolbar then shows up as Tatvic Google Analytics Excel Plugin in the View | Toolbars menu. 

As a first step click on Login and enter your Google Analytics username and password to connect to your GA account.

Tatvic Google Analytics Excel Plug-in toolbar

Tatvic Google Analytics Excel Plug-in toolbar

 

Tatvic GA login
Tatvic GA login

Once you are logged in then you can start to pull your data from GA into your spreadsheet.  Click Add a new data block to start the query-building dialogue.  The first screen lets you choose from your GA profiles which website you want to analyse, select the time period for the query and decide whether you want the data selected by dates.

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You can select up to three Dimensions and several Metrics. Once you have selected these click Submit, choose where on the spreadsheet you want the data to appear – you just need to choose one cell.
tatvic6
The plugin looks to have great potential and we will be testing it over the next few weeks and months to see how it can help in pulling website analytics data for Performance Indicators and generally informing decisions about website updates and management.
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Google Analytics

One of the website tools that can help you make sense of the use that is being made of your website is Google Analytics www.google.com/analytics/.  This is a free website metrics application that allows you to analyse traffic to your website by using tracking codes instead of using website logfiles. 

Google Analytics will provide you with the usual set of visits, page views, browser type and location data that you can get from most of the website statistics and analytics products.   I’m going to concentrate on one of the tools in Google Analytics that can be used to find out some information about what users are doing on your site.

Site Overlay

This useful tool allows you to look at where users are clicking on your web page.  This ‘Click Map’ shows which elements of the page are being used.  Careful use of this information can help you to redesign text, images or location of content to optimise your site.  However, there is one ‘feature’ you need to be aware of.  Links that go to the same place have their clicks added together (and note that GA also treats any links that go to an external site as going to one place) .  So if you have more than one link going to the same URL the results will show the same.  The solution to this for internal links to to setup variations of your links so you can track them individually.

Segmentation

One of the things to bear in mind is that internal users, external users and people updating the website will exhibit different behaviour.  That may skew your results.  If you can identify ranges of IP addresses that are used (by internal users for example) then Google Analytics lets you segment your users into different categories by IP address.  In that way you can identify what different types of users are doing and ensure that you have a better idea of what your actual users are clicking on.

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