Google Analytics

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Google Analytics
File:Google Analytics logo.png
Developer(s) Google
Operating system Cross-platform (web-based application)
Type Statistics, Analysis

Google Analytics (GA) is a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. Its main highlight is that the product is aimed at marketers as opposed to webmasters and technologists from which the industry of web analytics originally grew. It is the most widely used website statistics service[1], currently in use at around 40% of the 10,000 most popular websites.[2]

GA can track visitors from all referrers, including search engines, display advertising, pay-per-click networks, email marketing and digital collateral such as links within PDF documents.

Integrated with AdWords, users can review online campaigns by tracking landing page quality and conversions (goals). Goals might include sales, lead generation, viewing a specific page, or downloading a particular file. These can also be monetized. By using GA, marketers can determine which ads are performing, and which are not, providing the information to optimise or cull campaigns.

GA's approach is to show high level dashboard-type data for the casual user, and more in-depth data further into the report set. Through the use of GA analysis, poor performing pages can be identified using techniques such as funnel visualization, where visitors came from (referrers), how long they stayed and their geographical position. It also provides more advanced features, including custom visitor segmentation.

Users can officially add up to 50 site profiles. Each profile generally corresponds to one website. It is limited to sites which have a traffic of fewer than 5 million pageviews per month (roughly 2 pageviews per second), unless the site is linked to an AdWords campaign.[3]



Google's service was developed from Urchin Software Corporation's analytics system, Urchin on Demand (Google acquired Urchin Software Corp. in April 2005). The system also brings ideas from Adaptive Path, whose product, Measure Map, was acquired and used in the redesign of Google Analytics in 2006. [4] Google still sells the standalone installable Urchin software through a network of value-added resellers; In April 2008, Urchin 6 was released.

The Google-branded version was rolled-out in November 2005 to anyone who wished to sign up. However due to extremely high demand for the service, new sign-ups were suspended only a week later. As capacity was added to the system, Google began using a lottery-type invitation-code model. Prior to August 2006 Google was sending out batches of invitation codes as server availability permitted; since mid-August 2006 the service has been fully available to all users – whether they use Google for advertising or not. A new version of the user interface was released on May 17, 2007.[5]

In December 2007, Google rolled out the new ga.js page tag which they recommend to use for all new accounts and new profiles for new domains. Existing urchin.js page tags will continue to work, nevertheless the new tag will allow site owners to take advantage of the most up-to-date tracking functionality, ability to graph multiple data points at once and to track ecommerce transactions in a more readable way.[6]

While the product platform has never been a beta, new beta features are added from time to time.


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