Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Google Analytics expands tracking capabilities

Category: Ajax, Flash, Google, JavaScript

VentureBeat is reporting that Google has updated their popular Google Analytics service to begin tracking Ajax and Flash-based requests:

The new additions reflect a growing feeling on the web that pageviews are a less important metric than they used to be. Google Analytics is opening a feature for beta testing that tracks user engagement with elements that have become common with Web 2.0 services, including Javascript, Ajax and Flash applications, widgets and gadgets, and downloadable pages.

With many sites reliant on selling advertising based on page views, this update will allow developers to leverage Ajax, JavaScript and/or Flash without the worry of losing valuable stats data:

While small web companies will be the primary beneficiaries of the new features, the move could also prove meaningful for online advertising. Experts have suggested for some time that advertising rates should reflect elements beyond the simple standard used so far, page views.

Full article here.

Posted by Rey Bango at 7:00 am
8 Comments

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3 rating from 48 votes

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This is great news for AJAX and Flash apps. I’ll have to look at that.

Comment by justin — October 18, 2007

Similar functionality was in google analytics from long time:

http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?answer=33985&topic=7292

Comment by Skowron — October 18, 2007

Tech/implementation details are missing, but presumably that’ll come out soon. There’s no question that “page views” under the old (and in some cases, broken due to XHR etc.) URL-per-view model are becoming less relevant, in my opinion.
 
I wonder what the proposed approach is like, as the definition of a “page view” could vary immensely depending on the app. For example, would switching between folders in Yahoo! Mail count as a “page view”? In the old non-XHR case, it would be a page refresh / URL change. Same for when you create a new message, send an email, add a contact, etc.? Comparing metrics across services under this model might be a little more difficult, given I suspect the definition of a “view” is a lot fuzzier.

Comment by Scott Schiller — October 18, 2007

@Skowron: That seems to have been a workaround. It looks like Google is now explicitly adding tracking for this.

Comment by Rey Bango — October 18, 2007

Yeah that’s right…. but still good to see that they are advancing it, and not always in a BETA and seeing some movement… (unlike the rest of their products).

Comment by Justin — October 18, 2007

Yes, you could already tell Google to track AJAX and Flash requests by calling urchinTracker(pagetotrack), but this updated Analytics captures and logs events automagically. I can’t seem to find many technical details on this (and I’m curious as to how they’re accomplishing it) — can anyone find more than a press release on the subject?

Comment by Charles — October 18, 2007

@Charles
The way I see this _could_ be implemented it through replacing the XMLHTTPRequest and/or extending it some way interfering with the normal request such that it would inject some additional code that executes or something…
Now if that’s the “right” way to implement it, I don’t think ;)
@The World
This is really great news, it shows Google’s intentions to really support Ajax which actually is a pretty “Disruptive Technology” also for them in fact since they’re entire revenue is based upon conventional links to and from websites… ;)
Google just keeps scoring in my charts :)
Nice work G :)

Comment by Thomas Hansen — October 18, 2007

I’ve found this piece of reading to be quite helpful :

http://analytics.blogspot.com/

Comment by Vsync — October 21, 2007

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