The Google Analytics Data Export API

As we are all very well aware, Google Analytics can provide unrivalled insight into the inner workings of your website. Several of our previous articles have discussed how it can be used to optimise site content and ecommerce systems to improve sales as well as using the visitor features to tailor your site for your user-base. These articles have shown the usefulness of Analytics and how the data can be displayed in varying formats to assist in its analysis. Without these features the analytics data is a complex array of almost indiscernible data. This is where the Google Analytics Data Export API comes in.

An API or Application Programming Interface is like a gateway implemented by a software program to allow interaction with other software. What the Google Analytics Data Export (GADE) API does is allow users of Google analytics to request data from their Google Analytics accounts on a platform separate from Google Analytics web interface. As a result, the API allows the user to utilise the data and create outputs and data displays that they have created or modified themselves that are not available within Analytics itself.

Of course with such a complex system Google Analytics wouldn’t simply serve it up and leave you to it. The API includes a few features to get you started and allows you to start developing your own applications for requesting data. The Data Feed Query Explorer is a simple interface that comes part-and-parcel with the API and allows simple exploration of your data with a variety of popular queries . There is also a selection of JavaScript examples which can give some insight into how to get started with writing your own. Finally their JavaScript guide provides the tutorials that will get even beginner programmers off and running.

In order to get the API up and running you must of course first have access to an Analytics account and profile to track your websites use. Furthermore, it is beneficial if the account has been gathering data for some time to give you a greater scope for the information you gather through the API. If you don’t have an account then one can be set up by registering a Google account and using that ID to create an Analytics account. Once you have done so follow the instructions to set up the websites tracking code.

However the Data Export API is currently still in private Beta and access has to be applied through the Truster Tester Program.

The usefulness of this feature is in the ability for users to use their own code to tailor the results in exactly the way they want them. This will take away many of the boundaries that Analytics has at the moment. Hopefully the Data Export API will make the transition into becoming a publicly available beta in the near future.

“The Author of this article Martin Able has worked as part of the Lancore team on developing better methods of online credit card processing as well as money transfer services.”

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