A First Look At The Google Analytics App Gallery

The new Google Analytics app gallery was announced this week, and boy does it look like a lot of fun. I’m an avowed Google Analytics fanboy, so this feels like Christmas to me. I haven’t had a chance to try out any of the apps yet, but I appreciate what Google is doing by allowing analytics geeks like you and me to monkey around with their system and come up with some creative uses. I’ve always thought that the Google Analytics program was pretty open to start with – you can easily create segmentation, user funnels, and custom tagging if you’re a savvy enough webmaster.

The app gallery takes the open platform to the next logical step. By allowing independent developers to create useful apps that link into existing Google Analytics accounts, big G is making their useful (and free) analytics platform even more useful. Here’s a quick rundown of some apps that caught my eye:

Call Tracking – No specific mentions here, but I think it’s nice that the app gallery has an entire section devoted to call tracking apps. Keeping tabs on offline conversions is always a real pain for the serious online marketer, but you might find that some of the apps here give you relief. Of course, you’ll probably still need to deal with the hassle of setting up multiple 800 numbers to keep track of the calls coming in from different marketing channels. But, being able to get all of your data from offline and online sources in a single dashboard, from PPC to SEO to phone calls, is a real time-saver if you’re dealing with a large volume of conversions.

Analytics Visualizations – You probably already know that I’m a pretty big PPC geek. Well, I’m a data visualization geek, too. Infographics get me excited. I have two signed books by Edward Tufte on my bookshelf. And I think that this data visualization app looks really cool. Google Analytics already has some decent data visualization capabilities, but Analytics Visualizations really takes it to the next level. Right now, there are two options for visualizations: referrer flow and keyword tree. Referrer flow shows a linear visualization of traffic to your site, with individual pages segmented and color coded by page. You can even apply filters to drill down to greater areas of specificity. The keyword tree tool looks pretty nice, too. It takes your search queries and creates a structured word cloud to visualize both the search volume of the keyword, and how it related hierarchically with other user queries. Both tools are free, and a whole lot of fun to play around with.

Pion – Well, now this is interesting. Pion offers an app that lets your forgo the tagging system in Google Analytics for an easier installation with more complete data. The Pion analytics app doesn’t use javascript tagging like a normal Google Analytics installation. Instead, you install Pion on your web server, tell it your GA unique ID, and it communicates directly to your Google Analytics account what’s going on with your web traffic. It’s an interesting concept, and could be really helpful if you tend to make a lot of new pages and don’t want to bother with checking every single one for correctly installed Google Analytics code. I haven’t tried it, though, so I can’t vouch for its accuracy. Anyone out there have any experiences or opinion?

Some apps are paid, but many are either free or have a free “lite” version of the paid app. I encourage you to check around and see if there’s something you can use. The app selection is a bit sparse right now, but that’s to be expected for a brand new marketplace. In time, I’m sure we’ll see dozens of really cool apps show up. So keep an eye out – you may find a Google Analytics app that serves the purpose you’ve been looking for.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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