Exposing your analytics

Updated on May 23, 2009

googleanalytics
The new Google Analytics Data Export API which Google announced on Friday makes it easy to share some of your Google Analytics data on a WordPress blog thanks to a nifty plugin created by Spiral Web Consulting.

[…] this plugin allows WordPress users to easily configure tracking and reporting of Google Analytics data without having to manually edit their WordPress template files. The plugin uses the new Google Analytics API to retrieve the unique visitor information and display it directly on your blog.

I installed it and, on first look, wondered what the big deal is when the visible front end, so to speak, to an awful lot of useful data in the analytics back end just looks like this:

ganalyticsuniques

That’s a saved image of the widget in the sidebar on this blog and shows the number of unique visitors yesterday, May 22, as recorded by Google Analytics – 443.

It’s a different number to that reported by Statcounter for the same day – 460:

statcounter22may09

I guess Google Analytics and Statcounter have different ways of defining and tracking a unique visitor.

But no matter, really; it is an indicator of the audience size as measured by visitors here, as opposed to those who get the content via the RSS feed, ie, do not visit. That’s a far larger number, in fact: 2,640 according to Google Feedburner stats.

feedburner22may09

So going back to the Google Analytics widget, how useful is it really to display a unique visitor number on your blog?

You’ll have to tell me the answer to that question although I think it’s useful when judging the influence of a particular site when read in context with other metrics like the number of RSS subscribers and subscriber reach (if a blog shows that kind of data, as I do), a blogger’s Technorati ranking, and others.

If you run ads on your site (I don’t), your advertisers may have other considerations.

As for the Google Analytics data via the API and the WordPress plugin, showing unique visitors is just the start, according to the developer, who has plans to expose more from data gathered by Google Analytics.

[…] According to [developer] Heft, Spiral plans to surface more Google Analytics API data, such as a summary dashboard of website statistics and a widget to display the most popular pages.

A good start, then.


Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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