New Statistics Capabilities Provide Incredible Insight

July 30, 2006

Google has done it again. These guys seem to pump out a cool new tool every time we turn around. Take, for example, their recent release of an online spreadsheet that, for most of us, could conceivably completely replace Microsoft Excel. If you haven't checked out Google Earth, then prepare yourself to be amazed the first time you do, as you zoom across the earth's surface and view downtown San Antonio (or your hometown, or a vacation destination) in stunning three-dimensional detail. You'll see more and more of the impact of Google Earth as marketing firms like Digett gain a better understanding—and unique ideas—of how and when to use it for all sorts of things. The latest release in Google's arsenal that has caught my eye is Google Analytics. If you are a Digett client then you have probably seen an online report detailing statistics relating to activity on your website. From the deployment of our very first website, more than five years ago, we have made these statistics available to every client. These reports are built from log files that are generated by the web server and provide some fairly revealing information. Beyond the obvious useful info such as number of unique visitors and pageviews lie interesting and valuable tidbits such as referring URLs and search engine keywords and phrases. This information can be invaluable for making business decisions, particularly those concerning how to improve a website's performance. Google Analytics provides all this information and more, and it does so with an incredibly beautiful and powerful user interface. Because Google Analytics is a real-time analytics tool, it can capture information that your typical log-file analysis does not. We at Digett have begun pouring over Google's screen resolution statistics that help us assess whether our recent decision to target screen resolutions of 1024 X 768 or greater is a wise one. We also are getting a clear idea of the numbers of folks out there who still use dial-up connections ... an audience we tend to forget about but which still comprises a significant percentage of the surfing population. The geo map overlay feature, combined with the geo location listing, is too fun to put down. You'll get an instant glimpse of where your site's visitors are surfing from, whether from in your hometown or Taipei! Here's the real clencher. Google Analytics is free. That's right, free ninety-nine! You have to sign up for an invitation, but once you've been invited and have completed the sign-up process, Google gives you a javascript snippet that you paste in your web pages and voila... instant statistics! As your favorite used car sales guy might scream at you on Saturday morning television, this is an offer you simply can't refuse! If you're a Digett customer, we can likely set you up to start compiling your own real-time statistics in less than a half-hour. In any case, you may need to enlist a little help from your web provider to make use of Google Analytics. If you're already an accomplished web page builder, you should have no troubles making this work yourself. So get to work!