Google announced an API for Google Analytics on April 21, 2009. An API or “applications programming interface” is important because it opens a window between the consumer of analytics data and the data itself, which resides Google servers. Agencies like Resolute Digital are continually involved in creating and sharing reports with their clients on the progress of digital marketing campaigns. With the API, it’s now possible to automate much of that reporting, to build custom reports, to make information available in near real time, and to share data with clients in a transparent fashion.
It also opens the possibility for a variety of widgets and mobile apps and, in fact, there are several Google Analytics applications now offered on the iPhone so that Google Analytics users can stay in touch with their websites while away from their computers. While it might seem like data overload to need to stay in monitor website data that closely, it’s not unusual for search marketing campaigns to to testing new bid levels and keywords. It’s often hard to predict how quickly budgets might be consumed and using budget caps is a rather crude way to manage the campaign. You don’t want to be away from your computer when a new campaign kicks in and the spend rises to $5,000 per hour.
The API itself is extremely easy to use for anyone with a programming background. There is a ample documentation and Google provides sample code to jump start the process. And naming conventions are quite intuitive. To read more about the API itself, check out Google Analytics Documentation.
Resolute Digital has created a benchmark report that compares traffic and traffic sources for four different time periods: a “baseline” period which serves as a benchmark, “last month,” “month to date”, and “last 7 days.” The main traffic sources that we follow are: organic (unpaid search engines), paid search engines, referral urls, direct, and email. For our paid search clients, we typically report cost per visit (as opposed to cost per click), cost per page view, and cost per action (goal). “Green” change numbers report progress against the benchmark while “red” number show movement in a negative direction. Resolute Digital’s modest web traffic is reported here: Resolute Digital Reporting. In order to view the report, login with the username “rd” and password “rd”.